Thursday, 29 September 2011

St Wolfgang - Austria 3 Sept 2009

St Wolfgang
Thursday 3 September 2009

Following my walk alone the previous week in Fuschl I now had an opportunity to go on my own again in St Wolfgang.  Leaving my wife who planned a trip across the lake on the steamer Franz Josef to St Gilgen.  I left the hotel and walked past the cog and wheel station to start walking up the Schafberg.

It was a bright, sunny and clear day.  After passing the cog and wheel station you cross the line and travel through the streets on the edge of town.  The route was easy to follow, just like last week you followed the numbered yellow signs and you start climbing straight away.  After the houses the path leads you up through woodland, climbing, crossing streams and following small rivers.  Looking behind you could see Lake Wolfgang falling behind.

Looking back at Lake Wolfgang

Near Monichsee the path splits and it was a little difficult to see one path however the other was clearly marked.

It took you behind the Schafberg on the east side, and left the trees behind.  You were now out in the open walking along thin steep gravel paths climbing on the side of the hill, sometimes scrambling but still climbing in sunshine and feeling the heat.

East side of Schafberg

As you travel around to the northern side you could see across to the hills to near Fuschl and Mondsee.  

Then further round the track it moved into shadow,  it was also getting cooler.  The path brings you face to face to a steep cliff rising up to the front, not for the first time I thought to myself I had made a mistake coming this route.

I could see another walker well ahead of me and as I turned the corner he was out of sight.  I headed round the track toward the cliff and there he was just in front of me,struggling up the path.  I had no need to worry the path up the cliff although it had a metal cable fastened to the side it and steep was a good path to walk up.  At the top I caught up with the other walker under the arch.  We used each others cameras to take each others photos showing we were at the top.

Stepping through the arch it was like stepping into a different world.  After the shadow of the Schafberg I was now out into the open sunshine where it was full of people with children screaming and running about.  People who had travelled up on the cog and wheel.  After a quick drink of water I headed down hill on the path that travelled part of the way down next to the cog and wheel track. Then moves away from the cog and wheel travelling down.

Looking back up the cog and wheel track
The path then moved steeply down hill in brilliant bright sunlight, it was a relief when the path took me down into the deep shade of the trees.  Finally it came back towards the cog and wheel track before turning back to my start.  It was a long walk and took me longer than I thought but it was good, really good.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to another walk in this part of Austria Fuschl am See
Follow link to my next walk in Austria Kitzbuhel

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Fuschl am See - Austria 27 August 2009

Fuschl am See
Thursday 27 August 2009

While on holiday in Austria in the Fuschl am See area.  We heard that you could get a leaflet from the tourist information that showed you various features in the area where you could obtain a stamp.  They called it a wanderpass.  Each stamp had its own value depending on where it was in relation to Fuschl.  The nearest and easily reached features were the lower value of points while the higher and more distant features had a higher value of points.  Depending on the total number of points you collect you could obtain a medal.  For 80 points you qualified to receive a bronze medal.  Silver was 120 points and gold was 180 points.  This was just too much to let it pass and the beast in my head said I had to get all the points.  I had an idea that I could possibly get enough points to qualify and receive Bronze, Silver and Gold, all of the medals on one holiday.

Anyway on this particular day my wife had had enough of walking and decided that now as she had the points and collected her Gold medal, she was going to take a trip into Salzburg.  This left me on my own,  what was I going to do?  I suppose I could go for a walk.  So after seeing my wife onto the bus I set off.

I left Fuschl at 669meters and followed the numbered route signs up Ellmaustein at 994 meters and worth 20 points.

View from Ellmaustein
I got a really good view of Fuschl and its lake and I could see the back of the hotel we were staying at.  When I was coming down the path from Ellmaustein I heard a sharp noise to my right.  When I looked I saw the back of a large deer jumping up the hill under the trees.  Shame I missed it completely, what a photo that would have made.  After dropping down back onto the track, I followed the numbered signs, passing through Ellmau to a place called Mozartblick, and collected another 15 points.  From here I could see St Gilgen, I could also see St Wolfgang across Lake Wolfgang.  This would be where we would be staying for our second week on this holiday.

View of Lake Wolfgang from Mozartblick
After retracing my steps a little I started following the signs up to the Zwolferhorn.  Some of the path was narrow track through forest and it twisted and turned with a little up and down, absolutely brilliant the way the light came through the trees.  Apart from seeing the back of the deer that had been running away I had seen no sign of any wildlife, which was a little disappointing.  After the wood there was a little farm land before climbing up narrow paths and forest tracks towards the top of the Zwolferhorn.

View of Zwolferhorn
Oh look a cable car

Little did I know when I set off that the Zwolferhorn had a cable car from St Gilgen, and I had spent a few hours tramping up the hill, but the achievement was great when I stood on the top amongst those who had rode up.  As I have found on lots of Austrian hills you know you are near the top when you see the para gliders getting ready to jump off.  Anyway at 1522 meters I had another 40 points in the bag, and a fantastic view to look at while I ate my sandwich.

