I am just in tonight from a two stunning days doing a recce of the Tour de Matterhorn. The autumn weather, blue skies, no wind, crispy mornings, and a dusting of early snow made the trip memorable. The fact we only met two other people made it even more special. I really think mid to late September is a brilliant time to walk in the Alps - so few people around! This morning the valleys were echoing to the sound of the red deer stags roaring in the rut. We saw a beautiful stag high in the corries, probably resting from fighting the other 'guys'. Another special moment was a very close encounter with a massive male ibex. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly graceful these mountain animals are. They make crossing potential treacherous terrain look like a stroll in the park! Basically, I spent two days doing the section from the Col Collon on the Swiss Italian border, over the Col Valcournera down to Breuil-Cervinia. These are often regarded as two of the toughest on the trip and whereas, yes, they are over rough terrain they are also absolutely wonderful. A real mountaineering adventure! We aim to be able to offer the Tour de Matterhorn in 2009 for those of you with a true sense of adventure!