Tuesday 8 July 2008

And I would drive 3000 miles....

Taken from St. Gotthard's Pass Road, Switzerland

So I'm back from my gallivants around
Europe so apologies for no posts for over two weeks. We started with a long drive to the the Umbrian Hills of Italy with a short stop in Switzerland and the following week toured France, until finally we could avoid coming home no longer!

The driving was initially tiresome but it soon became just part of the holiday and in the end quite enjoyed it. It was hard not to - some of the roads we took in Switzerland, Italy and France were just astonishingly picturesque.

The first image was taken around the highest point of the
St Gotthard's Pass road which winds from Andermatt to Airolo into the mountains and then delivers incredible views of Switzerland to the south and into Northern Italy on a clear day. I can not understand why so many people (save for coaches and lorries) took the tunnel when you get this kind of reward to taking the pass road! As good as the driving was it was hard to have to leave the mountains without at least a walk or a one night wild camp!

Pilatus from Horw - Switzerland

seems to me to be a hiking and wild camping dream - if not a slight step up in the effort stakes!

We had an amazing time all in and would certainly like to try a hiking trip in France or Switzerland in the future - might have to start creeping around Charl now if I stand any chance of that!

So, in any case I'm back, refreshed and with a taste of freedom fresh in my mind (or mouth) its time to get organising my first summer wild camp with the new tent. Not exactly sure where to go yet since I suspect that the hills will be alive with the sound of tourists wherever I go! One thing is for sure though, driving for 4 hours now seems like a dream compared to the 10 hour days Charl and I spent in the car on occasion this holiday. I'm thinking a route around the Coniston Fells perhaps, but I need to research this with caution to avoid migrating tourists!

I read an article in Trail Magazine this month with particular interest, which introduced me to the benefits of dry bags when backpacking. I like the idea for the organisation benefits alone, but I realised it might also solve my problem of limited storage in the porch of the Seedhouse SL2. I could carry everything I need in a number of fold top dry bags, and leave whatever I don't need outside the tent, except for boots and the empty rucksack. I'm looking into this as its a cheap idea but I'm not sure on weight compromise. More come on this me thinks.

A view from the Lake at Marcenay - France

So the date for the next trip is the 25th July so I have some research to do. I guess I'll just sit with an OS map and pray to the God of hiking routes (UK representative) to find me a circular route of around two days and around 20 miles.......

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