It was another damp, grey day with fine rain. I could not see the mountains. Had they just been a figment of my imagination?
By 11 o’clock there was no sign of the rain easing so we put on our waterproofs and set out for a walk in the Karwendel National Park. Our plan was to walk up the Faltfurnfal valley as far as the Falzturn Alpengasthaus.
At the entrance to the National Park there was lots of flags and posters. What was going on? It was the Karwedelmarsch, a 52 km event for runners and Nordic walkers. The event starts at Scharnitz and follows the E4 alpin route. The highest point was at Binssattel (1903 m) and the total height ascended was 2281 metres. Not for the faint hearted.
The final section was along the Faltfurnfal valley along which we were walking. We could see the leaders coming towards us and we cheered and shouted encouragement.
The way was along the cycle track but judging by the mud on some of the runners legs they had met some more difficult conditions.
3 km to go and its downhill all the way
After just over 4 km we came to the Falzturn Alpengasthaus. Outside there was a feeding station but that was for the competitors not for us. We went inside and had a nice hot cup of coffee, we needed to get warm.
The winner was expected to complete the course in just under four and a half hours, an incredible feat.
We enjoyed our coffee and then set out on the long walk back to Pertisau.
It was now just a fine drizzle so I began searching for some flowers.
There was plenty of Grass of Parnasus looking very beautiful with the rain drops on the petals.
I spotted some yellow flowers that I thought might be Monkshood or Wolfsbane but I could not get close enough for a decent photo and it was in deep shade.
I did not want to pick any because :-
a) it is a protected species
b) It is highly poisonous.
A few hundred yards further on I spotted the blue/purple variety and this time I could get close up to it. I am pretty certain that it is Monk’s-hood, aconitum napellus. If I am wrong please let me know.
It is one of the most poisonous plant species and ingesting just 1 – 2 g could prove fatal. Initial symptoms are nausea and diarrhoea. Death occurs during intensely painful fits due to cardiac arrest and paralysis of the respiratory organs. Poisoning can occur just by picking the leaves and you are advised to wear rubber gloves when touching the plant.
Toxins from the plant were historically used to kill wolves, hence the plants alternative name – Wolfs bane.
Despite this Aconite has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It has often been used as a poison. The Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned by his wife and in 2009 Lakhvir Singh, known as the ‘Curry Killer’ killed her husband with a dish of curry laced with Indian Aconite.
I kept my distance, about 5 cm, and got my photos.
A couple of hours later we were nearly back but then I was off again. Where’s he going thought Jean, but I had spotted some fungi.
We went down to the village to watch the stragglers coming in, some of them looking very weary. It 18.00, 12 hours after the start competitors were still coming in.
Later that evening we went to Langlaufstubert for a Tyrolean evening. All oomph pa ap music and folk dancing. Not really my scene. At one point they did a dance and played a tune on Cow Bells. My ears are still ringing.
The plus point was that Langlaufstubert is where they brew the local Achensee Bier, slightly hoppy, bright and fresh – beautiful.
I have found out that you can do a tour of the brewery and taste the beer. I must go back.