Walk with a view: Der Freiberg Chaerpf ...

While on the train to Canton Glarus at the weekend, I looked out of the window and rather foolishly announced to Tim that I was tiring of Alpine scenery. Beautiful it is, yes, but how the snow-capped mountains and green meadows look the same after a while. I was more enraptured with the expansive seascapes I had recently seen in Northumberland. However, as soon as we set off on our four-hour hike, I realised how ridiculous and unfounded my comments were; how foolish to try to draw comparisons.

After a bus ride from Schwanden to Chis that rattled my nerves (think road as wide as bus with trees tumbling down a sheer cliff to your side), we took a cable car up to Mettmen-Alp. There is a reservoir here (Stausee Garichti), where on Sunday the mountains were reflected perfectly. Sweeping from the shore of the reservoir was a meadow dotted with grazing cattle; the jingling of their bells echoed magically in the natural amphitheatre.

Our path laced along the valley side, gently winding ever higher. We passed a cave gurgling with ice-cold water, where we splashed our hands and then spread out on the grass to nibble dried mango before climbing higher. After a good two hours' gentle climb we reached a plateau - the Freiberg Chaerpf, the oldest wildlife protection area in Europe (it dates from 1548). Its history is honoured along the hike with sculptures by local artist Tina Hauser. Dotted with tarns and strewn with forgotten boulders, the plateau more resembled Scottish than Swiss scenery (especially as there was no hut to be seen) - until you cast your gaze higher to the vista of skyscraper Tschingerlhoerner mountains beyond (if you look closely you can see the Martinsloch - a 22x19m hole in the cliff). Streams met and parted like ribbons across this plateau, thirst-hungry silverweed and snowbells gripping to their banks.

We picknicked up here, at a place known rather humorously as 'Wildmad', before beginning our steep descent down the Chueebodenalp. There were caramel coloured cattle in the meadows here, and I was amazed at the steep path they must have climbed to reach their summer grazing ground. I was rather pestered on the way down by beetles that kept flying into my hair and gripping on - the hazards of summer. The sun beat down on us all day, leaving us with a mountain glow. Our route ended with a cable car trip from Aempaechli to Elm, where we enjoyed an ice cream before allowing our eye lids to droop on the journey home. I certainly now appreciate how all Alpine scenery is unique; how lucky I am to be able to escape on hikes such as these at the weekend.

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