Sassenaire Hike

I’ve not done this walk for over 2 years, possibly because it climbs to 3,254m (10,675 ft), from our chalet at 1,410m (4,626 ft).  But the forecast for today was for no rain and the sun to emerge around mid-afternoon, so off I went.  However, I’d forgotten how tough the final climb was along the ridge from the Col de Torrent to the summit, but the views from the top made it all worthwhile.

Hohsaas day out

Judith and I were so impressed with the Saas valley, when we went camping there in August, we simply had to take Angela there.  With eighteen 4,000 metre peaks to take in, the views from the top of the Hohsaas lift are simply stunning.

While the ladies had lunch, I took the path down to Kreuzboden, via the Weissmeiss mountain hut(s).  I’m aware that not many of you will have had the pleasure of visiting one of these huts, so I went inside and took a couple of pictures.  I’d liken most of them to 2 or 3 star hotels, providing simple overnight accommodation, often in dormitories, but always with plenty of good food and drink to refresh the weary hiker.  🙂

Exhibition Walk from Lac d’Arbey

The temperatures in the Val d’Hérens are certainly a lot lower now than they where when I left to go to the UK last week.  Over the past few days, we’ve had a dusting of snow on the mountain tops and Autumn is well and truly in the air.

Judith’s mum, Angela, has been staying with us for the past few days and she’s never been up to Lac d’Arbey.  It’s quite a climb, so we drove up close by and did the Exhibition Walk* back across to Farquèses.
(*I posted something about this in July, so check out this link for more details about the Exhibition and artist).

Two of the photos below were taken from our chalet, before we set off and a few are Judith’s, using an SLR camera with a filter.  They’re the good ones with the really blue sky!

Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales (4 of 4)

Although we had followed the official route (as best we could/wanted to anyway), Day 4 was always up for debate as to which route to take back to our start in West Burton.  I’d planned a long route (if the weather was fine), but the forecast was for rain at 11am,.  So our revised plan was to take the more or less direct route across, calling in at (the pub, obviously, at) Thoralby, before deciding whether to detour to Aysgarth Falls.

We set off with dark clouds to the south, but blue skies to the north.  The latter was the direction in which we were heading, so we kept our fingers crossed.  All went well until just before Thoralby, when the heavens opened.  Worse still, the pub was closed at lunchtimes, so “Enjoyment, not Endurance” kicked in again and we went straight to West Burton.  As soon as we arrived, the skies cleared and the sun came out!

A very friendly man outside the pub (see last pic) advised that there was a waterfall at the end of the village.  So, after a few photos there, we took the footpath up the hill and around the village, back to where we’d started on Day 1 – a lap of honour if you like!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these few days in the Dales.  At least you’ve stayed dry while taking in the views!  But then, Colin and I had the beers! 🙂  Cheers! 🍺🍺

Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales (3 of 4)

Colin and I left Grassington on what was also the Dales Way path, but we soon deviated north-east towards Conistone and Kilnsey – famous, with climbers anyway, for it’s crag.  (By very strange coincidence, last weekend, back in Switzerland, and only a few days after I’d seen it for the first time in my long(ish) life, Judith and I met the niece of the farmer who owns that crag, but I digress…)

A long road section then followed, before we crossed a field to the hamlet of Hawkswick.  Even though this path was only half a mile long, our feet were soaked due to the long, wet grass.  So we took the executive decision to avoid the possibly even soggier path next to the river and go along the road into Arncliffe.  “Enjoyment, not endurance” was the mantra a lady had used in one of the pubs to describe her approach and, at this point, we couldn’t agree more.  So much so that we repeated the road ‘trick’ into Litton, where we swiftly despatched a pint of their finest ale, before taking the path over the moor and back into Wharfedale.

The guide book says that this section is “often boggy”, so alarm bells were ringing.  But we were pleasantly surprised to see the path at the top was laid out for two or three hundred yards with huge stone slabs.  Presumably this was to encourage the use of this path and in order not to lose anyone in the bogs!  However, we soon came down to earth (me literally once) on the descent, as the path ran out and we had to jump over several streams of running water and negotiate some very wet ground.

