I’m not sure if it’s normal, but today I took over 300 photographs. After weeding out the duplicates and triplicates (etc!), not to mention the veryoutoffocus, I narrowed it down to 183… And I hope I haven’t shot myself in the foot for the rest of the walking season by posting so many of them, but I couldn’t decide which to take out. Not only that but, with there being so many, I didn’t have the time to check the names of all the flowers or the butterflies… So my apologies for that.
Jude and I took the Postbus part way along the road to Arolla and then walked along the path to Lac d’Arbey, before descending to Evolène. At the start of the walk there was a sign advertising an exhibition along the route of 30 photographs, all taken in the Himalaya. The exhibition is due to start on the 2nd July, but we were treated to a sneak preview, as we passed several on the way. Eventually we caught up with the guy who was hanging them up – see pic(s) below. We thought it was a great idea and we assume the link with the Himalaya is due to the yaks, which are being reared along the path at La Giette.
Jude and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary on Saturday. So we decided to take advantage of the glorious weather and treat ourselves to an early celebratory lunch at the Kurhaus Hotel in Arolla. A more peaceful spot you cannot imagine. It’s hard to believe that only 4 days ago, snow was covering their beautiful lawn.
After what seems like weeks of grey skies, the sun has finally come out in the Valais. So, with 25 degrees plus forecast and snow still on the mountain tops, today was a day to take the bike for another spin down the valley.
I took more or less the same route as my post of the 19th March, but you will see from the photographs below how much greener the Rhone valley has become – with the vineyards very much in evidence. I also found time for a little rehydration before catching the bus back to Evolène. 🙂
My sister, Karen, and her boyfriend, Ben, are visiting at the moment. So we went out to do one of the ‘classic’ walks in the area this morning, from La Gouille up to Lac Bleu. It’s quite short route, of around 3 kilometres (or 2 miles) in total, but it has a fairly sharp climb of 300 metres (or 1,000 ft) up to the lake at 2,090 metres (or 6,850ft).
As you can see from the pictures below, the skies were a little overcast, but we saw a young stag grazing very close to the footpath and seemingly unfazed by our presence. The lake never fails to live up to its name, whatever the weather.
We returned home to enjoy another ‘classic’ – of Swiss fondue and white wine for lunch ! 🙂
Since returning from our holiday in the UK, the weather has not been great in southern Switzerland. It has however been warm enough for the wild flowers to be popping out all over the place – as can be seen from the photos below. These were all taken today, while on a short walk along the riverside, between Evolène and Les Haudères. I’m sorry that I haven’t named them, but there were too many to find in my little book (and I hate it when I can’t find them) ! I hope the sheer variety and beauty speaks for themselves !
Another well known birder’s paradise is the Farne Islands, which lie just off the coast of Northumberland, in the North East of England. We were completely blown away by both the sheer number of birds and how close you could get to them. If you are ever in that area, especially in the Spring, when the birds are nesting, I would highly recommend that you visit.
Another well known tourist destination in the very North West of Scotland is Handa Island. It’s a particular favourite of Ornithologists, as there are quite a number of different sea birds there, particularly during the Springtime.
To get to the island you drive down a single track road to Tarbet and a small ferry craft (see last picture) takes you across – for a small fee of course. Once on the island there is a wooden walkway which takes you to the best viewpoints.
On the way around you will see Great Skuas or Bonxies as they are also known, which have their nests on the ground. The island has no natural land predators, so their chicks are relatively safe. We also saw Guillemots, Razorbills, Cormorants, Oyster Catchers and Puffins. See picture below, but the Razorbills build no nest at all and rely on the shape of their eggs to stop them rolling off the precarious ledges.
So, what is it that makes a great beach ? Is it fine golden sand, remoteness, great surfing waves, dunes, does it have to be deserted, or all of the above ? I’d read about how fabulous Sandwood Bay was in all the travel literature and therefore made it one of my ‘Must see before I die’ locations.
However, although Sandwood Bay ticks all but one of these boxes, (there were more people there than on all the other beaches we’d been to on this holiday put together), I couldn’t help but feel a little short changed. Maybe it was all the hype and my expectations were so high that it could never meet them. Maybe it was just that the weather was slightly dull, or that you have to walk 4 miles across featureless landscape (save for a few lochs) to get there – and 4 miles back of course. But, for me, there are much better beaches around – at least one of them covered in a previous post, which also has the advantage of a great view – of the Cuillins on Skye and the islands of Raasay and Rona.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort of travelling THAT far to get to it.
They often say the journey is more important than the destination, and that could well be applied to our drive north to the small village of Inshegra, which lies only about 16k or 10 miles south of Cape Wrath in the very NW of Scotland. On our way we passed more lochs than you would wish to count, saw some amazing mountain scenery* and had a fabulous lunch at the Kylesku Hotel.
(*This included the amazing Stac Pollaidh, which Jude and I had climbed a few years ago. See picture on the About Us page of our chalet website).
Once we’d arrived at our destination, the Old School House, and been shown to our room (affectionately known as the Bicycle shed – see pic below), we went for a walk along the beautiful Polin beach.