At the top of Belgium
by JohnJoe » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:50 pm
Date walked: 10/12/2011Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
After 5 long hours trundling along on Belgian trams, trains and buses, I finally arrived. The bus stop is conveniently situated, er, on the summit, which meant for once I had accomplished my mission without even trying. However, I didn't fancy jumping straight back on to the public transport system, so after a non-conversation in German and a very poor one in French, I took the advice of the woman behind the info desk and set off for a walk through the national park. "Trois heures", she said. "C'est bon".
So off I went along a dead straight, flat track through a seemingly endless man-made plantation. God I love Scotland, I thought. After almost an hour I finally changed direction slightly and then went off along a path through the woods. Given the amount of signs and warnings detailing the rules of the park and what you cannot do there, leaving the main trail made me feel slightly criminal.
I soon returned to the marked path and continued along the assortment of tracks though plantations and boardwalks through bogs until I arrived back at the 'summit' (number 394 bus stop). I had brought my stuff for camping out, but when I realised this would mean spending 14 hours alone in the freezing darkness followed by a 6 hour wait until the first bus, I decided against it. I made a final push to the trig point - which stands at a whopping 700 meters above sea level - and just stood there taking in the view before I dragged myself away and went to the cafe to sink three nice Belgian beers whilst waiting for the bus.
by Graeme D » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:35 pm
by JohnJoe » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:31 am
But I don't want 'nice'. I want wild and rugged and remote and borderline dangerous!
JohnJoe wrote:The bus stop is conveniently situated, er, on the summit
I once went camping in the Ardennes forest. It was a nice spot with good facilites including a swimming pool. We had plans to do some walking in the forest and also visit four countries in one day - France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany - as the Ardennes lies on the intersection of these four. Unfortunately it was torrential rain the whole time so we packed up and left early. Never saw much of Belgium so I enjoyed looking at your photos
by Belgian_Hiker » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:38 am
There are 'good' areas in the Ardennes with a little more high difference, Bouillion area for example:
Sadly it's forest everywhere though and the regular middle of the night wake up of wild boars around your tent.
At least we can escape to Scotland to keep our sanity
by JohnJoe » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:26 pm
I'll have to conquer those Danish peaks some time too
JohnJoe wrote:I think I'll try La Roche en Ardennes next time
Funny, I'm sure the place we stayed in was called La Roche. It was a good few years ago and i dont remember much of it, (apart from the rain) but I do know it was very popular with the Europeans we met. they all went camping there every year and spent their time walking and cycling in the forest. i will rummage around for the photos and if I find them will post them here. i dont know about wild camping, we paid to stay at a campsite run by Eurocamp - well worth the money
by Belgian_Hiker » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:50 pm
by JohnJoe » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:38 pm
I think my Eurocamp days are over - too many screaming kids (although I can't really complain - I was one of them once)
by icemandan » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:49 pm
by Belgian_Hiker » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:39 am
PM me if you would like a few more suggestions.
by malky_c » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:48 pm
I liked the bit where you drank the beer though
by StevenF » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:18 pm
The "hill" is Signal de Botrange", it's more a blob on a plateau.
If you want a walk with a lot of height difference in Belgium you can walk along the GR AE from Bouillon to Vresse. It is 34 km and 1500m of ascent. I still have to do it, so if any Belgian walkers are interested maybe there is a possibility of doing it together?
by Belgian_Hiker » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:44 am
I did a route starting in Bouillion a few weeks ago, routing via Botassart, Ucimont, the 'les eschelles' route with the steel ladders before Rochaute, Fraham, Poupehan, Corbion and back to Bouillion. About 28km with just under 2000m ascent. The picture above (DSCN1106-800) was taken on the 'les eschelles' route.
PM me your email address and I'll send you the gpx file.
I'm happy to join in if a few others want to go on a hike somewhere in Belgium. All year round, any weather is fine for me.