(Tour du Mont Blanc) Sunset over the Aiguille Verte and Dru, Chamonix

Alpine Exploratory's Blog - Reports from our recces, and more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted on Friday, 9 February 2018 . Permalink

Joy made our pre-season TMB recces, in June for our 1st July season-start. Early Summer is a fabulous time for flowers in the Alps.

The view from the Grand Col Ferret ascent, looking towards Col de la Seigne.

Minor snow patches at Grand Col Ferret...

... on the way down to La Fouly.

At Lac Blanc above Argentiere. This bowl often holds snow into early Summer. This has not been a snowy start to the season.

Meadows like this burst with colour in June and early July. Here we are looking up to the Trient glacier.

The globe flower on a grassy hillside.

Thanks Joy!

 Tour du Mont Blanc - see our self-guided trip

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West Highland Way

Suze visited the WHW for our 2017 recces, across a couple of visits. This is a good way to do it, and we can advise on splitting the route into (for example) 3-day and 4-day sections.

Drumgoyne on the cross-country stage to Drymen. The WHW builds up gradually from lowland to Highland.

Looking North to the Crianlarich hills.

Loch Lomond.

"A Wee Treat To Help Along The Way".. a signpost offering snacks.

One of the goats of Loch Lomondside!

Cottages near Loch Lomond, on the approach to Ardlui.

The classic WHW view of Bein Dorain, in the cloud, and the trail to Bridge of Orchy.

 West Highland Way - our trek

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Norway in the Winter

(Simon writes:) To see more of the Norwegian landscape, I visited during Winter. This combined with a little cross-country and downhill skiing, and a lot of train travel!

Train tickets are easy to buy, as here at Oslo Gardemoen airport. The airport - the main one in Norway - is on the train line between Oslo and Lillehammer.

Skiing above Lillehammer, a short loop.

Looking North in the direction of the lower Rondane hills.

Lillehammer's high street with the ever-present Norwegian flag. In Norway the flag is flown with pride from shops and houses as well as public buildings.

Coffee in Lillehammer.

I stop in Oppdal, up the train line towards Trondheim. The hill in the morning glow hosts the ski area.

Great conditions and a few skiers out. Scottish skiers will be at home in Norway!

Above Oppdal.

One of the home runs and the valley floor.

Time for the train!

Colourful hats. Much in evidence are Norrona and Bergans, Norwegian makes.

A staple in Norway and Sweden, the cinnamon bun - kanelbulle.

A typical Norwegian hotel breakfast involves a fish station with preserves and salads. This is quite apart from the meat section and all the breads.

A still morning in Trondheim.

At Trondheim airport. Norwegian, SAS and Wideroe offer many internal routes in Norway. The country is so long North to South that this is essential.

We board the Wideroe flight to Sandefjord, South of Oslo. This is an hour-long flight, the length of the Southern 'bulge' of Norway.

Snowy moors.

A ferry system connects Oslo's centre with the islands in the Oslofjord and some nearby residential areas.

A calm library at one of the loveliest Oslo hotels we have stayed in. Please ask us for our recommendations or see your Travel Notes on booking!

Riding the tram system after a snowy night.

The DNT (Den Norske Turistforening, the Norwegian tourism and trekking organisation) maintains a good little shop in the middle of Oslo. Trekkers can ask advice on routes and buy maps and kit. In fact Oslo does very well for outdoor clothing with several large outdoor stores, including Norrona and Haglofs emporia.

Please join us in Norway, on our Summer treks!

 Jotunheimen Tour - our new Norwegian trek

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Alpine Pass Route West

Posted on Thursday, 8 February 2018 . Permalink

(Simon writes:) I spent a couple of days in the West of Switzerland, to add to our APR routecards. There was a short spell of sunny weather. In its last 3 stages the APR passes through French-speaking Switzerland. The destination is Montreux, the sunny town on the shore of Lac Leman.

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Alpine Pass Route East

 (Simon writes:) Continuing our mission on the Alpine Pass Route, I spent a few days in the East of Switzerland. This September was unusual for the amount of rain! We advise that early September is often a good time to be in the Alps for stable weather - not so in 2017! Here I began at Sargans and made my way along the easier paths of the Alpine Pass Route East, making good use of the buses and trains to skip about.

The high street of Sargans under the castle. Sargans is an everyday Swiss town far from any tourism, and quite attractive.

The APR starts with a climb up into woods, to gain a side valley. Here is the view back to Sargans.

Near Weisstannen, the valley and barns.

Sun this morning, having taken the train to Linthal and bus to the Klausenpass. Now I'll walk downhill to Altdorf.

The faint path drops into the valley.

The descent was quite steep into this valley, now looking back up. I'm at Asch, a village underneath an impressive waterfall that jets out from the cliff.

Water works in the valley.

The centre of Altdorf, a pretty Swiss town in the valley floor. This is one of the larger places visited by the APR with several hotels and restaurants. In terms of placing within Switzerland, we are on the train route North-South to Italy.. the Gotthard tunnels.

Back on the buses to the Klausenpass. A vintage tractor rally was in full swing!

Walking down to Linthal in the other direction, on a day of steadily increasing rain, I stopped for lunch.

With the rain set in I dropped quickly down the final mule track, well constructed and leading into Linthal.

I took the funicular railway to Braunwald, a small resort on a shelf above Linthal.

Back in Linthal and it's time for pudding.

Taking the train to St Gallen, the university town in the North East of Switzerland, here is a typical shot of a rural Swiss train. Region by region the trains differ, all following the linked timetable. We are waiting at Uznach.

St Gallen cathedral on a quiet Sunday. Most of the Swiss cities are very quiet on Sundays: almost all shops and many cafes and bars stay closed.

Flying back on a Swiss plane, an unexpected lunch!

 Alpine Pass Route East - walk self-guided with us

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