G3VGR QUERWEG         Achdorf – Riedöschingen      

The normal Querweg itinerary for this stage is to walk 30Km to Engen, but I had already planned this as a rest day and would walk only as far as Riedöschingen, a 15Km hike. During my Schluchtensteig walk of 2012, I had already hiked around Blumberg and had no desire to cover it again, so I decided to make a major detour today to include a ride on a steam train. My plan for the day was to walk south from Achdorf along the Ostweg, through the beautiful Wutachflühe to Lausheim-Blumegg Bahnhof, then return to Blumberg-Zollhaus on the Sauschwänzlebahn and rejoin the Querweg from near Zollhaus to Riedöschingen. When the Wutachtalbahn railway was being constructed in the late 19th century, the section to Blumberg required a rise of 250 metres with a gradient not exceeding 1:100 To accomplish this requirement, the line was constructed in a series of curves, including the only spiral tunnel in Germany, which resulted in almost 27Km of track to travel a beeline distance of 9.5 km The antique steam train leaves Lausheim-Blumegg at 11:48, so there was no great need to hurry from Achdorf to make the 7Km walk to the station. The overnight rain had stopped as I left the Scheffelinde after breakfast, following the Ostweg signs along a small road, the "Wellblechweg", towards Fützen.

After a couple of miles on the road, I was pleased to see a sign directing me to the lower path in the Wutachflühe, which is the entrance to the impressive river landscape. I started walking along a narrow path which was basically a ledge along the limestone rock wall high above the Wutach. Unlike the dangerous stretches on the Wutachschlucht, this path had no picket fences to protect the walker from the severe drop. It is definitely a path where "Trittsicherheit und Schwindelfreiheit erforderlich" is the order of the day. Despite last night's rain, the going was quite dry and I made good progress. After a mile, the ledge ended and I was in familiar forest territory and trying to avoid tripping over rocks and tree roots. As I was ahead of schedule, I took my time walking through this green wonderland. The dead trees and boulders by the trail were covered in bright green moss, adding to the beauty of this environment. All too soon, I reached the Wutach Viaduct and crossed over the river to end the walk through the Wutachfluhe. It was now an easy level path, although some difficulty was encountered when I walked through an area which had been devastated by a storm. Many fir trees had been casualties with just shortened stumps remaining after their top sections of trunk had been ripped off by the high winds. As I reached Lausheim-Blumegg station, I heard the evocative sound of a steam whistle. A few minutes later, the steam train arrived on its outward journey. The local cafe was closed, so I just sat at the station waiting the train's return 45 minutes later. I presented my ticket to the guard, who looked very dapper with his peaked cap and long coat with highly polished brass buttons. My carriage was quite full with a group happily and noisily partying with a few bottles of white wine. They never offered me any, so I consoled myself with petting a small fox terrier who was the only teetotal member of the party. The journey was a nostalgic ride to Blumberg-Zollhaus through a mountain landscape with spectacular large viaducts, tunnels and bridges. I enjoyed every minute of the journey, the rattling of the old carriage, the grimy windows, the unique sound of carriage doors slamming and above all the the marvellous sound of a steam locomotive. It brought back childhood memories of travelling on steam trains from Barry Dock to Cardiff Central.

The terminus at Blumberg-Zollhaus was very busy with a few coaches parked and many people waiting for the afternoon trip. After a bratwurst and coffee, I left the crowd behind as I followed a local trail to rejoin the Querweg outside of town. The two trails met not far from the Vierbahnenblick, where there is a great view over two viaducts and the countryside around Fützen. I didn't want to wait another hour to see the train cross the viaduct, so made my way onwards with easy walking along forest paths towards Randen. Just before Randen, I exited the forest onto a farm track with impressive distant views but found the path blocked by an overturned 4x4. Fortunately, the driver was uninjured and was waiting for a recovery vehicle.

Randen is a pleasant and instantly forgettable village. Nowhere was open to get a drink or snack, so I carried on along a forest road. A few kilometers further, a sign directed me to the Blauer Stein (Blue Stone), remnants of a volcanic crater. The basalt cone originated in the time of Hegau volcanism and is now protected as a natural monument. Exiting the forest, I walked through farm fields with wide views until joining a tarmac road which led me down to the small farming village of Riedöschingen. I was booked in at the Hegauer Hof, a bakery with guesthouse, where I was welcomed with coffee and cake. Finding a restaurant for dinner was simple. I chose the Gasthaus Schabelhof which is the only one in the village. It was really just a local pub and on asking for the Speisekarte, the Chefin told me I had a choice of either wurst or schnitzel. With a few Hefeweizens to accompany the schnitzel, I had an enjoyable evening in the restaurant. Everyone was very friendly and we had long conversations in German, my fluency greatly improving by the frequent complimentary shots of Kirschwasser. The evening weather had cleared to a nice blue sky and I hoped for nicer weather tomorrow.

Along the Wutachflühe
Narrow path along the Wutachflühe
Wutachtalbahn track
The Wutach Viaduct
Towards the end of the Wutachflühe
Forest trees damaged by storm
Lausheim-Blumegg Bahnhof
My train arrives
Party time on the train
Carved tree trunk near Blumberg-Zollhaus station
View from Vierbahnenblick
In the forest near Randen
Open countryside near Randen
4WD blocking the trail, but nobody injured
Blauer Stein
Downhill to Riedöschingen
Fountain in Riedöschingen
Hegauer Hof

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