Walking Sellamatt Sagenweg - May Peaks of the Churfusten above green alpine meadows

With a beautiful day forecast and keen to get out, Jules and I headed to Sellamatt to try a walk that we found in www.outdooractive.com. We drove to Alt St. Johann and took the cable car up to Sellamatt and then headed off, following the locally signed "Sagenweg", stopping occassionally to look at the picture boards. The spring flowers were on good form, as the route winds along alpine meadows with the jagged peaks of the Churfusten (still with some snow patches) in the background and Fantastic views of Säntis across the valley.

We made it as far as the Wildinannli hutte, which unfortunately was closed, but we ate a light packed lunch on the benches and declined the extra small section heading up towards Selun. We returned following the Sagenweg, but decided to make a slight detour to make the route a bit more interesting.

All in all a lovely day out walking - fairly gentle but picturesque and lovely in spring, with the flowers and even a Cuckoo out of sight in the trees.

Overall the 7.4 miles with 740 ft ascent/descent took us 2hrs 45 and we'd rate it a T1. The GPX plot of our route is here.

Walking Creux du Van - May View of the cliff face at Cruex du Van

Many thanks to Diana & Luis for suggesting and organising an excellent walk in Neuchatel, the locally famous Creus du Van.

It was a bit of a trek from Zurich, but with fairly convenient trains we arrived late morning and after re-victualling at the little shop at the station we headed off up the hill.

It was obviously a popular route, and with a good day forecast it was fairly busy and we were walking single file with other groups on the ascent. It's been a while since we've done this kind of walking and we're obviously not used to it any more! The route up was fine, we chose to do the steep ascent and more gentle descent, which was probably a good call since the path was a bit muddy and quite slippery underfoot.

Arriving at the top we were rewarded with spectacular views around the amphitheater - it's easy to see why this is such a popular destination. It's reasonably safe at the top, although not great for anyone with vertigo or acrophobia. It's easy to stay away from the edge, but in typical Swiss fashion there are no railings or barriers - common sense is expected to provide all the protection one should need!

We walked a short way around the amphitheatre and then stopped for a picnic lunch - Diana and Luis providing some lovely treats from their visit to an Italian market. We then continued on around the loop before dropping down to retrace our steps back into Noiraigue. Feeling very content we picked up some (excellent) local beers for the train ride back to town.

Overall the 8.5 miles with 2,600ft ascent/descent took us 3hrs 25, plus a stop for a picnic in the sun and a coffee at La Grand Vy. It's probably a T2, and the plot of our route is here

Walking Kronberg - May View over the peaks of hills, snow on the lee side

With a fairly good day forecast, but still to early in the year to go walking in the mountains proper, Tom and I set off to try route #12 from Zuercher Hausberg: Kronberg.

It was slightly cloudy at the start, but we were actually grateful of the cover as the route climbs pretty steadily out of Jakobsbad, past Lauftegg and up to Hoch. We made steady progress round to Kronberg, with the cloud clearing and the occasional glimpses of Säntis and blue sky.

We stopped for a fairly brief but perfectly decent lunch at Kronberg bergstation, then headed past a perfect paraglider launch point and made our way on down to Jakobsbad in glorious sunshine.

The route was rated T2+ and there were a couple of sections where it was a bit more exposed than a normal T2, however these were either fenced-off, or were more steep than actually a hazard. Overall it was a good route and it would be great to do it again in better weather, with the full views.

Overall the 9.5 miles with 3,200ft ascent/descent took us 3 hrs 50. The GPX plot of our route is here.

Walking Frauenfeld to Wil - April Pretty church, surrounded by fields and trees

With a nice day forecast, but still too early in the year to go walking in the mountains, Jules and I headed off to Frauenfeld to try a linear walk to Wil.

The chosen route was from gps-tracks.com, although this is actually the Murgweg, and follows the path of the river from Frauenfeld to Wil, with occassional slight detours. The route itself was very easy to follow, with (typically) well made paths and plenty of signs.

We made pretty steady progress to Wängi, and stopped for a perfectly acceptable lunch at Restaurant Landhaus Rosental (which is in Rosental, rather than Wängi!), before heading on to Wil.

