Walking amid Italy’s South Tirol with friends gives Alexander Linklater a huge helping of camaraderie and kaiserschmarrn
“Nur die harten kommen in den garten” (only tough guys get into the garden). With this Teutonic exhortation our guide, Richard Oberkalmsteiner, leads us – a group of “soft Scottish mens” – up into the mountains of the South Tirol for a week-long trek around the Sarntal (or Sarentino) Valley.
There are six of us: three Daves, an Alastair, an Alex and a Ruaridh. Our collective mountaineering level amounts, approximately, to the endurance required to huff and puff up a few munros. But we have previously undertaken one Alpine trek together. That was six years ago in the North Tirol – on the Austrian side of the border – when our average age was 40 and we took to the hills to shake off a collective midlife crisis.