We were having dinner with some friends back in June, (well it was actually an "apero dinatoire" which for those who want to increase their French vocab, is when you have an aperitif with such a generous serving of canapes, pizzas and tapas type stuff, that it's really a "diner"), and a group of the guys announced that they were going to do the Via Ferrata the following Sunday morning and invited me along. A perfect opportunity; I'd seen it as we walked the dogs along the river, and marvelled at the height of the zip wire(tyrolienne), and needed to find someone to show me the ropes(pun intended).
The Via Ferrata is a cabled climbing route around the rocks next to the river, and includes a few cable bridges and a zip wire high over the gorge. You hire the equipment (harnesses and helmets) from the village and the rest is up to up to you. Amazing really when you consider the public liability and Health and Safety restrictions which would be placed on it in the UK.
So we set off on a bright, dry and sunny morning, four blokes spanning middle age(40-65), not exactly built to climb or do long distance running, two of whom had done it before.
The kit is basically a harness with two carabiners which you clip on to a very heavyweight steel cable. The cable follows a route which either has clear hand a footholds or a steel ladder is provided to help out. The key to success and safety is that you are clipped on at all times by at least one clip.
The route takes you up the side of the gorge and through the various obstacles, to the final piece de resistance, the tyrolienne zipwire, which you can miss out if you want. I was told by one of my fellow climbers who is a member of the council and responsible for the maintenance of the Via, that the Tyrolienne is tested annually to a weight of 12 tonnes - which was some reassurance.
Good company, good fun, good to get the heart and adrenaline pumping, and great views. Well worth it if you have a head for heights.