G3VGR QUERWEG         Engen – Singen      

I woke up to a dry, sunny morning. Having already decided not to go back to Welschingen, I checked the hiking signs in the village, and chose a local trail out of the village heading in the direction of Weiterdingen. It took me above the village through farm fields with good views of the Hegau. Yesterday, I had spotted a ridge leading from Weiterdingen, so when I almost reached Ehinger, I left the road and went up steeply through fields of cereal and two small copses of closely planted conifers. This was tough going, sometimes waist-deep in cereal plants and also fighting my way through the conifers. However, my bushwhack was well worth the effort as I ended up on a farm track, rejoining the Querweg only 200 metres from the Hegaukreutz. The cross is located on the summit of Sickerberg. It was exposed and windy here, but I had superb views in all directions. This detour shortened today's route between Engen and Singen, as it left out the loop around Weiterdingen and Hohenstoffeln. Fifteen minutes later I reached the Mägdeburg and went up to view the 800 year old Castle Mägdeberg ruins.

It was easy walking from here. I continued along a wide farm track between fields of maize to the Hohenkräken, a distinctively shaped volcanic cone,also surmounted by castle ruins. Just past Hohenkräken, I caught my first glimpse of the Bodensee before entering a forest. I exited the forest at a hiker's parkplatz and was disappointed to find myself walking down a busy tarmac road. Fortunately, just past the Hotel Hegauhaus, the trail markers pointed me back to the safety of a farm road. As I neared Singen along this road, there were great views of the Bodensee and also Singen overlooked by the dominant Hohentwiel. The path went downhill towards another busy road before climbing again past fields of sheep to reach Hohentwiel. This is the last volcanic cone of Hegau and is surmounted by the ruins of Festung Hohentwiel, the biggest castle ruin of Germany. Built in 914 using stone taken from the mountain itself, the fortress withstood five Imperial sieges in the Thirty Years War, but was destroyed in 1800 by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars. The facilities around Domain Hohentwiel all appeared to be closed, so I made my way down a zigzag path to Singen, entering the city through the pleasant gardens of the Stadtpark.

Singen is a large, modern industrial city with little of interest, although it is known in military history for the "Singen Route". This World War II escape route into Switzerland was discovered by Dutch naval lieutenant Hans Larive in 1940 on his first escape attempt from a POW camp. After being captured at the Swiss border near Singen, the interrogating German officer unintentionally told Larive of a safe crossing route across the border to Switzerland. Larive did not forget this "advice" and many prisoners later escaped using this route, including Airey Neave, Pat Reid and Howard Wardle in their escapes from Colditz Castle as well as Larive himself.

The Querweg leads through the centre of Singen. As I plodded along the busy streets, I concluded that Singen is one of the ugliest cities I've seen and wondered which idiot decided it was a good idea to route the Querweg this way. At the eastern edge of town, I had to negotiate a busy roundabout, pass a filling station and the local sports stadium, before I was relieved to find the Querweg turn into a forest where I was able to leave the urban tarmac behind. I had booked accommodation at Steisslingen, 10Km further along the Querweg and it was an easy walk, mainly along forest roads. The only bad experience occurred just past Friedingen where a forestry road passed a small farm at Leprosushaus. My way along the public road was barred by a big vicious farm dog that would not permit me to pass. Whenever I tried to move forward, the aggressive animal came very close, barking loudly, snarling and baring its teeth. Unfortunately, my trekking poles were packed away, so I had no means of defence and the noise made by the dog didn't cause its neglectful owner to appear. This was a frightening experience, so I backed off and made a large detour around the unpleasant creature. It's times like this that I wish it was legal for hikers to carry pepper spray or preferably a Glock. The remainder of the walk to Steisslingen was uneventful and I arrived at the excellent Hotel Sättele which is ideally located on the shore of the Steißlinger See

View over Hegau towards Hohenhewen
Farmland near Ehinger
Weiterdingen overlooked by Hohenstoffeln
Hegaukreutz on summit of Sicherberg
Ruins of Magdeburg
Long straight trail towards Hohenkräken
Approaching Hohentwiel
Walking along main road near Hotel Hegauhaus
View over Singen towards Bodensee
Domain Hohentwiel visitor centre
View from Hohentwiel back towards Hohenkräken
Church at start of Singen pedestrian area
Fountain outside Singen rathaus
Back in the woods after the streets of Singen
Unpleasant Farm dog at Leprosushaus
In the forest near Friedingen
Hotel Sättele, Steisslingen

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