Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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LLT: Borinage

18.5 km with the Lustige Lochtingterters (LLT) through the Borinage region in the province of Hainaut: old mining communities and wooded terrils. The region used to be bustling with activity during the haydays of the coal mining industry, but since the last of the mines were closed in the 1960’s, decline has set in. At this moment the region has the highest unemployment rate in Belgium, and many houses and buildings are in a deplorable state.

The weather is pretty lousy throughout the entire day, with bad visibility, rainfall and relatively low temperatures. At lunch-time we erect a temporary shelter to escape the worst of the rain, and towards the end of the day we reach the UNESCO-listed industrial site of Grand-Hornu.

Due to the bad weather I leave my DSLR camera in the trunk of the car, and shoot a number of low quality cell phone pictures instead.

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LLT: De Wijers

A 21.5 km hike with the Lustige Lochtingterters (LLT) through De Wijers, around the open air museum of Bokrijk. Quite a bit of variety with stretches of heath, forests, ponds, mushrooms, sightings of bird species (heron, great egret, buzzard, …) and beautiful autumn colors.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-10-27: De Wijers

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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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LLT: Moerbeke

A 18 km hike with the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) through the “Heidebos” nature reserve nearby the Flemish village of Moerbeke-Waas. “Heidebos” is made up of a mixture of pine and deciduous forest, and open spaces with grass and heath.

The day has a frosty start, but is perfectly sunny and generally pleasant, especially at locations that are sheltered from the bitterly cold northeasterly wind.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-02-24: Moerbeke

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LLT: Berlare

The first “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) hike of the year leads through a well-known wetland area in the Flemish community of Berlare that is a remnant of an old meander of the river Scheldt. The area is made up of the “Donk” lake and the “Berlarebroek” ponds and marshes.

Most days at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 are dark and gloomy, and unfortunately the weather during our hike is no different. However, the 20 km walk is still quite enjoyable.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-01-27: Berlare

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LLT: Parkbos Gent

The last “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) hike of the year takes us to my own “backyard”, i.e. Parkbos Gent, Westerplas and the village of Sint-Martens-Latem. Conditions couldn’t possibly be better to offer us a true LLT experience thanks to intense downpours of rain, flooded trails, slippery duckboards, remains of snow and ice, mud and low temperatures …

One of the members of the group is celebrating his 80th birthday and to everyone’s surprise he manages to walk the entire 20+ km without issues.

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-16: Parkbos Gent

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