June 2021: 135 highpoints in Europe reached and climbed — The comprehensive report "From now on it's all uphill – via Pinneberg and Pico to the summits of Europe" is available from MALIK in EDITION PIPER, Munich.
I strictly excluded artificial structures and climbed only natural highpoints:
I thank all those who have made it possible for me to reach and climb Europe's highpoints country-by-country, especially in dubious areas, from Chechnya to Transnistria, from Svalbard to Gibraltar. I am grateful having survived, unharmed by landmines, bears, FSB officials and militias.
Yet 135 is not enough. When I worked myself through the Pyrenees – virtually – to explore the border separating France from Spain, and I realized that I have overlooked 2 targets:
I should have devoted a chapter of its own to the Isle of Pheasants, that island in the Basque river Bidassoa which swings every half year from a French to a Spanish sovereignty. Unique worldwide!
Exchange of flags on the Isle of Pheasants
Also I have overlooked the Pays Quint. The Spaniards call this piece of land Quinto real, the Basques call it Kintoa. It belongs to Spain politically, but to France economically; eight French families inhabit its 2.5 square kilometers. The highest point is the Adi – 1459 metres.
The Quinto Real waits to be explored!
If this is such a colourful display in the Pyrenees alone, how will it then look like in the rest of Europe! How many “independent” countries will there be in total? I guess I could easily reach 150, if I only wanted.
Meanwhile the European merry-go-round is speeding up, new states emerge, old ones drown. Scotland was just at the brink, Catalonia has almost jumped over it. Actually the People's Republics of Donezk and Luhansk – Donetskaya and Luganskaya Narodnaya Respublika – have emerged off the disintegrating Ukraine. Their highest points are quickly identified: For the former we find a nameless point 216 close to the Russian border, north-east of Tarasovka:
The highest point of the People's Republic of Luhansk is the 367.1 m high hill Gora Mogila Mechetnaya, about halfway between Donezk and Luhansk:
I will have to wait until the situation there has consolidated. Then they will be easy prey!
Under the common label of "Peaks, Poles and Paragraphs" are also available:
"My Highest Ones" – the ultimate answer to the question what "altitude" means; Mount Everest will be merciless thrown from its throne, for measuring height from sea level is arbitrary. Suddenly Chimborazo and Thabana Ntlenyana will rise to become the Highest on this Earth;
"Germany Extreme" – about its geographical extremes;
"Germany roundabout" – a hiking tour along Germany's weird border, to tri-border points and other oddities;
"To the springs!" – Visit the springs of Germany's longest rivers, document them and cast this into a special travel guide;
"4 ridges – 1 summit" – casts a light on pyramids, as they stand for real mountains when these are not at hand.
"602 + 70 + 45 and even more Border Markers" – about the French/Spanish border in the Pyrenees. Why is that border so fascinating? Because of its pulsating lung at the Pheasant Isle in the Bidassoa, because of its economical permeability, its artificial nature, with its bubble of Andorra, with its arabesque of Llívia, with its peculiar construct of Pays Quint.
"My Own State – or is it No Man's Land?" – a guide into ultimate nonsense, all in a self-made state.
The final projects underway:
"Wall und Graben" – a mega-documentation on a hike along the Northern border of the former Roman Empire, beginning with Hadrian's Wall from East to West; returning on the Stanegate. Followed West to East from Kilpatrick to Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth along the Antoninus Wall; "up" along the Scottish Highlands with the Glenblocker Forts and Gask Ridge; then from Remagen down the Rhine River along the Lower Germanic Limes into Holland; up from Rheinbrohl to Eining along the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes through South-West Germany. Not to forget: The Odenwald Limes, Neckar Limes, Lautertal Limes and Alb Limes. All this expanded to include the lines of Roman castles in Austria and Hungary and the Limes traces in Romania. Finally the excursion will come to a conclusion in Syria, Palestine and North Africa.
Book A – the comprehensive introduction to the entire series – comprises 2 volumes and is available; likewise the 16 (!) volumes of Book B – Hadrian's Wall. Altogether just over 10,000 pages. A monumental oeuvre!
Books C and D – 7 and 11 volumes, respectively – about the coastal fortlets along the Cumbrian coastline and the outlying forts beyond Hadrian's Wall – and about the Stanegate forts – are available, all of them also electronically via Dropbox or WeTransfer.
Book E – Antonine Wall, Gask Ridge and Glenblocker Forts is being worked at and will become available towards the end of 2021.
The rest of the series – from F to M – will be issued as time goes by.
And when there is nothing left to lose: "Mountains of the Bible" – there I will probably be shot dead.