Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

Never having been a great one for sport and exercise, and having given up long walks around golf courses when I moved to Switzerland, my legs aren’t up to the challenge of big mountain walks. My knees are a bit of a weak point, and a long walk in the mountains often ends in a reasonable amount of pain; in particular if there’s a lot of downhill walking. Climbing doesn’t appeal either, as I don’t have a massive amount of strength in my fingers either.

I know: the argument is that were I to put more effort in, then the strength in both areas would improve. That’s why I’m determined to keep on with more arduous walking, so that my legs gain strength and hopefully – even if they don’t get any better – don’t get any worse.

We’ve only been up to Gantrisch region, a mountain area near Thun, a couple of times. Last time we were there, we walked a little way along a fairly easy-going path leading up from the car park on the Wasserscheide (watershed). From the farm buildings at Obernünenen, we saw that the path continues up into the higher peaks and set a goal for our next visit to walk up to the Leiterenpass.

We visited this past weekend and as it turned out, the “pass” isn’t much more than a small man-made cleft in the rocks of the “saddle” between the peaks of the Gantrisch and Nünenenfluh. We continued around the Nünenenfluh to dramatic and wide-ranging views of the Stockhorn and the Chesseltal valley, before crossing back into the northern part of the chain of mountains by way of the small path leading over the Schwalmeren ridge.

From there, I bound my knee up with a sports support and found that it helped tremendously; although I could still feel a little pain when we got home that evening, I was able to continue the couple of miles back to the car with no problem at all. I’m glad that the support is helping me to continue on mountain walks: although I am resigned to the fact that I’m probably going to stick to easier routes, the effort is well worth it, in order to see such wonderful views and gain a sense of real achievement… for someone who swore off “proper exercise” for so many years.

One response to “A little effort is worth it”

  1. habi avatar

    Beautyful photos!
    I’ve seen that not hiking down helps greatly with avoiding knee pain. It might be more difficult due to reliance on public transport, but hiking from the Leiterenpass up to the Stockhorn peak is very pretty and generally flat or uphill. Then you can take the cable car down from the Stockhorn back to civilisation :)

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