Overall the 13 miles with 1,370ft of ascent and 825ft of descent took us 3 hrs 55 minutes, and we'd rate it an easy T1. The GPS plot of our route is here.

Walking Zugerberg - March Rigi in the background, cloud filled valleys in midground, and green fields in foreground.

With a slightly mixed day forecast, but keen to get out, Jules and I headed to Zugerberg to try a route with good views, but not too far to travel.

We arrived a little late in the morning, and had to find some alternative parking - the carpark at the bottom of the funicular being full. Once up the hill we set off in the direction of Wildspitz, but without really intending to get there - given the time of day, the day of the year, and a forecast of rain in the early evening.

We did make it as far as Alpli, where we discovered that the restaurant was closed for the mid-season, so we headed back to the Gasthaus Pfaffenboden for a perfectly acceptable late lunch. The weather was kind to us all day, and the views of the Rigi and Pilatus were quite impressive in the clear air, the valleys being filled with low cloud which really enhanced the effect.

All in all the 10.4 miles took us 3 hrs 25 (not including lunch) with 1,500 ft of ascent/descent. The GPX plot of our route is here.

Snowshoeing Melchsee-Frutt - March Snow covered mountains framing snow covered fields under blue sky

With a glorious day forecast, and keen to make the most of it, I headed over to Obwalden to Melchsee-Frutt to try some of the local snowshoeing routes.

I decided to do a bit of a variation on the published routes, taking the black route 004 from Melchsee-Frutt to Tannalp, then the red 002 back along the other side of the Tannensee, then the 001 to the top of the Erzegg lift before doubling back to the 002 and following that down to Melchsee-Frutt. I think this was a pretty good choice as it takes in all the interesting (and in some cases more technical) parts of the routes, but avoids the long flat walk back along the bottom of the valley. The only difficult parts of the route were on the black section (no great surprise there) - a very slightly intimidating traverse just past Bonistock, and a slightly technical but very short descent off the ridge before heading down to Tannalp.

It was a fairly exerting day, and if I were to do it again in snowshoes then I'd probably take a little more time over the ascents, and overall try to go a little slower. It would make for a perfectly doable summer walk though, with lovely views of the surrounding mountains in the right weather.

Overall the 6.6 miles with 2,000ft ascent/descent took me a little over 3 hours, plus a brief stop for lunch, and lots of stops for photos. The GPX plot for the route is here.

Skiing Flims - March View of foggy ski slope from inside cable car

With some recent snowfall and trying to make the most of the season, I headed down to Flims to go skiing for the day wiht Jay and Izzy.

The conditions were a bit marginal for most of the day - decent snow, but low cloud making the visibilty quite poor. We pottered around for a bit in the morning before retiring for an early lunch in restaurant Stalla (just about managing to find it in the cloud!). After an excellent lunch of Kaese Spaetzli we headed back out to try the Laax side, but found conditions to be not much better. Not giving up hope we headed up to try the Glacier (and do a loop of the mountain), and found some excellent powder, in an island of sunshine just under Furcola lift. We skied the powder until they closed the lifts on us, and then headed back down a very foggy run #40 - possibly the slowest run of the season, skiing pole to pole all the way down.

Overall it was a pretty respectable day, we covered 40.9km overall, with 6,600m vertically.

Snowshoeing Mostelberg - February Snow covered pine trees alongside snow covered track

Despite the cold forecast, and keen to get out, Jules and I wrapped up warm and headed off to Mostelberg above Sattel to go snow-shoeing above the Agaerisee.

The was a bitter wind and we pretty quickly changed in the warmer clothes we’d brought before heading off on the first circular snow-shoeing trail. The route started with the Skybridge, where Jules was very brave, but after that continued steadily around the side of the hill. There was a bit of a climb - probably about 45 minutes - to reach the top at Spillmettlen, and from there a short descent to reach Herrenboden. We had a rather good lunch in the berghaus Herrenboden, good service despite being full to the seams. After lunch we elected to do the winter walking route #1, which was a nice route, although we had to take off our snowshoes at one point to walk along a tarmac road just past Mostelegg.

