This strangest of years has seen us considering the health and well-being of ourselves, families, friends and communities like never before. And now as we tentatively emerge from lockdown, we need the mountains and the natural world more then ever to help keep us fit and happy.
Here’s an update of recent news and hopefully some inspiration to get back out there!
Let’s start with the big topic – access to walks during these days of the virus.
For about 8 weeks no one in Italy was able to leave their house other than for a priority medical appointment, to go to essential work and to buy basic groceries. And each time with a certificate justifying the time out of the house. To put it mildly this was a considerable strain. But, finally, things became a little easier.
From the 4th May, people were allowed to leave their home to go for a walk and for other forms of outside exercise, like a bike ride or a jog. There were some conditions though. For a walk you had set foot from your house, be on your own, observe social distance rules with anyone you encountered and, importantly, not leave the confines of your own comune. Though still restrictive, it was, in fact, a massive relief for many a fresh-air lover who had been cooped up for so long. And thankfully the President of Abruzzo soon replaced the comune with region for the boundaries of where we could wander and peddle.
At the beginning of June, group excursions, organised and accompanied by qualified guides, were allowed to recommence. The group size is limited to 10 plus 2 guides. This has allowed clubs like Sulmona section of the Italian Alpine Club to restart their programme of Sunday excursions (according to a strict protocol) and also private guiding to begin again.
We all hope the virus situation will continue to improve and that further relaxations will be made. We’ll post news as we hear it!
Well, we’ve been particularly busy this past couple of months – writing and publishing the new walks that we researched last summer and autumn. There are now 31 routes available for download from the catalogue on the Sulmona Valley Walks website. Check them out by clicking here!
The walks are from across the valley and across the grades – 7 easy, 15 medium and 9 difficult – something, we hope, for everyone!
With 416 km of paths and tracks now waiting for you to enjoy, we would love to hear from you about how you get on and, in particular, from anyone he gets them all done (though we won’t expect that message for a while!) You can rate and comment on the walks and let us know about any changes you might suggest to the descriptions by clicking here. We’ll keep them updated as we become aware of any changes and, I’m sure, will discover a few new ones to add…
The Sulmona Valley Loop
Our exploring and describing efforts over the last 18 months have been shared between the core Sulmona Valley Walks project and our more recent joint venture with the Sulmona section of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI Sulmona) – the Sulmona Valley Loop or l’Anello della Valle Peligna.
The Loop is a brand-new description of a long-distance walking route that completely encircles the Sulmona Valley, tracing a 133km, 6-day voyage along the crest of the enclosing skyline. It’s a wonderful adventure!
We’re really excited about the project which has seen a great deal of development effort. All of the survey and description work has now been done and we’re very happy to have recently published all the stage descriptions, in both Italian and English, for download. And whilst we intend to raise funds for the next phases of the project from the downloads, we decided to make them all free until the virus crisis is over. We need something to look forwards to and what better than some serious armchair walking!
Please take a look at our new bi-lingual website for the project which is packed full of information including galleries, overviews, maps and detailed downloadable descriptions of every stage – www.anellovallepeligna.it
I recently wrote about the project for the “Life in Abruzzo” website and you can read the article here.
“Walking in Abruzzo”
The 2nd Edition of my guidebook, “Walking in Abruzzo”, was published last year by Cicerone. It’s been well-received and is a welcome step forwards from the first edition. All of the existing walk descriptions have been updated and given new, clearer mapping. And we’ve added 10 new walks, taking us into areas that had been unknown to many.
Usually news of latest developments is posted on these pages before it is announced in a blog post on the websites or in this newsletter. It would be great if you would like and share them as it really helps to get the message out! Click on the names above to go to the pages.
‘Liking’ the l’Anello della Valle Peligna page is particularly useful to us because it’s a really good way to demonstrate the support the project has in the community when we come to make our funding applications. An easy way for you to lend a hand!
The Sulmona Valley – Probably the Best Described Walking Area in the Apennines
Thinking back on our activities of the last 12 years or so, it struck me that the Sulmona Valley must now be the best described walking area in the whole of the Apennines. We have published detailed descriptions, sketch maps and downloadable tracks of 42 days out totaling 626 km. That’s something to celebrate!
And we think that this rich resource of walking routes now has an important contribution to make in the ‘post Corona’ rebuilding of tourism in the Sulmona Valley. Sustainable, green tourism offers a fantastic opportunity to bring back old friends and to attract new visitors to our wonderful area!
Stay safe, happy walking and enjoy the summer as and when you can!