C A N Charity Swiss Challenge 2007. September.

Well it is that time of year again, Our annual Charity trek to Switzerland.
Due to A large group pulling out at last minute, we went ahead this year with just 2 of us taking part, no problem still wonderful experience and funds raised for C A N Northampton.
Thursday  6th September.
Left Northampton 4.15am for the 45 minute journey to Luton Airport, our flight with EASYJET was due to leave at 7.10am, with a check in time of 5am.
With all the fuss etc at airports these days, it is always adivisable to check in early at Luton.
Flight was approx 30minutes late leaving, but actually arrived at Basel airport on time.
Short bus ride form Basel Airport to Basel SBB Rail station, as Basel is at the "Crux" of 3 countries, I.E Switzerland, Germany and France, there are also rail stations serving Germany and France, as well as Switzerland.
Train left Basel SBB at 11.27am prompt,  trains are always prompt in Switzerland, arriving in Bern, our 1st stop over, at 12.30pm.
With Bern being the capital of Switzerland, we found it to quite a bustling place, fantastic cathedral, parks etc.
With the clear weather on this Thursday we had fantastic views of the Swiss alps, over 26 Km away, we could clearly make out the massifs of the Eiger, Monch and Jungerfrau mountains.
Following lunch at the park area, we then took the oppurtnuity to climb the Cathederal tower, approx 396 spiral steps, well worth it though, the views across the city and the Alps were fantastic.
After a couple or so hours in Bern, we then caught our next train, from Bern to Interlaken, and then our final train from Interlaken to LAUTERBRUNNEN our Base for the following 3 days.
Following the short walk from LAUTERBRUNNEN station to the HOTEL OBERLAND, our base, we were greeted by Ursula at the door and given our room keys.
Following wash and brush up, and quick rest, we had by now been up for over 14 hours, and the night was just beginning.
Dinner at 7.30pm, those of you have been with us before to the HOTEL OBERLAND will know how fantastic the evening meals are at the OBERLAND, Mark and Ursula again impressed us with the meals.
Around 10pm, we all decided it would perahps be rude not to visit our local drinking haunt whilst in Switzerland, the wonderful HORNER Bar.
The Horner bar consists of a small room / Bar downstairs, open all day, with darts etc available, followed then by the "Night Club" on the 1st floor.
We deceided to venture upto the "Night club" around 11.30pm, being greeted by the energetic Angie.
Angie is a good friend of ours, whom we have known for several years now, if you are ever around LAUTERBRUNNEN on your own, always try to make the Horner bar, and say hello to Angie.
Following a few drinks and a few games of "Table football" we eventually left the club around 2am,  shattered from the previous days travelling etc.
Intsructions were given to meet at breakfast at 9am the following morning.
However, due obvisously to all the travelling the day before, it was required for Darren to come and wake me up, not at 9am, but 9.45am, felt a little worse for wear, again obvisously the travelling.
Can’t think of any other reason for feeling a little worse for wear.
Following Breakfast we then set out on our "practice" walk, approx 10.45am Friday 7th September.
The practice walk for the 1st day, takes us from LAUTERBRUNNEN Valley, straight up to the wonderful little village of Wengen, quite a steep sharp walk of approx 1.5 hours, the day was beautiful and Sunny, giving us fantastic views every step of the way to Wengen.
After a chocolate drink in Wengen, we then caught the Cable car upto MANLICHEN, after leaving the Cable Car at MANLICHEN, turn left on a sunny clear day, and take the short, 20minute walk upto the top view point, as today was clear and Sunny, we all took this walk, and were afforded the most spectacular views of the mountains all around, and also down to Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Wilderswill and Grindlewald, we also had a fantastic view of the North Face of the Eiger.
Following lunch at MANLICHEN we then took the walk from MANLICHEN to Kliene Schiedeg, approx 2 hour walk.
Then train from Kliene Schiedeg back down to LAUTERBRUNNEN.
Arrival in Lauterbrunnen around 6.15pm quick beer and shower then down for dinner at 7.30pm.
Once again Mark and Ursula excelled with the evening meal.
Tonight it was decided to be in bed by 10pm, we had an early start the following morning.
Up at 5.15am for breakfast at 6am, still very dark outside, but not too cold.
Following breakfast we eventually left the hotel at 6.45am, quite light by now, and still not too cold.
the walk, (Challenge) starts directly from the HOTEL OBERLAND, as soon as we leave the hotel, we start our very steep ascent, 1st along a road, and then up through the forest, although quite warm, the cloud was very low, so no views were afforded of the mountains.
As the morning wore on the sun gradually started to "Burn" off the clouds, making it quite a warm sunny morning around 8am.
After a couple of hours walking, we reached the rail track, this is the only flat part of the walk, we follow the rail track for about 20minutes into the wonderful Mountain village of MURREN.
Following a wonderful cup of hot chocolate at the Edelweiss hotel, we then walked through MURREN to the local COOP, energy bars and water were purchased here.
Around 10am we then started our final "Climb" from MURREN to the top of the SCHILTORN.
After leaving MURREN, the walk takes us through open Meadows, with todays weather we had fantastic views of the EIGER, MONCH and JUNGERFRAU ranges, along with other snowcapped mountains all around.
Around 11am we reached our next short break, a wonderful montain side "Cafe’".
Here you can get the most wonderful Milkshakes, along with fantastic Cheese and Ham on toast.
After a 20 minute stop-over, we then began our "Impossible" climb upto the next break, the wonderful LAKE Below and between the SCHILTORN and BIRG Cable car stations, the walk upto the Lake is probally the most difficult part of the walk, but, because of the weather, also the most spectacular, after about 2 hours walking, we came across our 1st bit of snow, this was left over from an unsually early fall of snow, the previous week.
carefully picking our way across boulders etc, we arrived at the lake about 2pm, a good 2.5 hour hike.
Whilst sitting down for lunch at the Lake, we noticed that quite a lot of cloud was starting to build up from MURREN, and coming towards us, also the Temprature was starting to drop, at this altitude, a bit of cloud cover makes a huge impact on the air temperature.
We decided to start walking again around 2.20pm.
After about 20 minutes, we could see our "Target" the SCHILTORN, still quite a way above us, again as we started our final ascent to the summit, cloud was beginning to build around the summit of the SCHILTORN, at times the building on top, (The Revolving Restaurant) completly disappeared.
By 3pm we were well into the snow line, making the path quite slippery in places.
The final ascent to the SCHILTORN involves a trek across a quite narrow ridge, although there was no snow on this ridge, it does still require considerable care to cross, albeit the Swiss have provided a steel rope for some support, however the narrow ledge before the ridge was still covered in a quite  sunbstantial amount of snow and ice, again great care was required crossing this part of the ascent.
Safely across the Ridge, the summit is within touching distance, although the final few metres of ascent, probally due to altitude and Fatigue, does appear to be quite difficult, however at 4.15pm we reached the Summit of the SCHILTORN.
Time for a few photo’s etc, and then catch the cable car and bus back to the HOTEL OBERLAND in LAUTERBRUNNEN Valley.
After arriving back at the hotel at approx 6.30pm, a few beers were sunk in celebration of our acheivment.
Dinner this evening was again livng upto the high expectations, with a fantstic STEAK meal, after the days exercertions this meal was most welcome, along with customary  bottle of DOLE’ the local Swiss Red wine.
SUNDAY 9th September.
Warm down day.
Following breakfast a leisurely stroll was taken along the Valley, to the TRUMMELLBACH Waterfalls, anyone visiting the LAUTERBRUNNEN Valley must try to get a visit in to these Falls before they leave.
Quite breathtaking amount of water falling through approx 8 different shutes.

