Our 3 day trip to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
Me, Mollie & Twig. Exploring a beautiful city. (Country number 17 for Twig)
Cycle Touring. Adventure. Rain. Sun. Travel
Twigget. My little traveling companion. He has traveled thousands of miles with me on my bicycle. He’s been up mountains, on boats, planes & trains.. He recently returned to England after Leaving me and travelling far east with a fantastic friend.
(Country number 16) He was well looked after & did just fine without me. Thanks Mollie!
On my cycle tour last year, whilst sitting by the Danube eating breakfast in Serbia I met a German cycle tourist called Micheal, He was also traveling on the EuroVelo8 (a cycle path that follows the Danube) We cycled together crossing Serbia, Bulgaria & into Turkey.. From Istanbul I traveled south to a work away, Micheal continued east. He met a Girl and traveled many more countries, an amazing trip. http://www.michaelgranz.de/
I took a flight over to Germany to meet up with my friend, first staying for a few days at his parents house in Ladenburg, thanks Micheal’s parents! Taking a few small hikes and accidentally timing it right for the town festival! From there we traveled south to his sister and brothers in laws house in the beautiful Black Forrest staying for one night, getting our gear sorted, Me, Michael and his girlfriend Ting were ready for the drive down to the Austrian boarder for the two day hike up Germany’s highest mountain..
“The Zugspitze, at 2,962 m above sea level, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain in Germany. It lies south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the Austria–Germany border runs over its western summit.”
Camping over night (in the rain) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we set off! Carrying all the gear and food for two days and one night, around 24km’s. First day’s hike up to around 2000m following the river in the valley was fairly easy going on a descent path with only the weight of the 16kg back pack to deal with, making camp under the most incredible night sky. I set off solo an hour before sunrise climbing out of the valley by head torch, getting ahead because the visibly was set to decrease at 11am, with the path ever increasing in gradient and becoming less of a path I reaching the top of the valley just in time to watch the beautiful sunrise over the valley. Taking about 4 hours I reached the base of the final climb to the summit which is also the cable car station, most taking to cable car up to the 2,962m peak as this is where it becomes a climb rather then just a challenging walk. Now it’s around -3c with snow and ice with the wind picking up. By this point I had now completely ran out of food. The start of the ascent path was 1ft deep snow, now climbing using the steel cables drilled into the rock to hold or clip into. Running out of energy I reached the ridge, Germany on one side, Austria on the other. My “warm up” in Wales on Grib Goch although incredible itself hadn’t prepared me for this level of exposure, with huge drops on both sides and wind gusts that required almost laying flat. Fear of heights, panic instantly set in.. Crippled for a few moments, I thought about my options. I laughed out loud and continued. Reaching the summit, joining the people who have took pubic transport. (Just like Snowdon) Time for a coffee! The views from 2,962m looking over the alps are incredible. At this point the weather had made the decent on foot far too dangerous, requiring me take the cable car, bugger! I don’t very much like cable cars… From the cable car station it’s a cog train back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Beer!
Returning to the black Forrest spending the rest of my trip at Micheal’s sister and brothers in laws Beautiful huge German farm house, very kind people. Thank you.
Exploring the area with Eka the German Shepard was lovely, also a surprise tour of the monkey 47 Gin Distillery!
Little Twiglet came to work for a repair. I broke his poor little arm in Scotland (4months ago) the same trip i damaged my knee, we both haven’t been on a bike trip since. I’ve been having physiotherapy & my knee has finally started to feel like it’s recovering, my new touring bike hasn’t even left my bedroom.. Months spent off the bike. It’s been hard. But we are on the mend! Poor little guy has been left at home while I’ve been off adventuring on foot. Sorry Twig, I’ll not forget you. Soon!…
For a long time I have wanted to climb to Mt Snowdon Via the Grib Coch route. After watching the weather all week, this weekend was a go! To wales in the trusty five series! Camping over night in a beach car park (in trusty five series) Setting foot on the mountain just before sunrise..
Crib Goch has tripped up plenty of hill walkers in the past by luring them into a false sense of a security.
“Once you strike off from the Pyg Track there’s a good, well-travelled path that takes you right up to the base of the scramble,” explains Carlo. “It’s easy to wander along thinking ‘this is all very nice’ and not realise how serious the route is until you’re on it.”
