This year's Newt took place near alpine town of Radstadt in the Niedertauern region of Austria, during the first week of July 2012. We booked a pleasant and isolated mountain hut where 17 enthusiastic naked hikers hunkered down for a week of good conversation, amiable company and extremely pleasant alpine hiking. We also had some good weather (and a couple of thunderstorms).
The NEWT doesn't usually have a theme: it's not a protest march, it's a natural hike through outstanding scenery. However this year we hiked naked with a particular theme in mind: to show solidarity with Steve Gough, who has been held in almost continuous solitary confinement since 2006(!), for refusing to put on clothes as he leaves prison. Steve needs people to show their disgust with the Scottish Judicial system which arrests him every time he is released. More info on this disgraceful subject may be found here at the Free the Naked Rambler FB group:
Saturday June 30. I left the outskirts of the German city of Munich, with the Polly the collie and several boxes of groceries and my hiking gear in the car, and drove naked all the way to the Austrian town of Radstadt, in the Niedertauern region. I dressed to meet the hut proprietress who kindly drove ahead of me to show me the way to the Aualm hut, at the far end of a 7 kilometre forest track, almost above the tree line. Our hut nestled below the ridge and overlooked the splendid and dramatic looking Dachstein range to the south. It was a hot sunny day and I settled in with Polly, taking in a short naked hike around the hut, and letting Polly chase sticks up and down the hill, watching as she gradually got muddier and muddier, having found a wet spot to dig in. I then prepared a bolognese for the evening meal, for those who were arriving early. Michael from Hamburg was the first to arrive in a shiny white car, now looking slightly dusty. I drove naked to town to pick up Ian, from the UK, from the train station, meeting Roland and the Dutch contingent, of Wilfried and Joop, half-way along the track. Gianni and Mira from Italy arrived amidst some confusion of directions. Polly was very pleased to see Mira again as she'd brought a special squeaky pig toy for her. The fairly new hut extension, which could accommodate 20 people in bunk beds, was pleasant with good facilities and ample room for the projected numbers of approx. 18 people who had registered for this year's NEWT. It was an active gasthof in the ski-season, sitting on the edge of the piste, and for the summer was rented to groups like ours. Renewing old friendships and chatting to new people took us into the evening on the mountainside hut.
Sunday July 01. It was sunny and hot when, post-breakfast, we decided to take a short tour near the hut. We left the hut naked and headed down into the valley, past the T-bar ski-lift station below us, before squelching across the mossy ground to the base of the woods on the hillside ahead. Zig-zagging up through the thick heather, under the welcome sun shade of the thick tree coverage above. As we climbed steadily, we came across signs of a distinct trail which angled up and left possibly towards the ridge, so we gratefully followed it easily upwards in exchange for the free-for-all in the heather. As we reached the ridge, the sun shone on us once more as we emerged from the trees. We followed the wide and sparsely wooded ridge roughly north, passing hunting hides with superlative views over the Dachstein. Struggling through some final bush, we reached the rocky summit, a small cliff with the inevitable giant crucifix on top. One wonders whether a modern religion would insist on planting electric chairs atop each mountain top? We stopped for a welcome lunch break here and gazed all around at the view, which now opened up to the north as well, nearby undulating ridges interspersed with distant snow covered peaks. Roland and I described the Strimkögel ridge opposite which had been the route of Newt 2010. Joop threw a stick and Polly dug herself into another mud pool and turned from a black and white collie into a black and brown one. She entertained us by shaking (on command) next to Joop and covering him from head to toe in mud spatters. It was difficult to be apologetic when it was so funny. We headed down the other side of the ridge, following a trail winding through the undergrowth until we reached the open piste and an easy slope and traverse back to the hut. Once there, the Dutch settled into quaffing some bubbly white wine on the sunny terrace. Clearly we were on holiday. I drove down, naked again, to pick up Bernard, Chris, David and Bruce, all from the UK, from the Radstadt train station. My little car, a Subaru Justy, really struggled to carry all of us and all their bags from the station up to the mountain hut on the rough road. I went down again to pick up Pierre, from France, before Vittorio and Sandro arrived in their own car from Italy. Robert arrived on his motorbike, having had an entertaining time ascending the sometimes bumpy and always rough forestry track. Still, it's better than having to walk it with our suitcases and backpacks. Vittorio had brought his Draco, a fine looking slightly Husky-looking dog, with him. Unfortunately Polly has an aversion to any other dogs, because of the unfortunate experience when she was a puppy and shut up in a trailer on a farm with her siblings and they had to fight for their food. Usually she bristles and attacks first. I'd explained this to Vittorio beforehand, but there's nothing like experience to supplement words. We brought them near each other, and separated them as soon as we detected a lip curl. Draco was very well behaved the entire week, and I could only apologise as I attempted to educate Polly in appropriate dog etiquette. Spain beat Italy 4-0 at football, much to Gianni's dismay.