Just beyond the southern end of Lauterbrunnen village, the delicate Staubbach falls – at nearly 300m, the highest in Switzerland – gush out of a sheer cliff, like a lacy decoration on the rugged precipice. It’s a scenic half-hour walk, or an hourly postbus, 3km up the valley to the Trümmelbach falls (daily: July & Aug 8am–6pm; Sept–June 9am–5pm; Fr.10). These impressively thunderous waterfalls – the runoff from the high mountains – have carved corkscrew channels through the valley walls: a stepped catwalk leads you over and around the enclosed, boiling cauldrons of rushing water (up to 20,000 litres a second), which throw up plenty of spray and have gradually eroded the rock into weird and wonderful shapes. From the top, trails from Mettlenalp connect to paths leading to Wengen and Wengernalp.






Coffee and Cake at the Cafe’ then a stroll back along the valley to the HOTEL OBERLAND, via a stop off, for a short walk up the mountainside to walk behind the STUBBACHE water fall, the path behind this waterfall only re-opened last June, 2006. and again is well worth a visit if in the area.
Following our goodbyes to Mark, Ursula and all the crew at the OBERLAND it was time to catch our train for the journey back to Basel Euro airport.
3.20pm train from LAUTERBRUNNEN to INTERLAKEN, change here for the 3.56pm Train to BASLE, via THUN and BERN.
We arrived in Basle approx 6pm, Has check in at the airport was not until 8pm, we decided to put our luggage in the left luggage hold, and have a walk round BASLE.
Found an interesting street, full of eating holes, had a wonderful Sweet and sour pork meal whilst sitting on the pavement tables enjoying the world go by.
Then took a walk down to river, where we came across a small music / food festival, some good music, jazz and Afrikan music being played, stayed here for a while to soak up the atmosphere, alomost forgot the time, and then had a bit of  rush to fetch our luggage in time for bus journey back from the station to the airport, checked in with 10 minutes to spare.
Need not have worried too much though the EASYJET flight was then delayed for 45 minutes.
Arriving back in Northampton around 12.45am.
All in all another very succesful SWISS CHARITY CHALLENGE.
Please copy and paste the link below into your browser  for details of the LAUTERBRUNNEN area.
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