Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Where the Wild Flowers Grow

An impromptu 17 km Sunday afternoon solo hike through the woods of the Flemish Ardennes (and neighboring Pays des Collines), in search of bluebells and other wild flowers.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-04-15: Muziekberg

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Semois: Monthermé

The second day of our weekend takes us to the French part of the Semois region (where the name of the river is spelled as Semoy). We steeply climb up to Longue Roche and enjoy the many viewpoints overlooking the town and its bend in the river Meuse.

In the afternoon we head to the picturesque site of Roc la Tour for a bit of scrambling fun.

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Semois: Rochehaut & Bouillon

After 2 months with mostly below average temperatures spring suddenly arrives in Belgium with temperatures around the 20°C mark. We head over to the Ardennes for the weekend and spend the first day on a 18 km hike through and around the Semois river valley, from the village of Rochehaut to Tombeau du Géant and back.

The warm temperatures are in strange contrast to the trees, which have not sprouted one bit yet and still look the same as in the dead of winter.

We spend the night in the town of Bouillon, close to its citadel. The latter was first mentioned in 988 AD and was once owned by Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade.

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Loonse en Drunense Duinen

Pictures of a beautiful 19 km solo hike through the inland sands and woods of the “Loonse en Drunense Duinen” national park, just north of the Dutch city of Tilburg.

The park measures approximately 35 km2 and exhibits an extensive sandplain subject to windborne dynamics. Outside of coastal regions, Europe has only few places where such phenomena can be observed.

Pictures > Netherlands 2018-03-31: Loonse en Drunense Duinen

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LLT: Villers-la-Ville

Some days have it all: great weather, fine company, excellent hiking, beautiful scenery, surprising encounters, and a culture-historical visit of high standard.

Now that spring is officially upon us, I join the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) on a lovely hike through a variety of landscapes around the ruins of the old Cistercian abbey of Villers-la-Ville, founded in 1146 AD.

The hike includes a number of surprises: first of all, we are lucky to enjoy some unexpected nice weather, and secondly the valley of the Ry d’Hez creek seems to have been professionally remodelled by a family of beaver that recently moved into the area. The terrain is hence challenging and requires a bit of acrobacy…

I conclude the day in style by paying a visit to the impressive ruins of the old abbey, which after many centuries of prosperity was finally abandoned in 1796 AD.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-03-23: Villers-la-Ville

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