With the exception of two 12 day trips to Spain and three 48 hour visits back to the UK for minor surgery (and follow up) on my left eye, I consider myself immensely fortunate to have spent most of the period from mid June to mid November this year based in the Swiss Alps.
For over twenty years our family has owned an apartment in the famous car free mountain village of Mürren which is only accessible by cable car or mountain railway, and I am indeed grateful to have a home high in such a spectacular location high in the mountains and facing the three spectacular giants that are synonymous with the Bernese Alps – the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. This is without doubt my favourite part of the world and, after just a few days back in the UK, I miss it already and am looking forward to my return next year and the hikes that I already have planned for 2019.
The mountain scenery of the Swiss Alps is almost without comparison – for me the high Himalaya of the Everest region and the Swiss Alps display the most magnificent and spectacular mountain scenery on the planet. And I never ever take it for granted that I can leave the back entrance of our apartment building and, within minutes, be on a deserted trail and totally immersed in a world of Alpine pastures, valleys and peaks.
This year I managed to complete over 40 hikes ranging from two hours to over 10 hours in duration and, as well as hiking in my beloved Bernese Oberland, I also hiked in the Central Swiss Alps, the Valais and in the French Alps, close to Mt Blanc.
As one gets older, it seems the trails get steeper and more exposed each year, but the reality is that I am in denial about getting older and will not accept that I am heavier, slower and less steady on my feet! However at least the magnificent scenery remains the same albeit with the glaciers in retreat.
What follows is a selection of images I took of a range of Alpine panoramas that unfolded before me as I wandered along a variety of trails in the Alps this year and, at risk of appearing to be sacrilegious in the eyes of traditional photographers, can I admit that although I had a Rangefinder camera with me, every image that follows was taken by……………..an iphone 7+ which is far from the latest of these wonderful devices.
It was not so many years ago that Landscape and Panorama photography required specialist equipment and/or a revolving tripod and indeed, in our apartment in Mürren, I have a book written not so long ago on Panorama Photography. And now, even before I have had time to read it, much of it is out of date, because as long as one understand the basics of composition, 95% of what once required specialist equipment, now just requires a Smartphone and an understanding of how to use it!
It is indeed a rapidly changing world!
I hope you enjoy the images that follow!
And please let me know if you are ever near the Swiss Alps and fancy some easy walking amidst some breathtaking scenery!
NB All the images are in the Swiss Alps unless described otherwise.
Mürren is located on a small shelf high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley and can only be accessed by Cable Car and Mountain Railway.
The Blumental Valley is just a 15-20 minute walk away above Mürren.
The Schilthorn is forever associated with James Bond (‘On her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was filmed here) and offers spectacular views in every direction.
West of Mürren: The Rotstock Hut The Rotstock Hut is a popular overnight stop both for hikers on the Alpine Pass Route that traverses Switzerland prior to crossing the Sefinenfurgge (Pass) and also for those planning to ascend the Schilthorn. It is about a two hour and 30 minute hike from Mürren.
The Sefinental and Tanzbodoli The route from Mürren to Obersteinberg in the upper Lauterbrunnen Valley via Tanzbodoli is one of my favourite hikes. So much so that I have completed this long day 18 times in the past 25 years!
The Upper Lauterbrunnen Valley is my favourite hiking destination in the Alps.
Ballehochst and the Saxettal Valley is located between Mürren and the main town of Interlaken.
The Jungfraujoch is the location for Europe’s highest ( and most expensive!) Railway station.
Haslital. The Haslital, east of Meiringen, is an area I have always been keen to explore further and this year I managed several hikes in the area.
The Gelmersee is worth a visit if for no other reason than to experience the Gelmerbahn – a rail link that is steeper than a Roller Coaster.
The Goschenertal (Central Swiss Alps).
Elsewhere in Switzerland.
Above the Chamonix Valley, France.
Autumn: To the North of Mürren I try and walk in this area at least once a week when I am in Mürren as it is so close and accessible.
Autumn: The Schiltall The Schiltall below the Schilthorn is the other area I try and hike to every week as it is only an hours walk away.