A Walk in the Black Forest : Walking the Westweg
Dave Williams and Jeff Lock
This is the story of how I walked the Westweg with my good pal Dave Williams. The walk was undertaken in two sections:
- the northern half in June 2007 in cold, wet and grey conditions
- the southern half in June 2015 under blue sunny skies with high temperatures.
The Westweg is one of the oldest walking trails in Europe founded around 1900. It is 285 km long and runs along the spine of the Black Forest which is a heavily forested mountain range roughly 100 miles long and 50 miles wide in the state of Baden-Wurtembourg in south western Germany. The trail starts in the north at the town of Pforzheim and finishes at the Swiss city of Basel which lies on the bank of the River Rhine just over the German border. The highest point in the Schwarzwald is Felberg at 1,493 metres (4,898 ft) but there are also many other summits which exceed the 1,000 meter mark.
Why the Westweg ?
I have enjoyed many holidays in Germany, particularly in the foothills of the Black Forest. I first visited the area in 1966 to play football in the town of Ettenheim near Freiburg. I was lucky enough to make lifelong friends with the Ullrich family and I still return to Ettenheim to see them. During trips into the hills and countryside I walked many mountain trails and was always attracted by the idea of tackling a full traverse of the Black Forest. All I needed was the time to do it and a willing companion.
Why a Gap of 8 Years Between Sections ?
Undertaking an independent foreign walking trip takes a lot of planning and the intervening years were simply full of other walking and cycling adventures. In particular between 2008 and 2012, with my wife Gillian, I walked the pilgrimage route from Burgundy to Santiago de Compostella.
My Friend Dave
Dave Williams and I met in 1995 when we were both members of a Rambler's Holidays group tackling the Tour Du Mont Blanc. Since then we have undertaken hundreds of walks together. Dave lives in East London and is a member of the Long Distance Walkers Association.