Top of Zwolferhorn

It was a gentle stroll down and up again to Pillsteinkopf at 1478 meters and another 20 points.  It was a glorious walk and such a joy.

View of Schafbachalm from between Zwolferhorn and Pillsteinkopf

I made my way back up to the Zwolferhorn and headed back down the track that I had taken up.  Passing the cable car station you head down the track that travels under the cable cars a couple of times.

I felt really good on the walk and was flying along.

I followed almost the same route back to Fuschl as I had taken to the Zwolferhorn without the climb up Ellmaustein.  When I got back to the hotel I was tired but felt so good.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.  
Follow link to another walk in this part of Austria St Wolfgang

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Yorkshire Three Peaks 20 June 2009.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks
Distance 40.2km Climb 1585m
Saturday 20 June 2009

Number 25 Ingleborough on Britain's Favourite Walks shown on ITV January 2018. 

I took part with thousands of other walkers doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  Many do this walk for charity, today I was doing the walk for Heart Research.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is a walk starting in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, over Pen-y-Ghent 691meters, Whernside 728meters, and Ingleborough 723 meters.  It is approx 25 miles, 40.2km, long and the challenge is to complete the walk within 12 hours.

I got up early and joined hundreds queuing to register for the walk with Heart Research.  A friend from work, Anne's husband had done the walk loads of times before, today he had already registered and had set off long before I got through the registration tent.

Before doing the walk I had researched it on the internet where it said you will need to use map and compass as the route is not marked.  I found that due to the large numbers of people doing the walk for a whole host of different charity organisation made it easy to follow the route.

After registering I set off through the town towards the path that leads you up to Pen-y-Ghent.  Some people in their excitement were running, I thought just take your time.  On the path near the top you are scrambling up a rocky path which slowed the people down so now you were having to queue to move up a narrow path.  At the top it was very misty and cold, so after a quick drink of water I started following the path down.  So far down the side of the hill a crowd had started gathering again and everyone was queueing to get over a narrow stile.  Once over I was once again heading down hill towards the next check point.

Once through the check point I was heading towards the next peak, Whernside.

Now I was excited and started picking up the pace on the down hill slope.  Again there was a big queue at a stile and as we filtered over it there was a great atmosphere between the walkers.  It was great being on my own.

Half way down was one of the Heart Research check point water stops.  Again after another quick drink I was away again.  Following the crowds I headed for the road and after crossing the junction I was heading for the famous Ribblehead Viaduct.  The closer I got to the Viaduct I could see how impressive it was. Following it and the train line it was a steady climb, I crossed the train line near some very beautiful waterfalls and started to climb up Whernside.  I had noticed the numbers of people walking had thinned out a little on the climb up, but there were enough people to follow showing the route.  It was only when I was on the top that I saw a lot of people in groups sitting and resting.  After a quick drink and a photo I was away again down hill.

The path down is not straight forward, it follows a very steep path where I had to take my time.  Now I was on the other side of the Ribblehead Viaduct and at this angle I could see the whole viaduct and it looked amazing.

It was as I was walking towards the bottom of Whernside and I was heading towards Ingleborough I started feeling tired.  The route passed through another check point before heading along the road.  Near the road there was a pub and I did think about stopping and getting some food but the crowds put me off.  Not only that but the beast in my head would not let me stop.

I started to feel tired and had a little cramp in my legs, I still could not stop but slowed down a little as I started on the track towards Ingleborough.  At the bottom I caught up with Anne's husband, he had stopped to have a sandwich.  I normally prefer to be on my own but it was good to have a little company.  We reached the top of Ingleborough where it was misty and after a few photos started down the path towards the finish at Horton-in-Ribblesdale.  I think I completed it in less than 10 hours.

Although tired it had been a good days walking.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to another time I walked Pen-y-Ghent on The Pennine Way Day 6

Sunday, 4 September 2011

WHW, Ben Nevis 20 March 2009.

The Way - Day 7
Ben Nevis
Distance 17km Climb 1352m
Friday 20 March 2009

What a brilliant day from start to finish.  There was a slight frost on the tent when I got up.  It was very cold and for the first time this week I thought about putting my gloves on, but within a few minutes the sun was up.

I started walking about 08.45 from the Glen Nevis Campsite, which was only a few meters from the Nevis Centre where I crossed the bridge at about 09.00.  I was then starting up the world famous Ben Nevis. This had been an ambition of mine for a few years now and today I was going to achieve that goal.

Ben Nevis early morning from the campsite
The bridge at the Ben Nevis Centre

The path up

Only two people passed me on the way up, both fell runners, wearing nothing more than running shorts and vests.  I was wearing a battered pair of old army boots, track suit bottoms, my thick warm smelly walking coat and a stick. With a back pack carrying hot drinks and a spare top. In my pockets I had a hat and gloves.

When I reached the snow line I somehow missed the path.  The snow was not the soft easy stuff to walk on, it was ice and hard, difficult to walk on and things could have turned naughty.  I moved from rocky place to rocky place over slippery ice.  If it hadn't been for one of the runners coming down the route I was on I would have turned back.  He must have slide a good 20 - 30 foot down the hard solid ice in his skimpy running shorts and vest, he had ice cuts on his legs and side.  When I asked if he was all right he just jumped up gave his head a shake said "och ey" and started running back down again. Amazing.

