4500 participants

41st GA Hiking Day in the Kottenforst

Wanderer beim GA-Wandertag im Kottenforst.

Hikers at eh GA Hiking Day in the Kottenforst.

Swisttal/Region. On the 41st Hiking Day, around 4500 participants made their way through the Kottenforst around Heimerzheim in almost perfect hiking weather.

In the shadow of Heimerzheim Castle, which was first documented in the 13th century, owner Ilka von Boeselager and Hans Homrighausen, managing director of the General-Anzeiger, Justus, a young hiker, Swisttal’s Mayor, Petra Kalkbrenner, the deputy editor of the GA, Dietmar Kanthak and the GA regional director Jörg Manhold sent the first hikers on their way at 9am sharp.

The participants set off in smaller and larger groups along the five, ten, 20 and 30 kilometre trails devised by the GA’s main organiser, Klaus Gering. Participants still had two hours to set off on the GA Hiking Day after the start clearance. One of the first starters in the “early start” was Heimerzheim’s representative Hermann Leuning  - despite a second large event, the Federal Police Open Day, taking place in Heimerzheim that day alongside the GA Hiking Day.

“Otherwise I would have hiked 20 kilometres. But today it’s just ten,” said the 81-year-old. Those who discovered hiking as a hobby a long time ago and those who first enjoyed this endurance sport in the great outdoors at the GA Hiking Day found a variety of ideas at the GA Hiking and Outdoor Fair in the federal police grounds.

Various clubs and institutions whetted the appetite with attractive destinations, whether near or far, easy or challenging. For example, the Rheinische Apfelroute (Rhineland Apple Route), a themed cycling route through six districts on the left bank of the Rhine, is very close and brand new. The Rhein-Voreifel-Touristik and Gemeinde Swisttal gave information on this and other hiking and cycling path opportunities.

The Bonn section of the German Alpine Association (Deutsche Alpenverein, Sektion Bonn) had expert information on alpine tours, mountain biking and ski and snow shoe tours. The Sieg and Bergisches Land Nature Region, Central Tourism Saarland and Wiedtal Tourism also presented interesting excursion and hiking destinations at their exhibition stands.

Those already thinking about Christmas in a special atmosphere could get a foretaste of Christmas time at Schloss Drachenburg in Königswinter. The NRW Foundation was giving information about its support for nature conservation and homeland and culture projects and initiatives

Original text: Mario Quadt, Gerda Saxler-Schmidt. Translation: kc