So, while her husband, Malcolm, was conquering the Matterhorn, Helen and I took the Postbus just a few stops down the valley to La Luette, to walk along the path which crosses the Passarelle de la Combe. We then dropped down to the naturally heated waters near Combioula, before climbing back up passed the Pyramids to Euseigne.
Helen was thanking me for taking her along this walk, but I was thanking her in the end as I managed to take pictures of three new butterflies, which I’d never seen before – and therefore never posted on this site before. 😊
The first (pic 4) was of an albeit tatty looking Dryad (minois dryas).
The second (pic 16) is of a rather shy Tree Grayling (hipparchia statilinus), which decided to hide, as it’s name suggests, under a felled tree trunk. It’s not widely seen across Switzerland, so I’ve included a distribution map (pic 16a) with an arrow indicating (very approximately) where we were.
The third (pic 17) was of a Lesser Purple Emperor (apatura ilia). In French it’s called a ‘Petit Mars changeant’ and it certainly seems to take many forms, being blue/violet or red/orange or, as my luck would have it, dark brown/black! This one flew up to the top of a bush, so I didn’t get a great picture of it. So, for some better pictures of this colourful butterfly please click here. Although more widespread across Switzerland, it’s classed as vulnerable on the Red List and is not that common in our area (pic 17a) . So I was a very happy bunny once I’d identified them all from my book. 😁 Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the flowers, which I couldn’t find at all. It seems every silver lining has a cloud…!
Footnote: The link above and distribution maps were take from Michel and Vincent Baudraz’s excellent website: https://www.lepido.ch/cartes-de-distribution
If you click on a particular group, the individual species are listed with distribution maps. Further photographs of each are also available by clicking on the name of the butterfly).
We have two of our regular guests staying this week. Malcolm is on one of the Frost Guiding courses, while his wife, Helen, is simply relaxing and enjoying the fresh Swiss air and reading her book. In between times, she also likes to go out walking, so on Monday we took the bus up the valley to Arolla, to walk to the Plans de Bertol (@2,664m or 8,740ft). It’s a walk I’ve posted before, but not for 3 years, so I thought I would share my photos with you all. 😊
This week we go back to 1973 for yet another classic. Again this video can be a bit annoying, with the clock ticking by, but I used to love all that synchronised dancing and so I thought it was better than a series of static images. 😁
I promised USAthroughoureyes that I would try to find a new dimension to my walks and so today we have something unusual – a flat(ish) walk in Switzerland. I have mentioned and posted pictures of ‘Bisses’ before. They are irrigation channels and there are quite a number dotted about the canton of Valais. But I think this one must be the most famous, due to the precipitous nature of the path, or at least the original path. Today, four suspension bridges help the inquisitive walker along the route, but you can still see how the bisse and path were originally built.
All of the images below were taken with my mobile phone (as I went off without my camera) and I just managed to catch the ‘thing’ in the last picture (which was a first sighting for me), before my battery ran out. I spotted it while looking to take a photo of some butterflies, but it makes a change… 😊 I also saw what may have been 3 Jersey Tiger moths (another first) but, by then, I had no battery left… 😌
You may have noticed that there was something missing from the pictures of my last walk – butterflies. That wasn’t because there were none around, I just didn’t have the time to stop (or wait for them to stop) and capture them on camera. Anyway, on Sunday I made up for that, and some, when I decided to walk to La Gouille, via the Alpage de l’Etoile. There was one very small area, at the Mayen de la Cretta, which must have had at least a dozen different species fluttering around just a few thistle plants.
So my apologies if there now too many in this gallery, but even now I’ve left out the Marbled White, the Tortoiseshell and the Peacock. At last though, I’ve finally captured an Apollo (which was rooted to the spot and I must have taken 20 or more photos of that one alone – see pic 16).