Monday July 02. Away by 8.45 and gathered everyone into various cars to drive down the long forest track and around to the town of Pichl. Parking next to a tennis court we walked up the road until we found the base of the ski-lift. As we walked through their paddock, a pony took an intense dislike to Draco, and chased the poor dog around and out of their field. It was only funny because it wasn't Polly, who would have been seriously unnerved had she noticed what was going on. Most of us stripped off as we got to the other side of the field and started to walk up the zig-zagging track which was apparently used as the blue run down in the winter, through the forest and up the hillside, Chris taking back-marker position. Although it was hot and sunny, a wind was clearly getting up and threatening to change the weather on us. We passed the Gasthof Winterer and a couple of Austrian mountain ducks, a friendly farmer pointed us up the hill towards the piste which he'd just mown, as an alternative to the boring road route. As we toiled up the wide green piste, we passed a friendly and chatty couple sitting on a bench taking in the view. I imagine their view changed as we passed by. The next group of people were somewhat more taciturn in their greetings to the 16 naked men passing them on the slope. The sweat began to drip from us as we gained height and as the sky grew darker and the air thickened all around us. As we entered the higher forest trails, and zig-zagged under the trees, we passed several more people and another dog. All were friendly, if a little surprised, and Pierre and I chatted about the weather to one slightly older couple, not far below the top. We arrived at the mountain Gasthof of Hochwurzen and ordered a round of drinks for ourselves, sitting sweatily down at the table with all the people who'd come up by cable car. As we looked around, we could see the clouds were building heavily, and there were cracks of thunder in the distance. Post-lunch we decided to cut it short and just head down from the minor ridge ahead of us. Ian now took over as back-marker and we promptly lost Michael who was sleeping, unnoticed. As the first rain drops fell, we collected everyone together before heading off again. A couple who'd we'd met briefly on the summit, when several of us had been naked, now passed us in the forest when we were almost all naked now, and their only comment was to Mira, who was smoking a cigarette: "I don't think smoking is allowed in the forest, you could get into a lot of trouble for that!" before moving on past us. We followed the easy path down the hillside, as the cracks of thunder got louder, and the occasional rain drops got larger. As we approached the main descent forestry track the heavens opened and we were being steadily drenched. Some of us walked on naked, or under umbrellas, and others wore their wet weather gear, with various permutations of plastic and goretex. It wasn't particularly cold, but it was certainly wet. The view across the valley into the cloud was salutary as the wisps of cloud hid the peaks and brought another wave of rain. We separated as Sandro was going slowly and others wanted to go on ahead to start shopping, and descended in 2 groups. The rain became quite atrocious at one point, and we were beginning to look like drowned rats. After a while we re-grouped with the faster (?) group, and this time it was Polly's turn to cross the field with the Pony from hell. Thankfully Chris ran interference for Polly, and we managed to get across without incident. We drove back to the hut in various stages with cars full of wet but happy people. Overnight the rain did not let up, and kept us awake as it beat loudly against the roof just above our heads in the bunk beds.
