A 22 km hike from the village of Esneux up to the top of La Roche aux Fochons.
After a few Saturdays enjoying being on two wheels, it was time to allow my bike to cool down and put on my hiking boots. My objective was a a 22 km hike starting from the center of Esneux, a small village to the south of Liège. My destination was La Roche aux Faucons, a steep outcrop of rocks with outstanding views over the River Ourthe.
Despite setting off with heavy cloud cover and early morning mist, the weather forecast said that clouds would disappear by noon, and predicted a gorgeously sunny clear afternoon. And as I was planning to arrive at La Roche aux Faucons in the afternoon, I was looking forward to some sunny views from the top.
I had chosen a route on Wikiloc created by Claudy Huet, who with 172 trails to his name seems to know his way around the Ardennes. I was very pleased with his route, although I will point out that it includes some pretty steep climbs and descents. Also at this time of the year, the paths are covered in leaves, so it’s easy to lose your footing, particularly in wet weather. So make sure your hiking boots have good tread, and take care on the steep descents. Having said that, it’s a lovely walk through the forests of the Ardennes and highly recommended for seasoned hikers.
Here are a few misty shots from the morning.
Unfortunately as noon came and went, and I began the steady climb up to the top of La Roche aux Faucons, the clouds still stubbornly refused to part, the sun remained hidden, and it even began to drizzle! Undeterred, I pushed on and arrived at the summit, to see … a lot of low clouds and misty views!
However, by the time I had descended to the river valley, the sun had finally decided to make an appearance. However, I wasn’t feeling energetic enough to make the climb again to take some sunnier pictures! But the walk along the River Ourthe and back into Esneux village was very pleasant … and a bit more colorful!
So overall, an excellent hike that I can heartily recommend. You can download the original route directly from M. Huet on Wikiloc, or my route (almost the same) from here on RouteYou. Below is the map of the route, which you can download as a PDF.
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Some wonderfully atmospheric shots of a grey autumn day. Those fallen leaves can be a real slipping hazard – I won’t hike without poles. Sounds like a challenging hike.
I’ve never hiked with poles. I can see their advantage to retain balance; but don’t they get in the way when you stop and use a camera or binoculars?
I always have a backpack to carry things. I find the value of the poles outways the nuisance…but they are retractable and can be shortened and put away on flatter paths.
Oh well, some very atmospheric shots even if the sun didn’t appear on schedule!
It’s good that the sun isn’t something we can fit into our schedule isn’t it Anabel!
Shame the clouds didn’t lift sooner, Denzil, but you can rarely plan that. I imagine it would be spectacular on a clearer day but I’m sure you enjoyed it. You settled for atmospheric 🙂 🙂
Yes Jo, even the mist has its allure.
Wow – absolutely gorgeous countryside. 🙂
You’re right there Judy, whatever the weather.
I first thought we walked the same track but yours was definitely different from this one: https://guidowke.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/rb-10-liege-langs-de-ourthe-bocht-van-fechereux-en-hogerop/ However, the scenery is absolutely stunning, regardless of the weather and Esneux is a good starting point for some excellent hikes. Regards, Guido.
Looks like you had similar weather on your visit to La Roche aux faucons Guido!
Very busy at work Carol! And when I’m writing all week, sometimes I don’t feel like writing a blog at the weekend! Thanks for your comment. Yes, cloudy views can also be appealing to the eye.
I thought you might have been working. I know what you mean. If I have a busy week it’s hard to get into writing a new post. I tend to work on a new post over a week or so.
Beautiful scenery and pictures !
Typical Ardennes weather..
Unfortunately I agree Mark