Monday, 30 January 2012

A hike through Western Europe: The route

Right now I am planning the longest continouos hiking trip I have ever done: Inspired by a book by Nicholas Crane called "Clear waters rising" I want to hike across the whole length of Europe from West to East, a hike of about 10,000 km. Nicholas Crane hiked from Cabo Finisterre to Istanbul across the three big European mountain ranges Pyrenees, Alps and Carpathian mountains. But he was not an experienced ultralight hiker and miscalculated his route: He ended up in the Alps in winter and had to detour a lot to lower altitudes.

I want to avoid Crane's mistakes and decided to hike in 2 seasons: I will start with Western Europe one year and hike Eastern Europe another year splitting the route into two 5,000 km trips. But even with this trick it turned out to be very difficult to hike the whole length of the Alps and Pyrenees in one season: You cannot really start hiking in high alpine terrain before mid June and the season finishes already by end of September. I therefore decided to skip the Alps (which merit a trip alone anyways) and concentrate on an interesting route for the rest of trip incorporating the whole length of the Pyrenees. I also decided to hike from East to West one year and starting at the same point the other year but hiking East then. And because the map situation for Eastern Europe is still a bit dire I decided to start hiking in Western Europe - the longer I wait the more maps and information will be available for Eastern Europe.

Although I am still working on the details of my route this is already a rough outline linking together existing long-distance trails in Germany, France and Spain. My emphasis is on creating an interesting and very varied route visiting areas I have not hiked in before. And of course this being Europe and want to incorporate some cultural sightseeing once in a while. I will start in Altenberg at the German/Czech border and finish in Cabo Finisterre, the "end of the world".
  • Kammweg Erzgebirge: a new Premium German long-distance trail: 286 km
  • Rennsteig: the oldest German long-distance trail finishing in Eisenach: 168 km
  • Elisabethpfad: a pilgrimage trail honouring St. Elisabeth: 167 km
  • Lahn-Dill-Bergland-Pfad: 83 km
  • Westerwaldsteig: 241 km
  • Rheinhoehenweg und Ahr-Venn-Weg: to cross from the Rhine to the Eifel: 91 km
  • Eifelsteig: home of the famous Eifel crime thrillers: 228 km
  • Saar-Hunsruecksteig: 66 km
  • Saarlandrundweg: 66 km
  • Pfalz: a short stretch on a pilgrimage trail and some free style: 75 km
  • GR 53: through the Vosges: 126 km
  • GR 5: through the Jura: 486 km
  • GR 9: from Geneve to Grenoble: 283 km
  • GR 91: through the Vercors: 204 km
  • GR 4: an old friend I have already hiked: 127 km
  • GR 44 and GR 72: into the Cevennes: 44 km
  • GR 7: from the Cevennes to Languedoc: 266 km
  • GR 36: from Languedoc to the Pyrenees via Carcasonne: 301 km
  • GR 11: the whole length of the Pyrenees: 591 km
  • Camino del Norte: a less travelled alternative to the Camino Frances: 475 km
  • Camino Primitivo: a "wild" camino alternative: 373 km
  • Cabo Finisterre: The grand finale from Santiago to Finisterre: 90 km
  • Total distance: 4.837 km


Anonymous said...

Sehr cooles Blog!!!!

Anonymous said...

What a plan! I think to create a project of this scale a lot of discipline and a methodological approach are necessary. And for sure, you have those skills!


Anonymous said...

Gl├╝ckwunsch zum neuen Layout. 10 x besser.


Anonymous said...

Ah - that new layout looks very nice and clear!
Well done!
Happy Trails