I also just happened to have my camera in my hand when the Hummingbird Hawkmoth came hovering by while I was having a little refreshment at the Hotel Dents de Veisivi. 🍺😊
One of the more modern songs in my collection, is this one by Ann Lee, called 2 Times, which was released in March 1999. It’s rather quirky but, for some reason, I like it. And, I have to confess, I hadn’t seen this video until I created this post. I think it detracts a little from the song, so you might like to just close your eyes and listen… 🙂
Every year, on the 15th August, our village is host to one of the most traditional and colourful festivals. Every other year, it is supplemented by the inclusion of the musicians and dancers from the Célébrations Interculturelles de la Montagne à Evolène (CIME), which takes place in the few days leading up to this and concludes with a final Gala evening performance.
The main event starts with a procession of vintage cars. This is followed by people dressed in traditional costumes, demonstrating local dancing, music and crafts. This year it was interspersed with performers from Russia, Armenia, Ecuador, Italy and Montenegro.
As you can see from the photos below (the best ones of which were taken by my wife Jude, as marked), everyone had a fabulous time. And if you ever wondered where this utopia is that I live, but couldn’t be bothered to look it up, I’ve added a map at the end. 😊
Today I had another opportunity to do a ‘new’ walk and this time it was from the small village of Champex-Lac to the Cabane du Trient (@3,169m or 10,297ft) which overlooks a huge expanse of glacier called the Plateau du Trient. I cheated a bit by taking the chairlift to La Breya (@2198m or 7,211ft) but it was still a good hike over some rough terrain and included a little bit of snow and a short section of metal stemples* to climb.
(*Think, thick staples stuck into the rock and you’ll be close).
As you will see below the views of the glaciers were incredible, but I was surprised to find a strange looking statue outside the cabane. Since returning home I’ve discovered it was created by sculptor Nikola Zaric, who sadly died of cancer in 2017. It was only meant to be there as part of a temporary exhibition but, after his death, a crowd-fund was set up to buy the statue, in order to donate it to the Swiss Alpine Club to ensure it remains in its current position. It also looks like they have now reached that target.
Anyway, it wasn’t the only unusual thing seen at the cabane… My blogging buddy, Stephen Black, has been getting a bit of stick for over-marketing his book ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: Skelly’s Square’ on his website, FracturedFaithBlog. Having put together my dad’s book, I know how much effort that goes into proof reading and editing, let alone actually writing it. So I’m unashamedly plugging it here. 😊 If you would like to purchase a copy – please click here.
I’m now hoping that I have literally taken it to a new level and my picture is the ‘highest’ picture ever taken of his book(?)
It’s quite timely that I should have posted this picture of my two good friends Ian and Martin, as Joe Jackson was a particular favourite of Ian’s and the song always reminds me of a camping holiday that the three of us had in Guernsey in the summer of 1979. We travelled over on the ferry when the infamous Fastnet storms were beginning. The boat was pitching and rolling all the way. Almost everyone on the ship was ill except the 3 of us, who could be found propping up the bar.
Martin played on the wing for York Rugby Union Football Club and was quick as well as strong and he decided to enter the Guernsey Open Athletics Championship. He chose to compete in the 100 metres and the Shot Putt event. (Not many people attempt that ‘double’!) Ian and I didn’t want to be left out so we recruited another 100m sprinter to form a 4x100m relay team. We finished 4th out of 5, beating the team put together by the 1500m runners, who had finished their own race only about 20 minutes before!
It’s those sort of holidays that bond friendships for the rest of your life. Even today, 40 years on, you may hear one of us say “Is she really going out with him?” 🤣
This weekend and until the 15th August, sees the biennial CIME (Célébrations Interculturelles de la Montagne à Evolène) festival, which features dancers and singers from different mountain areas around the world. We haven’t bought tickets to see any of the evening shows, but there are impromptu events happening in and around the villages of the Val d’Hérens.
So, with nothing better to do and the sun shining, I wandered down to the village, taking some photos as I went, and stumbled across a procession of the Russian, Italian and Ecuadorian participants. I presumed this was a sort of preamble or practice for the main ‘mid-summer’ procession on the 15th. I hope to bring you some pictures of that later next week, but in the meantime, here are a few images from today.