At the end of July/beginning of August I spent two weeks lazing around Switzerland and Austria. For the first of these weeks a small group of us spent our time paddling around the Upper Rhine Valley and the the Swiss sections of the Inn around Engadine. This is an area that, although I’ve made brief sorties across the border from Austria to the Inn in the past, I have had little experience of previously.
Despite our visit being at the tail end of the paddling season we managed to tick off a quite a few rivers that I hadn’t paddled previously, including some like the Ardez Gorge that have been on my wish list for quite sometime. The highlight and surprise find of the trip for me though had to the the Landquart. We ran this several times and made it part of our journey home from Austria we enjoyed it so much. It features in the North Alps guidebook, however the river has been “naturised” and all the nasties (weirs etc…) have been removed leaving a pretty awesomely fun alpine style run.
For our second week various members of Kingfisher Canoe Club and hangers on joined at Sport Camp Tirrol in Landeck. This bolstered the size of our group to around the mid-twenties!
Splitting into various groups we managed to cover quite a few rivers this week including the Upper Oetz which I spent three hours inspecting last time I was in Austria before deciding I was too hung-over to run it. A decision it seems was wise as the river surprised me with its difficulty and claimed a few casualties, not least Seth’s boat! We ran it at quite high according to the guidebook levels and I’m quite glad we did so early in the morning; some friends returned in the afternoon and found it significantly higher and more difficult than we had.
Of course fun we’d timed our visit to Landeck to coincide with the annual Stadtfest where plenty of beer was consumed and dance moves were practices, often clearing the dance floor of other revellers who were left in awe of the visiting Brits abilities to groove to the local bands!
With this and multiple runs of old favourite like the the Sanna, lower Oetz and a return to Switzerland to Giarsun, Arsez and Schuls Gorges we left feeling like we has a pretty successful mission.