Even before setting off on our journey, we knew that the pub in Buckden was closed, so we detoured to Hubberholme and the George Inn but, unfortunately, it wasn’t open until the evening! 😦  Our spirits were raised though when we arrived at the White Lion in Cray, our home for the night, as the beer and the food were excellent.  🙂

Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales (2 of 4)

It’s impossible to describe a walk in the UK without talking about the weather.  I should have mentioned in my post yesterday, that the morning had been fine, but the waterproofs went on as we left the pub in Horsehouse. (My apologies, I called it Horsehouses yesterday).  Brief showers were followed by a continued downpour for the last 2 to 3 miles into Kettlewell, where we decided to walk down the road as the moor was shrouded in mist and visibility was down to around 50 yards.  (One car even stopped to ask if we were OK, it was THAT bad!)

Anyway, I mention this because, although Day 2 to Grassington proved to be relatively dry from above, it was pretty damp underfoot and the overnight rain had swelled the rivers so that they were running in full spate.

Our route took us east, then south over Conistone Moor, descending along Hebden Beck, where we had to improvise our crossing over to the east side.  The river was so swollen, it was impossible to cross at the ford.  From there we went through Hole Bottom (I kid you not, these place names are genuine), to Hebden, where we had a choice between the Tea Room and the Clarendon Hotel.  So, purely in the interests of research and this post of course, we chose the latter. 🙂  Though we did pop in to the Tea room to purchase a delicious granola bar (as they had no pies to take away).

After crossing the River Wharfe, we turned west across fields and through yet more drystone walls, to the beautiful village of Linton.  Apart from the Fountaine Inn, a beautiful village green and an old packhorse bridge, this is where you will find Fountaine’s Hospital, an ex-almshouse, built in 1721 and designed by Sir John Vanbrugh (according to Wiki).  We of course preferred the view inside the pub. 😉

Refreshed, we then headed the mile or so north to Grassington and over the bridge at Linton Falls, where the water was crashing and tumbling at an incredible rate.  Our overnight stop was at the Black Horse Hotel.
(My apologies, I didn’t take a picture of the Forester’s Arms, the 3rd pub in the village).

Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales (1 of 4)

Let me take you on a little walk through the Yorkshire Dales – via a few hostelries… 🙂

Ever since I’ve been old enough to legally walk into a bar (and maybe even a bit before that 😉 ), I’ve been a big fan of British real ale.  So what could be better than a walk through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside, taking in a few pubs on the way – even resting one’s head in one at the end of the day, (unless it’s doing the same in glorious blue sky weather of course!)

My good mate, Colin and I had a few to choose from – the Inn Way series of books by Mark Reid, cover the English Lakes, the Peak District, Northumberland, the N. Yorkshire Moors and the Dales…  I’m not quite sure why we chose the Dales, but we did.  The full route covers around 76 miles in 6 days, but we only had 4 available,  So we chose to do the 3 southerly sections, starting in West Burton, and invented our way back to West Burton for day 4.

The following pics (best viewed with a beer in your hand of course) take you from West Burton, over the curiously named Fleensop Moor to Horsehouses and down Coverdale to the village of Kettlewell.  (For non-UK readers: I’m not making these names up – honest!)  We stayed at the Blue Bell Inn, where Colin had the largest Fish and chips (& mushy peas of course) I’ve ever seen!



The Wild Beasts

No, this is not a post about a trek into the jungle…  It’s about a last minute decision to go to see a band while I was back in my ‘home’ town of Hull (the UK City of Culture 2017).  My niece, Jen, has been a fan of the Wild Beasts for over 10 years and she managed to get her mum (my sister) and me tickets.  Well, you’re only young once!

A great night was had by all – especially Alastair, who simply adores music (even more than splashing in water – if you recall his holiday in Switzerland).  The pictures are a little grainy and blurred, but that’s not surprising given the light conditions.   The last picture is very unusual, not just because it’s a telephone box inside a pub, but because it’s red.  As all the telephone boxes in the Hull area are a sort of creamy white, due to the service being independent from the UK network.

Here’s an example of what the band sound like



Tour des Muverans

I’ve just returned from a week in the UK, visiting my family and doing a 4 day walk with my mate Colin, but before I post some pictures of that…  I’d like to tell you about a guest post that I did for The Marmot Post.

As well as recounting her own tales of hikes or treks in the Alps, the UK and the Drakensbergs (South Africa), Marketa invites people to contribute.  Of course, when she contacted me, I felt honoured and delighted to help.  So I dug out some photos of a 3 day walk that I did with my good friend, Pete, back in September 2014.  This was before I started blogging, so, as a sort of ‘blast from the past’, you can read all about this amazing circular walk via this link (or the one above). 🙂

As I always like to post a picture or (thirty) two and to whet your appetite, here is one of Pete and I outside the Cabane Rambert – with the Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn to the left and the Grand Combin to the right on the horizon.

Me and Pete