Walking Holidays

Europe’s majestic mountains ~ with a genuine specialist
Organised & Self-guided Walking

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Tel. 01799 513331 - - Open Today - 9am to 5.30pmCollett's Ltd. is ABTA bonded W6883 - Travel with confidence
Organised & Self-guided Walking with a Genuine Specialist

Jon Scanlon is yet another one to succumb to the charms of the Dolomite Mountains. After holidaying in the area for many years with Collett’s and with a strong passion and hobby for history, Jon has now joined Collett’s to deliver presentations and organised walks based around World War One. With a total of four weeks at Chalet Angelo, a daily programme has been put together to ensure all of the local areas of interest have been included. A weekly repeat of walks and presentations guarantees new guests do not miss out on any of the history filled events.

Col di Lana – Click to enlarge

Jon and guest Betty heading for Col di Lana in the distance

I had met Jon during his presentation on the “Origin of the War”, completely engaged in his every word (his enthusiasm and excitement on the subject was infectious). It was his story about Col di Lana, one of the mountains heavily disturbed during the war, which caught my attention the most and so I jumped at the chance to join him on a walk to investigate it first hand. Together with guest Betty from Haus Valentin, we headed out in the glorious sunshine.

Parking up next to the Tre Sassi Forte, Jon already had plenty to tell us about what had happened here. He explained that we were standing on what was once the front line, pointing out the mountain peaks, telling us their names and who would have been defending them during the war. As we began our walk, there were plenty of trench remains in every direction; something me and Betty agreed would never have been noticed without Jon’s keen eye.

The route itself continuously offered stunning views across the land and Col di Lana could be seen in the distance. Even the Marmolada poked its head out, reminding me of said tunnels that were dug into the glacier by the Austrians – conditions we today could not imagine living in. Along the rocky path we spotted some great wildlife; a sly Marmot scurried across the grass, Ravens soured above us and Betty stopped in her tracks to let a large grass snake slither across our path. I was also amazed by the amount of flowers still standing tall at this time of the season.

Jon talking through the events on Col di Lana during World War One

Betty enjoying the views upon return to the fort

Upon reaching the mountain, Jon answered all of our questions with sincerity and detail. He explained about the large, prominent crater and how it represents an explosion from the war; an Italian attempt to gain possession of the peak from the Austrians. The events that happened here were brought to life by Jon’s description and knowledge of the subject. Although on this particular occasion we did not venture to the top, trenches can be explored on route and a chapel and many crosses can we found at the top, dedications to the countless fallen soldiers.

After a leisurely lunch overlooking the Sella Massif and Pralongia Plateau, we strolled back the way we came enjoying a different perspective of the mountains. The World War was of great discussion during the day but this didn’t prevent us from getting to know one another as we walked – something I will always appreciate about small groups such as this.

Read more about WWI walks with Collett’s here.

WWI Fort on Passo Valporola with the Col di Lana behind

In trenches at the Cinque Torre
open-air museum

Read about the Italian front in ‘The White War’ by Mark thompson – Paperback or Kindle Version.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.

Anyone who comes to the Dolomites in search of adventure is surely spoilt for choice when it comes to Via Ferrata. With 76 in the immediate area, it stands to question what makes the Brigata Tridentina so popular for our Alta Badia visitors. Walk organisers ventured out at the crack of dawn to get a feel for the Via Ferrata that receives such bright eyes and beaming smiles from our guests.

Climbers approaching the start of Via Ferrata Brigata Tridentina near Corvara in the Italian Dolomites

Upon arrival to the car park just below Passo Gardena, we were not sure how long the walk in to Tridentina would be. However, after following the well signposted ‘Via Ferrata’ for ten minutes, we caught sight of the iron wire – easy! Simultaneously a large waterfall revealed itself which attracted our eye to the iron stemples creeping up the side of the rock and out of view.

Climbing on Via Ferrata Tridentina

The view over Passo Gardena to Sassongher and Corvara

The first hour of the route changed between stemples, iron pins and exposed rock. At no point did the climbing become difficult as stemples were perfectly placed when no visible footholds could be found. As we twisted round the face and climbed higher, the waterfall continued to flow alongside us among the orange-tinged limestone. Easy, manageable hand holds were obtainable throughout which took focus away from the exposure, but having the wire present meant that it could be used if needed. Breath-taking views across Passo Gardena, Corvara, Sassongher and the Fanes National Park opened up during the second hour, encouraging frequent breaks to soak it all in.

Passo Gardena

Climbing the ferrata

A local man of an older generation confidently overtook us at a safe place, whilst exchanging a warm smile and a chirpy good morning. His self-assurance and ability to do this Via Ferrata alone supported the 3B grading that this route has; any age and ability can happily complete this route with little difficulty or skill.

A small, vertical ladder took us almost to the top before bringing to light the spectacular bridge. Balanced between two separate rock faces and supported by numerous iron wires, the bridge sits above a very large ravine from where the road below can be seen – an adrenaline filled experience in itself.

Lago Pisciadu, 2500m
Rifugio Cavazza

As we reached Rifugio Cavazza, a five minute walk once unclipped, the temptation of Lago Pisciadu was upon us. With its pristine turquoise water glistening in the sunshine, we all agreed it would be perfect for a post Via Ferrata swim before heading to the balcony for a well earned Cappuccino and strudel.

For more information on Via Ferrata with Collett’s, Click here.

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer and walker, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a walk with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.