Trip to Switzerland 1952

Travellers' Tales [KES Mag Dec 52]

A PARTY of thirty-two boys, accompanied by two members of the Staff and their wives, spent ten days of August at Champéry, in Canton Valais. The weather, except for one day, was very good all the time, and the holiday was spent in a most charming village, flanked on the east by the towering Dents du Midi and on the south by the Dents Blanches. We in no way tried to make the visit obviously " educational ". The educational value lies in what boys see and do and find out for themselves: but the first essential is that they enjoy themselves. It was a great pleasure to us to take this party abroad. The journey is long and we must confess that such a holiday is not cheap. But we think that it is good for young people to see foreign parts and to learn to want to travel. It is valuable, too, for them to leave home for a short period and mix a little with people of other lands. Indeed, we felt they might have mixed more with the local folk. It was well worthwhile going and if sufficient boys wish it, we hope to take another party next year.

E. L. K., E. L. V.

Party at Champéry, Switzerland, 1952

Back row: ?Wellings, Roger Walker, ?, Martin Jefferson, John Fisher, Chris Wragg.
4th row: Norburn, John Catchpole, John Dexter, ?, ?, Chris Rigby, ?.
3rd Row: Rosen, Bottomley, Mrs Vernon, Mr Vernon, Mr Kopcke, Mrs Kopcke, Brian Edwards (between rows), Chris Jennings, Melbourne.
2nd Row: Hamilton, Wolstenholm, Riggot, Nicholls, Malcolm Murray, Schofield, Smith.
Front row: Ian Strachan, Terry Ellin, Bryan Morgan, Michael Ogglesby, Keith Tomlinson, 'Woolly' Lambert.

(Photo + names courtesy of Bryan Morgan, assisted by Malcolm Murray)

Some impressions from a member of the party

A short tour of London ... the crossing to Ostend . . . a night journey through Belgium . . . . the Swiss frontier at mid-day . . . electric railway through Switzerland . . . and a final hair-raising ride up the mountains to our destination, Champéry. Sleeping in a foreign bed is like sleeping under a mattress, but we were all very tired and slept soundly.

August 1st : a walk along the Galeries Defago, a natural ledge in an almost sheer cliff-face. A magnificent view of the village and valley. The villagers had spent the day putting up flags and decorations to celebrate the Swiss National Day. During the evening a torch-light procession, music. dancing and a bonfire.

Up early next day. Packed lunch and journey by cable car to Planachaux. Walk to a ridge above Lac Vert, which took us all the morning. After lunch, most of us went to the French frontier and climbed a mountain 9,000 feet above sea-level. Snowball fight.

Sunday : village church. Afternoon, walking or shopping. "Comprenez-vous Anglais ? " "Not much." Grapes could be bought cheaply, a great comfort in the hot weather. In the evening, heavy rain.

Monday : swimming, exploring village. By coach to Montreux via the valley. Visit to Chateau de Chillon, on an island in Lake Geneva.

Tuesday : eleven bold fellows set out for the Cabane de Susanfe, a small solidly built hut halfway up a mountain for the assistance of climbers attempting the Haute Cime. Climbed all morning through thickly wooded hillsides, with halt for refreshment at a chalet, an ancient building with floor of beaten earth and deep fireplace with seats inside it. Reached the cabin at two o'clock - bought souvenirs and drank large quantities of refreshing water.

Wednesday : rose early and went to Great St. Bernard Pass, arriving at the Hospice at noon. Saw the kennels, and walked into Italy, returning at three. The next day, our last, it rained all day. Still raining when we left at five. Ostend at noon on the following day calm crossing. Left London late on Friday night, reached Sheffield early on a damp Saturday morning.


Final Leg to Champéry

L-R : Lambert, Martin Jefferson (tall), Hamilton (raincoat over arm), M J Smith (beret), Chris Wragg, Nick Wellings, Malcolm Murray, E L Kopke (hands on hips).

(Photo + names courtesy of Malcolm Murray)

Boarding the coach at Aigle (Switzerland) after arriving there by train on 31st July 1952 (added by Bryan Morgan)

1952 Walking Party - Planachaux

back row: ?, Tony Bottomley, Brian Edwards, Catchpole, Mr E L Kopke, Mrs Vernon, Mr E L Vernon;
2nd row : ?(hidden), Nicholls, Chris Wragg, Martin Jefferson, Chris Jennings, Roger Walker;
Front row: Malcolm Murray, Wellings?, M J Smith, John Fisher, Terry Ellin.

(Photo + names courtesy of Malcolm Murray)

The party climbed up to the Cabane de Susanfe, a refuge hut on the way to Haute Cime, on Tues Aug 5th.
It was a ferociously hot day and the rest had stayed at the village swimming pool. (Added by Bryan Morgan)