Pointe du Tsaté Walk

It’s almost 2 years since I did this walk – up to the Pointe du Tsaté at 3,078 metres (or 10,078 ft) from La Forclaz (VS) at around 1800 metres (or 5,900 feet).  The last time, I had to negotiate some early season snow towards the top, but not on Sunday… Indeed, dehydration and sunburn were more of a concern under the blazing sun!  The 360 degree view from the top is simply amazing (even I had a little ‘wow’ moment to myself as I crested the ridge), with more peaks than I could name on the horizon and the impossibly blue Lac de Moiry way down below in the adjoining valley. (See pic 10).

As Sarah, Karl and I set off from the top, we noticed some parascenders preparing to take off, so I paused to take some pics…  The conditions must have been ideal, as they soon soared, effortlessly, high up into the air.  There were also a few flowers and one or two butterflies, still clinging on to the last of this Indian summer.

Kreuzboden – Monster Trotti descent

My daughter, Sarah, her fiancé, Karl, and my sister Karen are visiting us for a few days.  Karen likes to see new parts of Switzerland, so we took them around to Saas Grund.

There are many ways to descend a mountain – by ski, snowboard, bike or even parascend, but none can be more fun than a Monster Trotti… 🙂  So after a quick walk around the lake, we were off…

As if to prove how easy it is to take great pictures in Switzerland, I’ve posted three of Karen’s pictures below, all taken with her new Lumix/Panasonic DMC-TZ60 point and shoot camera.  (I really should get Panasonic to sponsor me!)

Birthday boy – still Bobbing Along…

Today, I’m very pleased and proud to say, is my dad Bob’s 94th birthday.  I’ve just spoken to him and he’s on top form, as usual.  🙂  It also seems an appropriate moment to mention his book, or Memoirs – called Bobbing Along.

It’s been a long time in the making and publication, as it started life in the 1980’s as series of typed anecdotes, which were all stored in a folder.  Some years later, my younger brother, Steve, scanned these into pdf form, just in case the originals were ever lost.  Then late last year, I thought it might be a good idea to get them made into a book.  So I ran the pdf files through some OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software and turned them into a series of Word documents.

Somehow all the a’s became anything but a, so after around 3 months of editing and a bit of tweaking here and there, the finished document was sent off (electronically of course) to Book Printing UK (who, I have to say, were very good).  Three weeks later a physical proof copy was duly sent to me here in Switzerland to check.  A couple of minor modifications were made (mainly to the book cover) and we ordered 30 copies (for delivery in the UK) to distribute amongst our family.  (Sorry, it’s not available in the shops or online I’m afraid!)

See the Contents picture below, but the book is more or less his life history – from being a child, growing up in Hounslow, Middlesex, to joining the Royal Navy, where he became a Signalman and travelled all around the world.  (It wasn’t until he was in his 80’s that he travelled anywhere by plane!)  After the War, while on leave, he went to stay with his aunt and uncle in Yorkshire and that’s where he met my mum.  The rest, as they say, is history… 🙂

No Name Lake revisited

Back in June I posted something about my attempts to capture that classic ‘reflection shot’ in a lake with no name, situated at 2,900m or 9,514 ft, above Arolla.  I was thwarted that day by the lake still being frozen, but I vowed to return later in the year, when the skies were blue, (i.e. yesterday).

My hopes were not high when we awoke to overnight frost and, worse still, during the ascent, there was ice on the path (pic 7), in a stream (pic 10) and on a small pond below the lake (pic 11).  Imagine my surprise then, when I arrived to find only one edge was still frozen.  🙂

As you will see (pics 13 and 14) the lake itself is nothing spectacular, but the opportunities it affords the photographer, (not me obviously), are enormous.

Sardinia (Part 2 of 2)

For the second half of our holiday we moved our base further north to Porto Pozzo, staying in the Villa Nicoletta B&B.  We were extremely well looked after by Giovanni, who provided us with a choice of more Sardinian cakes and biscuits for breakfast than you could eat in a week!

I think it’s fair to say that the north and west of Sardinia is much quieter and more rural than the north east.  We found ourselves almost alone on many of the beaches.  I guess that’s the advantage of travelling in late September/early October.  🙂

We also took a boat trip around the La Maddalena islands, which is a ‘must do’ for any visitor.

Sardinia (Part 1 of 2)

Living in a land-locked country, Judith longs to spend some, maybe even most, of her leisure time by the sea, seeking out lighthouses wherever she goes… I just like the sun on my back and a bit of stone stacking!  So our chosen destination for our autumn vacation this year was the wonderful island of Sardinia.

Our first 5 nights were spent at the Domus de Rocas B&B, where we were extremely well looked after by the delightful Vittoria.  The B&B lies just south of the famous Costa Smeralda, which Wiki tells me is “the most expensive location in Europe. House prices reach up to 300,000 euros ($392,200) per square meter.”  The main town of Porto Cervo was designed and built in a typical Sardinian style though, when we visited and walked through the shopping area, it was my idea of Hell – with (so called) designer shops in every direction.  I couldn’t even bring myself to take out my camera.

By contrast, Porto Rotondo was a much more beautiful and relaxing place, with the shops and restaurants very sympathetically laid out around the picturesque harbour.


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!