Tag Archives: mountains

The Meaning of Mountains – Part I

At the Sella Pass in Val Gherdëina, South Tyrol, Italy, The BB and I are pushed into the telephone box cable cars by the attendants. Two passengers to a booth – standing room only. The agility of those scrambling aboard determines how far towards the precipitous drop the attendants must run in order to stuff them in and snap the door handle shut. There is much hilarity amongst those in the queue.

IMGP0055 Continue reading

Mountain Danger – Not Where You Expect It.

It’s skis. It’s snowboard. It’s wind-in-the-hair-and-mountain-views. All in complete safety.

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Hardware at Height

We missed the signs on the walk up. It was only when we got to the big red one lying on the rockface after the first short section of La Resgia via ferrata that we realised we would have to abandon. Birds and nature are not to be tampered with and the sign made it clear that we would be doing so if we proceeded. We were not to be there until the 1st July – two days hence – on account of nesting birds. (Perhaps they were on some sort of timed evacuation.) We departed sadly.

On the way down we met two Swiss folk who told us the fine was 300 CHF. They kept going regardless. Perhaps their Swissness was protection enough.

Fortunately, as you know by now, there was plenty to keep us occupied in the intervening time and we returned on the allotted day.

It is a great via ferrata for three reasons: Continue reading

Your Swiss Mission

Spot the difference.

Yes, this is the original (perhaps we will say in years to come, ‘and still the best’) The World Is My Cuttlefish cairn. It is at the top of Piz Trovat, introduced in my last post.

In this steadfast and jaunty box: Continue reading

It May Happen On A Mountain

Normally I climb and hike to the accompaniment of cow bells. Their multi-pitched donging, resonating around mountain valleys, evokes a cellular rather than cerebral response and is at once calming and uplifting. Like an odour, it reaches something primitive in me.

The BB and I had taken the cable car up Piz Trovat, Switzerland.

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Why We Love A Landscape

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by                                                               And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.                                        By John Masefield  (for the complete poem, see the end of the post)

This is a longing that is almost visceral; a longing that rides the rhythms of a physical place and speaks of loss and hope.

I saw my first mountain when I was thirty-nine. I was standing on Italian soil with my children and my mother. Across the border, the Swiss Alps filled the spaces between land and sky. Continue reading

Porridge: O(rganic) A(rtistic) T(alented) S(kier)

It was the Baron von Porridge’s maiden voyage on skis and look at him! It is fair to say his performance was stellar. He was the epitome of balance, poise and verve. No quaking here.

He rode the slopes as though born to ski, glorying in the freedom of unfettered descent.

Wearing his waterproof suit, he felt nigh on invincible but rescue workers were stationed at intervals – the baron has more at stake than most in the event of a spill.