2nd November 2017. Switzerland.
I took the Tour du Lac, around the Lac de Montsalvens, near Charmey in Switzerland on the advice of Justine who grew up close by and used to walk her dog there.
I walked on the path down the mountain from Crésuz and passed through beech woods, ankle deep in bronze and copper leaves.
I glimpsed the lake through the trees.
Around the bend was the Barage de Montsalvens offering glorious views.
The lake is at a different level to the incoming river Jogne.
There are picnic places at this end and the choice to go to the nearby town of Broc, though the tour carries on around the lake.
Here in this place of such natural beauty, I echo Karine Polwart’s feelings when she wrote about Scotland
‘I get filled up with space when I come here’.from ‘Wind Resistance’
I think it is one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
It disappeared into the depths and when I later saw a fisherman searching in the clear pools I sincerely hoped it would stay well hidden.
There was movement on the facing bank: when my eyes became accustomed I saw tiny birds scuttling along branches and flitting into gaps in the rocks.
On the opposite side is the Ruisseau de Montélon river.
The Ruisseau de Montélon river
From here the way climbs up.
I missed the leafy sentier off to the right, and clambered instead up the grassy slopes where men were building a house loudly. But there too were a pair of red kites which glided so close I could see every detail of their orange bodys, striped wings and split tails. Magnificent.
I eventually identified my whereabouts (this time I had a map), rolled under a barbed wire fence (I find myself doing this a lot!), edged with my boots along the steep fields to avoid tumbling, and found first a traditional wooden house with pointed woodpile like a haystack, and afterwards a wee chapel.
Then down towards Charmey, sticky brown clay underfoot, cowbells tinkling, traffic sounds ever stronger, and I had the familiar feeling of wanting to go back up and stay out for always.
With thanks to Justine.