Tuesday July 03. We started today with a smaller team, as it was raining, Sandro was tired, Bruce wanted to cook, and Mira and Gianni wanted to go shopping. We went into Radstadt and met Helmut and Conny, who'd driven down from Germany today, at the shops. I'd met them before at La Sabliere in France and was pleased they'd decided to join us for a couple of days hiking. The weather looked absolutely terrible, and they unsurprisingly backed off as we headed up the Tauern valley to our start point at the Vordergnadenalm. Having parked, some of us stripped off, and we all set off together walking along the flat road leading north towards the Sudwienerhütte. We exchanged greetings with a large and somewhat bemused looking group of youths as we passed the Gasthof and car park at the base of the hill, before turning up into the Hintergnadenalm valley. The trail now cut straight up the valley, across the easy zig-zags of the rough track. As we gained height steadily, the weather seemed to be lightening, and the thick clouds rolled steadily behind the surrounding peaks and ridges. Moving through a group of lazy cattle was amusing, as neigher Polly or Draco were particularly impressed by the huge beasts. And both needed some encouragement to skirt these high alpine cud-chewers. Ian slipped on a greasy moss atop a log and landed heavily but with no serious injury. Without further event, we eventually arrived at the top of the valley, as it opens out into a high alpine pasture, where there were several small huts and converted farmhouses. The sun now began to shine through and blasted away the last wisps of cloud. The surrounding ridges were silhouetted sharply against the bright blue alpine sky. There was no-one around, but we slipped shorts and wraps on to enter the Sudwienerhütte terrace, as is our normal practice, and I then found the hut warden inside and asked him if it would be ok, as we were a naked hiking group, for us to be naked while we sit on his terrace outside. He blinked and said "sure, why not!" Roland, Robert and I recalled being here during the Newt 2010 tour. The proprieter came out and took our orders for drinks, and chatted in friendly manner with us about this slightly strange walking group sitting on his terrace. 16 naked guys, unfortunately no women with us on this stage, now ordered either a Weisbier, or a light (Helles) beer or, for some of us, an Apfelschörle - the latter a very refreshing apple juice mixed with fizzy water. While we soaked up the sun, the clouds flitted across our bright sky, and brought sudden and unexpected but light showers, making us dip under the terrace umbrellas and roof overhang for protection. Next a jeep drove up to the terrace gate, and I got up to hold the gate open for the lady driver. She took the sight of the naked man at the gate in her stride/drive, and gave a friendly wave as she drove through before she entered the hut. She clearly ran the place, and David suggested she was probably giving the hut warden, (probably her husband), a good ticking off for letting us all be naked on the terrace. The next thing we knew she came outside to bring us the couple of soups which had been ordered, and to take more orders and to deliver several refreshing milk/yoghurt fruit shakes. She did not blink, but took it all completely in her stride, so much for the ticking off, I thought. As it came time to leave, and we paid up, the warden came out and offered free postcards of the hut as mementos of our visit, as well as a cute card which, when posted, and stamped, and brought back by someone as evidence of posting, would entitle the holder to a free beer. A nice piece of advertising indeed, we thought. We made a group photo and a photo with each of the very friendly hut wardens, before heading off towards the hills to the west of the hut. The trail zig-zagged up away from the Sudwienerhütte and climbed steadily up to a huge plateau running below the higher peaks which made up the serrated ridge to the north of us. Once we'd gained the higher ground, we stopped for a lunch break, and with difficulty trying to find a spot where there was no wind. The sporadic rain now lashed us as we struggled to remain comfortable, putting on clothes to keep from becoming chilled by the sharp wind. David slipped on some wet grass and landed heavily on his coccyx on the steep slope below. Serious damage was limited to pride, but it clearly hurt him all the same. We set off once more, and wound our way along the plateau, navigating between the brown and white cows at one end of the route, and following the easy trail between the bright white rocks and high alpine grasslands. The weather was still banging away with distant thunder threatening us as we walked under the ridge, but mostly remaining fairly clement. While the air was fresh, yet the alpine sky clothed us with sufficient warmth for our moderately high altitude hiking tour. We