We're on the move! Alpine Exploratory exists as a system for exploration, systematised yet thoroughly human. This is the Exploratory system. For the moment we apply ourselves to the Alps, Norway and the UK. Here we sketch ideas for our next 3 years.
The Exploratory system
Tour de Vanoise (First season Summer 2020)
In the French Alps we have been conscious for a while that the Tour du Mont Blanc is barely an introduction to the walking. Our visit to Pralognan revealed a fun French town as a base. The Vanoise national park extends to Tignes and Val d'Isere which we know well, Lucy having spent a season running a chalet. Lucy will be exploring the Tour de Vanoise in 2019.
Norway (First season Summer 2020)
As a third Norwegian area, allied to the Rondane and the Jotunheimen, we will look further at Oppdal as a base for trekking in the Dovrefjell national park. We are keen to trek the Hardangervida as well, starting from Finse, the highest point on the scenic Oslo-Bergen train line.
Hebrides (First season Summer 2020)
Suze and Steph have covered the Hebridean Way during late Summer 2018. We have aspects still to see; Pete will trek the route in early 2019 and our aim is to offer the full route for 2020. We are excited to add the particularly coastal Hebridean landscape to our schedule. This is the chain of islands off the North West coast of Scotland, the main town of which is Stornoway. Travel is exciting in its own right, involving a ferry from Oban to Barra and then from Stornoway to Ullapool.
The high hills of South Uist from the Hebridean Way
Kungsleden (First season Summer 2020)
This is the long-distance trail in the very North of Sweden. In April, Ollie skiied from Abikso to Singi and in Summer both Pete and Simon will be trekking parts. Accommodation on this trail is similar to that on many Norwegian trails, in self-catering cabins but with a warden. We will start with the Northern section and use Kiruna as a base town. This is an exciting plan for us and, if successful, marks a broadening of our Scandinavian side.
Preparing for the Kungsleden
The train links in Austria allow all kinds of cross-country adventure. To add to options post-Adlerweg or post-AV1 we plan to link Innsbruck and Salzburg to the smaller Austrian city of Klagenfurt. This will be a return to Klagenfurt after many years; on our first trip to Slovenia we entered by train through Klagenfurt and Villach.
The aim is to complete our train links a full 360 degrees around the Alps: from Grenoble to Nice and then Nice to Turin being key to the ongoing French Alps coverage. In Northern Italy we have travel urges to satisfy from Milan to Treviso and Venice.
Munich to Venice (First season Summer 2021)
2020 will be the time to link Innsbruck and Dobbiaco: one Austrian mountain city, one Austro-Italian mountain resort. Why the link? This is the Munchen-Venedig, or Munich to Venice. In Germany it's a big trek, a natural link over the mountains. The full Munich to Venice will be 4 weeks long, of which the third week is our existing AV1. The second week is this Innsbruck to Dobbiaco link. We have a route in mind and it combines with the Zillertal area outside Mayrhofen.
(Experience the crossing of the Alps a little faster by taking our Alta Via 1, flying into Munich and out of Venice. Take the train Munich to Dobbiaco, then trek the AV1, and take the bus Belluno to Venice.)
In the Zillertal at the Austro-Italian border
Affric-Kintail Way (First season Summer 2021)
In Scotland our plan is to trek the stages of the Affric-Kintail way that would form the link with our Great Glen Way. This allows a short week's trek from Inverness to the West Coast, emerging from the wild hills at Shiel Bridge.
Norway (First Season Summer 2021)
We will be in Norway again in 2020 as we continue to cover the country. The DNT maintains over 500 huts and we have a few to go! Our eyes are on the Lofoten islands in the North of Norway. Not every spectacular region is a natural fit for our trekking approach, but we shall see.
As part of our Alta Via 1 service we intend to see Verona and Vicenza, two Italian cities in between Milan and Venice on the plain of the Po. We'll be seeking Verona flights to add to our travel advice for the AV1. (Venice is the AV1's main airport).
We will be back in Vienna, a treat after the Adlerweg or Zillertal. Also, in Switzerland, Bern is a favourite of ours for its laid-back atmosphere and setting on the river.
In Switzerland our Alpine Pass Route explorations will see us covering many of the train lines South and North of the route.. towards Milan and Zurich respectively. We started in 2016 and loved it! Pop through the mountains and emerge in Italy, or the Italian-speaking Swiss Canton of Ticino. We'll finish these linkages so that we can advise on all the ways to the Alpine Pass Route.
To the East of Ljubljana is Maribor, also curiously easy to reach from Graz in Austria. A medium as opposed to large city can be perfect after a trek.
In the Scottish Highlands we continue to look beyond the better-known valleys to the quiet places. Among the team our knowledge of the Scottish hills (three Munro rounds, one Corbett round and counting) is making us think about our services off the beaten track.
We are close to a comprehensive coverage of the travel routes to our major treks... there are several viable routes to each one. The intention is to finalise these around 2021 having spread ourselves across the most important ways to every trek. For example, Turin is a good option for the TMB.
New for 2019
We are delighted to add these new trips for 2019:
New cities in our Travel Notes
As distinct from these explorations of new areas, please see our separate page on recces: these are our regular updates on current trips:
Ways to keep up to date
Photos from trips
After our research trips we make a page of photos, and this has become our blog.
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