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 1pmCollett'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.

Due to a recent high level of interest from our guests, organisers from Chalet Haus Valentin made sure that a walk through the WW1 tunnels was on offer this week.

Upon arrival to the car park, the 30 minute zig-zag route alongside Lagazuoi, which leads to the entrance of the tunnels, could be seen. We made our way up the gravel track as views opened up over the Marmolada and surrounding mountain peaks. Getting geared up for the adventure ahead sent excitement through the group as everybody checked that torches were working and helmets were on sturdy. Ready and raring to go, organiser Alice lead the guests into the tunnels where the cooling air made for a nice break from the 20⁰+ temperatures outside.

Start of the Lagazuoi tunnels

Evacuation points offer fantastic views of surrounding mountains and provide sufficient natural light inside the tunnel system.

Almost instantly the conditions of WW1 came to life as we carefully walked through what was once home to many soldiers. Sections of Via Ferrata cable are still being used to guide your way around open ledges leading to look-out posts and ammunition stations. After a quick look, we headed back inside to begin climbing the many steps that reach some 600m to the top of Lagazuoi.

During our ascent, guests enjoyed sticking their heads out of the ‘evacuation’ points (for disposal of rubble and rock during construction) which could be found every 50m or so. Information plaques have been placed periodically at points of interest, many of which have been quoted from soldiers’ diaries; this was made more dramatic as our guests took it in turns to read them aloud to the group.

The last ten minute stretch took us through original trenches, accentuated by the presence of barbed wire.

A much appreciated break from the many steps to the top

A sense of dissapointment radiated through everybody as we made our way out of the tunnel. A dramatic back drop of peaks against Rifugio Lagazuoi created a perfect spot for a snack as comments were passed back and forth about how fantastic it is to enjoy such an important part of history for free.

Investigating the tunnels on Lagazuoi
The Lagazuoi Cable Car at Passo Falzarego

Plenty of people gathered at the Rifugio as our guests found a nice, quiet spot overlooking the beautiful landscape to enjoy their lunch. With some more time to spare we meandered over to the cross which sits at the official highest point of the mountain and is a fantastic spot to take some time to absorb the surroundings. With only one thing left to do, we all hopped on to what has to be one of the steepest cable cars in the Dolomite Mountain range, practically dropping us to the door of the car – a wonderful end to such a pleasant day walking and exploring with our wonderful guests.

Rifugio Lagazuoi on the Falzarego Pass
Cinque Torre open air museum opposite Passo Falzarego & Lagazuoi

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.