now passed the group of youngsters we'd seen at the beginning of the day, once more, this time in smaller groups as the straggled to keep up with one another. They seemed somewhat abashed to see us again, and I don't suppose it did their high alpine adventure weekend much kudos to be out in the mountains and meeting a group of naked hikers on the same terrain. Hiking onwards under the high ridge to our right, we could look far down over the Tauern valley to our left, deep, dark and distant. As the plateau narrowed and the sharp ridges loomed ever higher, we came to the Wildsee, a high mountain lake, with fans of snow all around descending right to the water's edge. David, Bernard, Michael, Pierre and Robert all dived in to the icy looking water for "refreshment", much to the warm amusement of the rest of us. The sky began to turn darker once more, and the clouds began to swirl around the lower crags above. It was time to go. We turned south and began the descent towards the valley. Joop was, despite this being his second Newt, having some trouble with the terrain and the exposure, so we split into 2 groups, the faster group going on ahead down the easy trail, and a smaller group staying behind to look after Joop. There used to be a steep section with a metal ladder and a cable for support, but this seemed to have been either blasted away, or circumvented, as this time we just followed the steep trail down the mountainside. We reached the closed for renovation hotel complex at the Feleralm below as a somewhat bedraggled group, and spent a short while discussing possible descent routes. As the route was unclear, we took the road down, and were soon joined by the "fast" group as they caught us up, having spent much time going fruitlessly up and down trying to find a way through the woods below. Descending together, we met Helmut and Conny on the road, briefly, before heading for the Johannesfall, a huge waterfall, which was a highly impressive plume of water, gushing straight outwards from the vertical 70m high rock wall of the river canyon. The spray filled the air, and covered us with a fine cool mist, as the wind blew the water around on it's off-vertical descent onto the rocks below. Several of us went behind the water, with Polly scampering about making me a tad nervous above the steep drop. Leaving the waterfall, damp now, we rejoined the main trail to wander through the pleasant and easy-going landscape until we returned along the flat valley bottom. Chris saw a signpost which said 20 mins back to our cars, and took immediate exception to this as he thought the distance much shorter and could be covered in 10 minutes. Off he stormed ahead. The rest of us passed a running couple and a friendly group of car-walkers en-route, before reaching the parked cars at our starting point. Chris declared triumphantly he had taken only 12 minutes to cover the distance, and we declared triumphantly we had taken 18 minutes. I deemed both our results correct for different values of speed. Then it was back to the hut for dinner and a well earned rest.
Wednesday July 04. Sandro decides to remain behind as he's tired, and Helmut calls to cancel their joining of our tour today. We descend our long track once more and meet in Radstadt town just prior to starting our hike. Helmut and Conny decide to join us after all, and Sandro too, and we get going once he returns from his coffee stop in town. We ascend the long traversing road to the north of the town, and park on the flanks of the UntererSchwemmberg. We set off naked, accompanied by the beeps and jolly waves of a passing van, and follow the wide forestry track through the trees for a couple of kilometres. Suddenly the track stops, and we are not where I thought we would be. Some hasty map consultation, and David and I both take different routes through the forest to scout out possible alternatives. Neither are satisfactory so we have to do what is possibly the hardest thing for a hiking group to accept, and that is to turn around and go back the way we came. Sandro decides to take a lone path through the trees and, although he turns and rejoins the group when I call him back, then calls me "Mussolini" for being firm and dictating the hiking route to the group. We retrace out steps to an earlier footpath sign, and take this ascending steadily across the easy slopes of the hillside as the path snakes up through the trees. The trees provide a welcome shade from the hot sun above. We continue upwards, passing a trail junction and meeting a couple of groups of people on their way down the hillside. We keep moving upwards, gaining height steadily now by following the wide wooded ridge, up past a hunting lodge and the busy top of a chair lift with restaurant, and several mushy high level ponds. The route continues with Mira getting more and more exhausted, and we're looking for a good place to stop where everyone can be