Our ancestors certainly knew a thing or two about adventure and finding ways to make the natural wonders of our world accessible to ordinary people. When we visited Scotland at Easter we climbed up the Falls of Bruar, discovering that visitors had first attempted the walk in the eighteenth century, before Robert Burns persuaded the Duke of Atholl to plant lofty pine trees to enhance its beauty for other walkers.
In Carinthia, Austria, we took a drive to Flattach, part of the Molltal Glacier region, to see the ‘Raggaschlucht‘, a magnificent gorge which first opened to visitors in 1882. What struck me was the amount of work involved in creating a trail of wooden bridges and steps, to allow people to walk the 800m (200m vertically) along the canyon. How forward-thinking were these engineers to make access possible and yet preserve the beauty of the gorge. In 1972 it became a National Monument and it’s easy to see why: it’s a breathtaking sight.
|Raggaschlucht, Carinthia, Austria|
The climb up the Raggaschlucht is only an hour’s round trip so lots of families were tackling it on yet another hot day in early August. Once on the trail it was easy to see why – the water thundering down the mountain provided a cooling spray every so often. The photos don’t do it justice: the most impressive points were also the times when I needed both hands on the ropes to pull me up the steps. Ferreting about for my camera would have held everyone up, risked water damage and, well, I just wanted to experience the exhilaration of the hike rather than constantly try and capture it on film.
It was just a little bit scary at times and the noise was deafening so it was hard to communicate. I think I would have been terrified if I’d had a young child clambering up the path with me, rather than a game teenager who was, surprisingly, as sure-footed and nimble as a goat.
|One wooden trail….one huge drop|
|The mountain goat and his father|
Once at the top we found a very welcome bench where we rested, ate our ham rolls, and congratulated ourselves on how brave we were, before watching a succession of grannies and kiddies trot by. Not unlike our experience on Pec Mountain where a similar age range of walkers, some in flipflops rather than the suggested ‘sturdy shoes’, happily overtook us on the walk.
The Raggaschlucht would have cost us 6 euros each but our Kaernten card gave us free entry.
ps: If you’re wondering why I called the post Ragga Raggaschlucht, it was our name for the gorge. For some daft reason we kept thinking of Reggae Reggae sauce….!