Clavau and Sillonin Bisse Walk, Valais, Switzerland

Firstly, my sincere apologies for not posting more often recently, but the snow does hamper walking at this time of year in the Val d’Hérens.  With that in mind I decided to head down to the Rhone valley to find a suitable, snow-free, route.

I’ve posted about Bisses before but, to remind you, they are essentially watercourses or irrigation channels which were built (often in daring places) to carry water from the mountain streams to the dry fields, orchards and, as in this case, vineyards.  I selected the Bisse de Clavau, as it begins in  Sion, which I could easily reach by bus, and I could connect it up with the Bisse de Sillonin, which allowed me to drop down to the village of St Leonard to catch a train and then bus back home to Evolène.

Both bisses were built around 1450 and one has to admire the effort that must have gone in to making them.  The vineyard terracing is also a marvellous piece of human engineering.  While planning my route, I also read that there might be a stretch of the path which might not suit anyone with vertigo… (So I’m glad my mate Pete wasn’t with me!)  And I also had a surprise encounter with a tunnel, which started wide enough but it narrowed to an exit no more than 3 feet high.

As you will see from some of the pictures below, it was nice to see Spring emerging, with the flowers, a few butterflies and a couple of lizards already out warming themselves against the rocks.  I also spotted at least one Brambling, but never got a decent shot of it to post here.  My apologies also for the number of photos, but it was quite an interesting and varied route.

For more information on the 50+ bisses of the Valais, please click here.

9 thoughts on “Clavau and Sillonin Bisse Walk, Valais, Switzerland

    • Yes, that path is not for the faint-hearted. But I have discovered a few others to explore, which could be even worse! Also, even more amazingly, we’ve seen three butterflies (or the same butterfly 3 times on consecutive days) outside our chalet (at 1400m/4,600ft) with the temperatures hovering between -/+6 degrees. Though I’ve always said that when the sun is out, it feels like summer. I also saw what I took to be a moth, or small butterfly, yesterday with black and red wings. I didn’t get a good sight of it, so I couldn’t describe it any better I’m afraid. (And we had another Brambling in our tree today). Things are obviously picking up! 😊

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        • It could have been as the outer wings were black and the underneath red. Though I don’t recall seeing any red on the front. But, as I said, it was only a fleeting glimpse. (I saw it land down a slope and made my way slowly towards where it might be and just as I spotted it, my left foot moved and it flew off!) Maybe all your Bramblings are over here at the mo and on their way over…!😉 (Just been called outside by my wife who’s spotted 2 eagles circling near the cliffs behind our chalet. Never a dull moment in the Val d’Hérens!)

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  1. Great hiking adventure, so many sights to behold, Mike! Whoa, some of those pathways are narrow and on the edge. But I know you’re careful! 🙂 Always love seeing those white-capped mountains of yours. Cheers! (love that carving!) 😊

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