On the snow I was certain I could hear voices to my right but could not see anyone.  Was I starting to hallucinate? I moved up the slope where the snow was a lot easier to get a grip on but at times I would slide down a little, by this time I had taken the rubber off my walking stick and was using the spike.  On one small slide down I saw the route marker stone, and so headed for that. I had not moved too far from the path.  Following the marker stones I soon arrived at the top and it was like a coach trip had arrived.  There were climbers with ice axes and crampons.  A large group of people were sitting around the spot height, they had all the gear, must be professional walkers.  I was surprised to find out they had set off before me as it had taken them 4 hours 20 minutes.  It took me 3 hours 20 minutes, perhaps these were the peoples whose voices I had heard?

At the top I opened my birthday cards.  "BRILLIANT ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT, BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER"  sitting here opening my cards with this view.  I had a drink of chocolate (although half of it I had been spilt in my bag).  I rang Anne and I rang my brother who I told I was in Barcelona.

The group of walkers left me, I had 20 minutes of peaceful quiet, enjoying the silence and solitude in the sun, reflecting on my walk before I too headed down.  I caught up with the group just as we came off the snow. They were resting and so I passed them.  I travelled an hour before I had a rest expecting the group to pass me, I never saw them.

I came down in 2 hours 15 minutes. On reaching the bottom I had a slow walk into Fort William to buy my train tickets back to Milngavie, where I had left the car, and found somewhere to have something to eat.  After a couple of shandys I walked back to the Glen Nevis Campsite feeling tired.

I had walked 17km with 1352m climb.

Tomorrow I would be travelling home.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous - Day 6 of WHW Kinlochleven to Fort William
Follow link to another walk up Ben Nevis 17 Nov 2011
Follow link to another walk up Ben Nevis as part of the 3 Peaks Challenge 


WHW, Kinlochleven to Fort William - Day 6 19 March 2009.

The Way - Day 6
Blackwater Campsite Kinlochleven to Glen Nevis Campsite Fort William
Distance 22.5km Climb 475m
Thursday 19 March 2009

Well that it is it over, well The West Highland Way anyway.  Only Ben Nevis to do tomorrow - on my birthday.  I am sitting here in The Glen Nevis Campsite writing up my notes.  I have had a really long refreshing shower, I splashed out the cash and bought a towel with shower gel.  As I write I am watching a rescue helicopter hovering above Ben Nevis.  My two new friends are near, Mr Wagtail and Mr Chaffinch.  About six, six and a half miles from here Mr Chaffinch came and sat within arms reach of me.  Now I am using my time to catch up with writing about my adventure.

Kinlochleven Campsite

Looking back to Kinlochleven

 Last night I had a good night sleep  at the Blackwater Hostel and Campsite although I did feel the temperature drop during the night so I was glad of the heavy sleeping bag I had carried with me from the start and was as warm as toast.  As I was packing and having breakfast I met the lad from the other tent, he was French.  He had a load of new kit and his tent was single skin and he said he had felt the cold every morning.  He said on the mornings there was frost, the frost was in his tent with him, I was lucky with my tent as I had no problems like this.  Even though his tent was lighter in weight than mine he was paying for this with his personal comfort at night.

Mr Chaffinch
Ben Nevis looking impressive

The sun was shining and the sky was clear all day.  There was a number of times through the day when Frenchy and I would cross paths. As he would pass me as I rested and I would pass him as he rested.  One occasion was as I walked through a shaded wood, he had his boots off and had his feet in a stream.  I could not do that as the monster in my head was saying keep going, don't stop.

I am not sure, perhaps I was imagining things but as I was walking I could hear Scottish music in my head.  It started off as a Scottish melody then moved into the music from the film Last of the Mohicans.  This was playing in the Drovers when I was there along with many other varied Scottish folk songs.  We had Shang-a-lang by the Bay City Rollers, but fortunately I could not hear this as I walked along.  The Scottish melody I was hearing turned into Donald where's your trousers as Fort William came into sight.  Perhaps I had pushed myself too hard and needed a rest and some food.

Was this my first view of Fort William?

The End of The Way
On reaching the road I deliberately choose to turn left into Fort William to take my kit to the finish.  Before returning back along the road to camp at the Glen Nevis Campsite.  I could have easily turned right walked a few hundred meters to the campsite, pitch my tent then walked into Fort William, but that did not feel right. I had covered the 14 miles 22.5km with 475m climb, I then walked the extra 2 miles back to the campsite. Where I took advantage of the facilities.

Anyway here I was, sitting in the campsite, I will pack my stuff into my tent and go to the bar near the campsite for food and a couple of shandies.  Tomorrow is the day I visit Ben Nevis.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous - Day 5 Inveroran to Kinlochleven
Follow link to another walk I started from Fort William Day 1 of my Cape Wrath Trail.