I don’t think this is a new website but it has only just come to my attention. It’s metier seems to be a planning resource for travellers heading to the alps, as long as you are going to Germany, Austria, Italy and the Dolomites that is. Whilst I could be critical for not including countries such as Poland, Montenegro and Slovenia, I nevertheless think it worthy of a mention as it is slightly different(non-pejoratively) to any other alpine genre site I have thus far come across.
Taking Austria as an example, Touching Nature goes beyond just describing Austria as the Tyrol. Whilst the Tyrol is an area you could happily go to forever and a day, just like in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, there is more to the country than just there. I was particularly pleased to see all areas of Austria warranting detailed mentions, Carinthia being an obvious example of an overlooked region which is madness, considering that is where the Grossglockner is situated. Steiermark is another area that the majority of the British Lakes & Mountains crowd will be unfamiliar with, ignorant to the fact that the well-known Schladming is found within it’s borders. To venture beyond the well-known is always a risk for a website and therefore it needs to be sure of accuracy, something which I haven’t found to be an issue on Touching Nature’s pages.
For the uninitiated I regard this website as a terrific grounding for inexperienced walkers or seasoned-trekkers wishing to get to know an area hitherto unknown to them. I like the way Nordic Walking, Geocaching, Via Ferrata and mountain etiquette are all explained in layman’s terms, realising that not every mountain-enthusiast is the next Chris Bonnington. It shouldn’t be overlooked and isn’t on this website that summit-bagging is not everybody’s cup of tea in the mountains; despite what some of the alpine-purists would have you believe, there is room for all in the alps, as long as respectful and responsible behaviour comes as standard.
Whatever your level of experience in the mountains there will be something of interest for you on this website. I hope in time they will expand their horizons to other countries worthy of inclusion, although there is always a danger of spreading ones self to thinly and indulging in affected erudition, trying to let on more is known on a particular country/region than is actually the reality. To run a website on a specific subject it is surely though incumbent upon the operator to cover the whole range of the theme and not just pick bits out? I suppose that is another debate for another day.