Challenge / Heiniger Swiss Trip
coveted trophy is contested for between the open Scottish and Welsh
competitors at Lochearnhead and our sister competition in North Wales,
Corwen Shears. Open competitors, heat points are aggregated then the top
three from each of these nations compete in the final with the winning
team lifting the Celtic Shield. The top individual wins a trip to
Switzerland along with the top Senior competitor from both competitions.
To win the Heiniger trip, as a shearer must be a
great achievement, but to be proposed by the Lochearnhead Shears
committee to go is a great honour.
I was delighted to be going to Switzerland, and in
late August, Hefin Jones and I set off from Edinburgh. Urs Rothlin met
us at Basel and he then drove us to the Heiniger factory at
Herzogenbuchsee. We were shown round the factory it was amazing; every
piece of equipment is made with such assiduousness.
At the factory we met Mr Werner Heiniger, who welcomed us to his factory
and to his country. Werner told us some history of the company and we
were shown some of the finished products that were on display. After
spending a few hours in Herzogenbuchsee, Urs drove south through
beautiful countryside to Grindlewald.
Grindlewald was a lovely wee town and the view from my balcony was
incredible. On our first evening we had a very nice traditional Swiss
meal and liqueurs to follow.
Feeling bright eyed on the Saturday morning we caught the mountain train
to head up 11, 333ft to Jaunfraujoch or Top of Europe. The train stopped
at various places on the way up for us to get out and look at the snow
below us. When we reached the top, it was beyond belief how such a place
was so far up a mountain! Without a doubt my favourite place was the Ice
Palace. Ice sculptors of animals and characters were all shaped to
perfection. As the whole place was frozen, even the floor, you had to be
careful, perhaps I should have worn more suitable foot wear! Looking out
on a blizzard whilst having lunch in the mountain caf was awesome.
Mid afternoon we headed back down the mountain to Grindlewald. I had a
browse around this quaint little town, as I needed to work up an
appetite for dinner. Again Urs treated us to a lovely meal followed by a
few samples of aperitifs.
Heading North on the Sunday, we again travelled through some lovely
countryside and saw lots of cattle grazing on the hillsides, before
stopping at a hilltop restaurant for lunch. The views were spectacular
and we were able to look through binoculars back to Jaunfrau and the
Eiger in the distance. We then headed back to Basel airport for our
return home. All was a great experience until the luggage carrier hit
the wing of the plane in Frankfurt and we had to wait for what seemed a
very long time until the piece had been replaced.
We had a great weekend, the hospitality and kindness shown to us from
Werner and Urs was very generous. This was a trip of a lifetime,
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