Day 6 -
The last day, lots of us were packed already in the evening and so by morning, after breakfast, the train was already filled with Exeter students. My friend Jack and I had decided on a later flight though, so we could enjoy the area for at least another morning. Luckily the hostel and lecturers were kind enough to let us keep our travel passes for the extra bit, although we didn’t end up using them. We walked along the valley, with the intention of coming around the mountain and walking back along to St Morits and catching the train from there. We quickly discovered our pacing wasn’t up to it. Instead, we decided on a more leisurely stroll, paying closer detail to the wonderful topography and biodiversity of the region.
We had watched loads of red squirrels, butterflies and frogs down by the water of a glacial river and were also treated to some traditional farming methods. Some quite happy looking cows with large bells around their necks grazing in a lush green pasture. We certainly heard them before we saw them -- as is the idea of the bells – to be used to locate the cows up in the alpine pastures. Aside from them, there were no large mammals on this walk.
But, it was a lovely day and while having lunch by the river further up the valley, a dash of brown made its way upstream. A quite frantic looking dipper, hopping into the water and then onto the erratic boulders jutting from the water. I suppose I would be looking quite frantic as well if I had to swim in water that cold!
We made it about half way up the valley before heading back to meet our train to Zurich but not without another little surprise. Some suspicious noise in the undergrowth and “peeping” sound from beneath a tree uncovered a pair of nesting willow tits. A few minutes of watching them and we were back on the trail to pick up or things, and were soon on the train on our way back to England.
I express my utmost gratitude to everyone I met and took part in the organisation of the trip. And thank you to the University of Exeter and the wonderful Lecturers and staff who made our field course such a fantastic experience!