At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see post last Sunday), I should have been going for a long run today… This week the problem was that I went out on Tuesday and, after a stonkingly good outward 6.3k/3.9 miles*, my calf tightened up and I had to walk all the way back. ☹ So, I’m resting it for another couple of days.
*The only saving grace was that my pace for the 6.3k averaged around 5m 17s per km or 8m 30s per mile (which is much better than I expected).
I needed to get some exercise though, so I went for a walk, of around 9km/5miles, alongside the river.
After a pleasant lunch on the balcony, watching and photographing some birds, I had a little time to kill before the football started. So off I went up the path behind our chalet. In a way, this was a little foolhardy, as the road has been cordoned off for 3 or 4 weeks, due to some (and by that I mean several tonnes) of loose rock above. However, my neighbour told me that it had been given the all clear, so it seemed like a change from walking by the river.
Now I often say that you never know what you are going to find, or see, on a walk and today was no exception. With all the snow around I was amazed to find a small skull, no bigger than 6 inches or 15cm long. It clearly had some sharp teeth, but I have no idea what it might have been. So if anyone out there can identify it for me, I’d be eternally grateful.
Our car needed to go to the garage this morning to have a tyre valve changed. It would only take about an hour, so I took my camera for a walk alongside the river via the new Nordic Arena, which has been set out in Les Haudères. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful nature is at producing artistic shapes, which I hope is reflected in some of the photos below.
Note to self:
Don’t forget to take your snowshoes when you expect to walk in deep snow.
The snow has been falling on and off for the past week or so in the Val d’Hérens. And, now the kitchen has been decorated as far as we can go, (still no sign of the tiles being delivered!), it was time to get outside and go for a walk. But where to go….?
A lot of my usual walks are off limits due to the risk of avalanche, not to mention the depth of the snow, so I decided to repeat a walk I did waaay back in March 2016. My hope and aim was to find some pristine snow to photograph in the Ferpècle valley.
After parking my car in La Forclaz, I was pleased to see that the road up to the small reservoir had been cleared (though there was still a barrier blocking the way for vehicles). Once there though, it was tough going – wading through snow up to and sometimes above your knees! (It was only when I got back and looked up my previous post that I realised that last time I had taken my snowshoes! Doh!!)
I’ve agonised over posting pictures of this walk (from last Thursday) because ‘silly Mike’ forgot to take his camera with him and these images were taken on his phone. After downloading them, it soon became clear that the zoom on a mobile phone does not take very good landscape images. You all probably knew that, but I don’t use my phone very often, (even for calls), so it sort of came as a surprise how blurred and grainy they were. However, I was very impressed by the close ups and, in particular, the quality of the first image…
I was also pleased to see one or two butterflies still around, though I suspect picture 7 will probably the last one for this year. The weather has turned decidedly cool in the Val d’Hérens over the past week and is currently barely over the freezing point.
While I was out walking the other day, I noticed that the snow had melted quite a bit on the south facing slopes. (See this pic). So I thought it might be possible to walk to the small lake or pond at Béplan without having to tramp through the snow. Well, I was almost right…
Perhaps not surprisingly, it had rained while we were away and, given the lower temperatures, it was inevitable that some snow would fall on the mountain tops. Although it happens every year, you are still taken aback by the huge contrast between the brilliant white and the blue skies.
I was keen to find out how low the snow had fallen and so I took the bus up to Arolla to find out and to walk back down the valley to our chalet. Although some of the snow has now melted, it’s clear that it fell to just under the 2,000m or 6,500ft mark.
I should add that we have an incredibly talented wood carver in our valley, by the name of Hugo Beytrison. He often works with just a chain saw, but he also carves the wonderful wooden masks for the annual Evolène Carnaval in January/February. The last 2 photos show two examples of his work, which were on display outside his workshop yesterday. Check out his website for more details. It’s only in French, but, as they say, a picture saves a thousand words. 😊
For the second week of our holiday, we’d booked a cottage near Eccleshall in Staffordshire. In between meeting up with Jude’s family, we managed to explore a few of the local places of interest and below is a selection of our photos taken during the week.
Our good friends, Ian, Martin and Jan came over to see us at the end of the week, also staying in Hawkshead for a few days. Jude and I had done this particular walk up Lingmoor three and a half years ago and enjoyed it very much, so it seemed a good route for me to take the three of them. It’s only a small hill at 470m or 1,542ft above sea level, but again it affords excellent views of the surrounded fells – on a clear day of course!
We hadn’t expected great weather and indeed it was very grey for the first hour or so. But, as we neared the summit, all the clouds above us seemed to part and disappear and we had fabulous views all around. Our walk was about 6 miles or 10km long, with an overall ascent of approximately 400m or 1,300ft.
Perhaps a little known fact (again for you quizzers or simply the curious out there) is that only one of the 16 ‘lakes’ in the Lake District is called a lake – i.e. Bassenthwaite Lake. All the others are either Waters or Meres, as in Ullswater or Windermere.
For more information on these ‘bodies of water’ check out this Visit Cumbria website.
For our second walk we chose to drive over the Kirkstone Pass to Patterdale in the north east of the Lake District. Often smaller peaks give you a much better all round view of the distant hills and Place Fell at 657m or 2,156ft did not disappoint.
Our route started from the car park in the village and ascended to Boredale Hause, before turning left (north) to the summit. From there we turned north-east and descended around High Dodd to the east side of Ullswater. An undulating path then returned us alongside the lake to Patterdale. In total the walk was 7 miles long with an overall ascent of 550m or 1,800ft.
Imagine our surprise when we (well, Jude) spotted 2 Alpine Club plaques on the side of a building next to the school – one of which was Swiss! It seems the former school canteen, which subsequently became Parish Rooms, have been turned into a bunkhouse. It was officially opened on 4th October 1975 and named the George Starkey Hut, after a former member who had recently passed away. It has 20 beds and can be hired by recognised clubs and organisations. For more information read here.