Monthly Archives: August 2016

Thank you!

It’s finished! After 115 days on the move, I reached the place where I started 14 months ago. It has been a fantastic adventure and a unique experience.

A big thank you to all those who have followed my progress on this site, who have encouraged me and have written comments. Your messages were greatly appreciated and gave me much pleasure.

This will probably be my last blog.  There will be a few more photos and I will update certain pages.

The future?  I have a lot of photos, from different people, which will need arranging and sorting to select the best ones; there will certainly be some lectures to be given.

Finally, I intend to write a book about my adventures!

The last day – circuit of the Swiss border finished!

August 6th

Itinerary:  Customs post Riehen-Grenzacherstrasse – “Eiserne Hand” – customs post Riehen – customs post Hiltalingerstrasse

Distance:  27,4 km, on foot
Time:  6 hours 10 minutes (plus 30 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  660 m uphill, 680 m downhill

It was still necessary to go round the border north of the Rhine between Basle Town (canton Basel Stadt) and Germany, to finish the circuit of the Swiss border.  I left a little after 8 a.m. with Christoph Brändle and Urs Scholer, originally from Basle, a former colleague and a good friend.  The day would be beautiful and sunny but there was still morning fog in the Rhine valley.

We were soon in the forest going up the Grenzacher Horn and I chose the wrong path from the multitude of paths that crisscrossed in the forest, which cost us some precious time.  We passed St. Chrischona and crossed the valley between Riehen and Inzlingen, to reach the Maienbühl farm.  This marks the beginning of the “Eiserne Hand”, part of Switzerland which juts into Germany for more than 2 kilometres like a finger or a spear, all in the forest, often with muddy paths.  It took a good 45 minutes to walk round this “promontory”, only in the end to reach a place just 200 meters behind the same farm.

At the customs post at Riehen we were joined by Natalie, my younger daughter, her husband Andrew and two of their three children, Léo, 12, and Tessa, 7, who would walk the last kilometres with us.  So the seven of us go up into the vineyards of Schlipf, the only vineyards in the canton of Basle Town.  Difficult because of the steep slope and many houses and private roads.  But we soon come down to hike along a river called Wiese, to pass under the railway line and the motorway near the customs post at Otterbach and eventually emerge at the Hiltalingerstrasse customs post and commercial harbour, where I started my journey on June 5, 2015.  We are welcomed by Sally, Elke (Christoph’s wife), Inès (Natalie’s eldest daughter) and my brother Walter, who came especially from Vienna for the occasion.

This was not the right place to celebrate the end of the circuit; so the others went by car to the Dreiländereck, more suitable for the celebrations.  I only had to get into the kayak, wait until everything was ready on the other side of the water and then paddle the 200 m that separated me from the Dreiländereck, where about thirty friends and relations were waiting for me.  Champagne, etc!

Later, most of the party would finish the celebrations at Restaurant Schiff in Kleinhüningen.


1. Urs and Christoph near Inzlingen
2. Boundary stone dated 1600, crest of the bishopric of Basle
3. Boundary stone dated 1700, crest of the nobles of Schönau
4. The vineyard of Schlipf, Lörrach behind

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The last 6 kilometres – video by Natalie Roschnik

The last leg to Basle

August 4th

Itinerary, part 1:  Laufenburg – Stein AG – Wallbach – Rheinfelden power plant

Distance: 27,7 km, by bicycle
Time:  2 hours (plus 10 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  50 m uphill, 80 m downhill

Part 2:  Rheinfelden power plant – Kaiseraugst (Augst-Wyhlen power plant) boundary on the Rhine below customs post Grenzach

Distance:  16,5 km, by kayak, including some 400 m portage
Time:  1 hour 50 minutes (plus 15 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  10 m downhill

A nice sunny day, with clouds building up later in the afternoon.  I left Laufenburg – which has a most interesting history – at 9.15 on the bicycle.  Quite some up and down short flights of steps on the footpath close to the river.  After the Laufenburg power station, this turned into a level path and later a good cycle track.  There were one or two cyclists and one large group of walkers.  At Bad Säckingen there is the longest covered wooden bridge in Europe (we were told yesterday), about 200 m long, see photos.  After Wallbach, there were good forest roads in woodland.  I finally reached the Rheinfelden power station where Sally was waiting for me. I switched to the kayak; the bicycle went on the car.

A pleasant ride down the river to Kaiseraugst, where there is a lock for larger boats but nothing for small ones. I had to land at the campsite/swimming pool, where Sally met me and we had a snack.  Then a longish portage (on a tarred road, with wheels on the kayak) and into the river again.  The last section was less pleasant – strong headwind, almost no current, and many industrial buildings and wharfs on the Swiss side (coal being unloaded, for example) and chemical smells.  I reached the frontier at Grenzach, landed at the Basle Rowing Club jetty (deserted) and hauled the kayak up to the main road.  Then I had an hour to wait – Sally had taken a wrong turning somewhere and then got caught in queues of cross-frontier commuters.

We drove back again to a small hotel on the German side of Laufenburg where we had decided to spend a second night. Good Chinese food in an almost empty restaurant.


1. and 2. The covered bridge between Stein AG and Bad Säckingen (Germany)
3. Leaving Rheinfelden power station
4. Storks at Kaiseraugst

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A day by kayak

August 3rd

Itinerary: Eglisau (Rheinsfelden) power plant – Laufenburg

Distance: 41.9 km, all by kayak but 2 portages of about 200 m (Reckingen and Leibstadt power plants)
Time: 5 hours (plus 1 hour 10 minutes for stops)
Vertical distance: 30 m downhill

After a night in the small historic town of Kaiserstuhl, Sally and I drive a few kilometres upstream to the power plant in Rheinsfelden. Getting down to the river was a little tricky, over a very stony ramp, but in the end we are able to put the one-seater kayak in the water and I can set off. 4 km further down the river, Sally is waiting on the road bridge at Kaiserstuhl to take photos. Sally also met me at both portages with a snack and a drink, and again at the end of the day’s trip.

Cloudy at the beginning, the day, the weather became progressively sunnier. River descent without incident, the current varied between 2-3 km/h and a maximum of 12 km/h (measured with the GPS). Many small eddies where the water wells up to the surface, not dangerous, but making it more difficult to keep a straight course.  At one point a notice board surprised me by announcing some rapids (which were not to be seen on the satellite photos) – well, there were some higher waves but all went well. For a few kilometres there was an unpleasant headwind, especially before Leibstadt. Otherwise it was a beautiful day that I really enjoyed.

At the Reckingen portage, there were 2 carts for transporting small boats, where we had to put a coin in a slot to release it, just like for supermarket trolleys. Very useful!


1.  Setting off at Rheinsfelden
2.  Bridge at Kaiserstuhl and Burg Rotwasserstelz (on German side)
3.  Old WW2 bunker (on Swiss side, one of many)
4.  Arriving at Laufenburg

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