The scramble begins with an exhilarating clamber up blocky slabs that bottleneck up to the crest of the ridge. Holds are numerous and the exposure is only middling – the real difficulty at this point is route finding. A guidebook will help you identify the main features, but you’ll still need to pay close attention to the line.
“One of the skills that isn’t emphasised enough in scrambling is looking ahead,” says Carlo. “As you approach the scramble from a distance, start looking for your route and make a mental note of key features to aim at such as big boulders, flat terraced areas and unusual rock features. Sometimes these can only be identified from a long way back – once you’re close up, the view to the top will be obstructed.
“Many people use a guidebook to help them, which is a good idea, but I’d also recommend taking a large-scale map. A map will show plenty of detail, particularly if you look beneath the rock and crag markings at the contour lines. These will give an indication of steepness and changes in angles of slopes which can all be used as tick-off features when navigating such a route.”
The navigational difficulties diminish substantially once you reach the crest of the ridge itself, but at this point the exposure really begins to kick in. Those incredible sweeping descents on either side might lend themselves to some of the best views in the mountain range – but they’re anathema for vertigo sufferers. At points the ridge is narrow enough to easily straddle and in these areas it tends to be safest to stick to the top or to drop slightly down to the left hand side as you continue towards Snowdon. Scramblers have been known to freeze on Crib Goch, particularly in inclement conditions.
“The weather really can play a very important part,” Carlo points out. “This is a well-travelled route and the rock in places is polished, so in wet or even damp conditions it can get slippery. If it’s windy then the ridge will feel even more exposed. And remember that there’s no escape route until you reach Bwlch Coch.”
In snowy conditions Crib Goch is a Grade 1 winter climb that requires crampon and ice axe skills, so in winter it’s best left to those with bags of experience.
If the traverse of Crib Goch has left you jelly-legged and keen to recuperate with a slap-up breakfast at Pete’s Eats, then there is a steep, grassy descent from Bwlch Coch that eventually joins back up with the Pyg Track. The much longer and more exciting alternative is to continue along the second section of the ridge – Crib y Ddysgl – and bag the summit of Snowdon before descending via Y Lliwedd to complete the full Snowdon Horseshoe. Leave between 6 and 10 hours for the route, depending on your scrambling speed and fitness levels, and be aware that Crib Goch isn’t the only challenge that this glorious mountain day will present to you.
“Crib Goch is often described as the crux of the Horseshoe, but the whole route is packed with excitement,” says Carlo. “Crib y Ddysgl has an easier route that bypasses the crest, but if you choose to stick to the ridge then it’s just as challenging as Crib Goch. It’s also worth point out that following the easier route would still require good route finding skills and navigation to avoid getting into trouble as this route crosses through some steep terrain There’s more exposed scrambling on the other side of the Horseshoe, and you should be aware that route finding can be tricky coming off the mountain as well.”
Be wary when descending from the summit of Snowdon to Bwlch Ciliau. It is easy to take a direct line from the summit over the top of Clogwyn y Garnedd, but this lures you on to a treacherous scree sclope which has caught people out in the past, to sometimes tragic results. Instead, head down to the south-west for a short distance and pick up the top section of the Watkin Path to head down to Bwlch Ciliau, and then carry straight on to Y Lliwedd.
The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. The North Coast 500 (Also known as NC500) was created by the North Highland Initiative and was designed to bring together the best of the north Highlands of Scotland in one iconic touring route.
Working clockwise, the route starts at Inverness and runs via Muir of Ord, Applecross, Gairloch, Ullapool, Durness, Thurso, John o’Groats, Wick, Dunrobin Castle, Dingwall then back to Muir of Ord and Inverness.
The concept of the North Coast 500 was launched in March 2015 by the Tourism Project Board of the North Highland Initiative (NHI) in an attempt to work with all aspects of the tourism sector to bring unified benefits to businesses across the route. It was identified that a gap existed in the market within the North Highlands for a tourism offering that included each county of the area (Caithness, Sutherland & Ross-shire) and that the North Coast 500 would address that. The initiative was supported by Visit Scotland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.