All in all it was an excellent walk, albeit not quite at its best owing to the low cloud obscuring the views of the nearby mountains. We agreed that we must go back in better weather, and that this would make a good summer walk too...

In total for the day we managed a total of 7.6 miles, including 1,800ft of ascent descent in 3 hrs 10. The GPX plot of our route is here.

Walking Kollbrunn - February View over snow covered fields, with a snow covered farm in the mid distance

With fairly uninspiring weather forecast, - low, grey cloud - but keen to get out, Jules and I decided to try one of the lower altitude options in Rund um den Zuerichseen #9.

The route starts from Kollbrunn and climbs steadily before following streams and valleys as it winds in a large loop. We decided to do a variation on the walk, and to cut off one segment, but make it circular, which worked quite well.

The landscape was very pretty in the recent snowfall, although we were occassionally attacked from above by the snow falling off the branches and down the backs of our necks.

All in all it was a very pretty walk, and probably the best we could have made of the day. It would be good to go back in summer and do the official route, either extending the walk back, or catching the train from Raemismuehli-Zell to Kollbrunn.

In total, it was almost exactly 10 miles, and took us 3hrs 20, not including the stop for a (rather good) hot gemuse bullion from the vending machine at the station.

Walking Forch - Meilen January Trees blown down across a path, alongside a stream

With the girls off at a horse show, my father and I headed over to Forch to walk down to Meilen for a bit of a stretch of the legs, and also to see the local woods.

We set off at a fairly gentle pace, taking the time to look at the local workings in the woods. We guessed that there had been a fairly major campaign going on to bring down larger trees for high grade timber, but that the recent storms had  resulted in a lot more trees down that then needed tending to. We stopped at  the Pfannensteil restaurant for a soup and Alper Macaroni (quite a full on meal!) before heading down via the stream to Meilen. We were both surprised by the amount of devastation on the last section - whole sections of the path had trees down and the clean up work was clearly going to take some time.

Overall the 6.7 miles with 800 ft ascent / 1700 ft descent took us 2 hours 25, not including lunch. The GPX plot for our route is here.

Snowshoeing Brunni - January View over the Grosser and Kleine Mythen with cloud filled valleys in background

With an excellent day forecast., and keen to get out and be sociable, Jules &. I headed to meet up with Diana & Luis, plus Carlos and family for a day snowshoeing.

After getting the boys kitted out with skis and the usual equipment faff we headed on up to Furggelenstock at a leisurely pace. The views were spectacular - the Grosse & Kleine Mythen we’re framed in sunshine and the Rigi and further peaks were visible, with the valleys shrouded in mist.

The route up was slightly disrupted by the recent storms - we had to detour around some fallen trees, but otherwise the ascent was fairly easy on well packed snow.

We made very gentle progress (often distracted by the views), and arrived at the Furggelenstock hut at about 2:30, in time for a late soup lunch. From there we headed back down the way we’d come.

Overall the 3 miles took us 2 hours (not including breaks and lunch), with an ascent/descent of 1,500ft in total. The GPX plot of our route is here.

Skiing Flims - January Ski piste with cloud in the valley

Keen to get in a good start to the season, Jules and I headed to Flims to make the most of the good, early, snow.

I started off with a good blast on Stretch, which was empty as usual first thing, but a bit refrozen in places. From there I headed over to Sogn Martin to try to get to Vorab, which unfortunately was closed owing to wind, so instead did couple of loops of Scansinas on run #16 (which was excellent), before dropping down via Grauberg and run #10  via Startgels to meet Jules for lunch in Flims.

We declined the queue at the burger van at Flims - moving at Swiss speeds - and instead had lunch at The Cock Inn, an acceptable wurst and pretty mediocre burger. Next time we resolved just to go to the bakery in town which looks good and well frequented.

After lunch I headed up to towards the glacier, with an extra run down the Tres Palais, and the worlds slowest bubble up from Fuorcola. Unfortunately the drag lifts up the glacier were shut because of the wind and the conditions were pretty bad with strong winds blowing ice into your face. I headed back via other side of the slow bubble then did a loop round Plaun/Crap Sogn Gion, Plaun, Scanscinas and Startgels to finish the day. The light was getting a bit flat by the end, which made run #14 a bit tasty.