As you may know, I like to bring you something new on this site, ideally with a little bit of knowledge or information, so, today, I will introduce you to two of the fifty or so bisses in the Valais region of Switzerland. As the Valais website says:
A bisse is an open ditch delivering priceless water from mountain streams – often by daring routes – to arid pastures and fields, vineyards and orchards. Many bisses are still in use today and so are carefully maintained. Numerous trails accompany these historic watercourses, inviting visitors to varied hikes on historic trails.
I should add that some of them were built as early as the 13th century and they vary from simple ditches, to wooden or metal troughs and even through solid rock sometimes (as you will see below).
Now, I’ve been meaning to walk one of these routes for a while and, since they tend to be at a relatively low level (in this case around 1400 metres / 4,600 ft) they are currently free of snow. Looking at the map, I decided to take the Postbus up to Haute Nendaz, then walk south along the Bisse Vieux before following the Grand Bisse de Vex all the way around to Héremence. From there I took the footpath down to Euseigne to catch the Postbus back home. In total it was a distance of 25.5 km or 16 miles, though, of course, the going was either gently ascending or descending alongside the bisses.
Along the way I was initially disappointed with the number of flowers and butterflies on view, though that soon picked up as I rounded the corner into the Val d’Hérens. There I spotted a Comma butterfly (or two) for the first time ever and several ‘new’ flowers, which unfortunately I haven’t yet found (or had the time to find) in my Alpine flower book.
My apologies for posting so many pictures, but it was hard to decide which to leave out. I hope they give you a good feel for the many and varied things you can see on the walk(s).