content. A few of us take a pause under the trees, while the rest head on to the base of a huge radar tower, just above us. The lunch stop is a welcome rest from the toil of walking uphill in the heat, and we bask in the sunshine, while I try to take a photo of the Polly monster dog pretending to be friends with the gentle Draco. After a long-ish stop, we continue along ridge, passing several groups of people, and begin the final climb along the easy sparsely tree covered ridgeback to the Gasthof at the summit of the Rossbrand. We dress to enter the terrace this time, as the place is very busy with families and people who have arrived here by driving up the mountain road in their cars. Stopping here for a welcome drink, when we leave, a number of people smirk at the various wraps some of the guys are wearing. Apparently, it's ok for Scottish men to wear kilts, and for women to wear trousers, but it's "different" when a man is wearing a simple short wrap. We head off, and split the group for the easy road walkers and the more energetic forest types. The path now leads steeply down the mountainside, and about halfway down towards the cars, we split again. A small group go along the road to the cars, and the rest head directly down the hill to the town of Radstadt. I wait for Mira and Gianni, and Sandro to catch up and then we walk along the road together. At this point a pair of (rather cute) young women emerge from the forest, one carrying a baby who does not look so happy in the heat as they leave the shade of the trees, and turn to walk on ahead of us. Mira is topless and the rest of us are naked, and moving faster, so we quickly overtake the two women, with a friendly exchange of the usual mountain greetings. We pass another couple and then one of the young women overtakes us, as she descends quickly to fetch her car for her friend. As she passes us, she slows to have a 5 minute conversation with me about her day, and our day, and her friend's baby. She is clearly comfortable with the naked guys she has met all over this side of the mountain today. We wave goodbye and call out for her to "have a nice day!" Once we reach the cars, we descend the long traversing road once more and park in the centre of town, before heading for the central square to find the others and have a coffee. The Dutch contingent are clearly on holiday, and order huge ice-creams all round. The rest of the hikers join us, I get an ice-cream, and then we jump back in the cars to head back to the hut for the rest of the evening and a rather superb Indonesian meal ala-Roland.
Thursday July 05. After breakfast, we sat at the hut waiting a short while for the group to come together and then headed off up the piste past the Trinkeralm to join the main trail along the easy ridge above. As we passed the top of the ski-lift, a couple passed us with the usual friendly if mildly surprised greetings. We climbed steadily up the easy trail until we reached the end of the ridge and could look around at the stupendous view all around us. The Obertauern hills to the north and west, the Dachstein to the south, and the Schladmingertauern to the east. Quite spectacular. We started off again, and the group quickly split into 2 pieces based on the preferred speed of the participants, much to my dislike. I don't mind splitting the group at the end of the day, but at the beginning this is all wrong, and this set me off into a bad mood, even though the walking was simply gorgeous. The puffy clouds scudded across the sky all the day, threatening a change in weather which fortunately never really materialized, the wind keeping us cool as the high altitude sun baked us from above on the bare and wide open ridge. Gianni and Mira, Joop and I, watched as the others left the summit ahead of us and walked along the easy ridge into the distance. Once we reached the first summit cross, Mira and I stopped for a minor food break, and to soak up the view. Gianni went on ahead, leaving his wife behind, and Joop walked unsteadily along the ridge to join the others. After a while several of the lead group returned in drips and drabs. Sandro had fallen while walking and was sporting a bleeding and bandaged arm, and now Joop was returning also alone. As I watched, I could not believe my eyes as the lead group now disappeared around the end of the ridge ahead. I had to call Roland on my mobile handy and tell him to turn the entire group around immediately. Fortunately I could get through to him, and fortunately he was able to turn them all around. Roland told me later the group had multiple people all coming up with different ideas of what to do and where to go next. It sounded like a group of headless chickens, and was a yet another moot lesson for me on group dynamics in the hills. We reformed as a walking group and managed to stay more or less together, with some well timed help from Ian, who scuppered yet more separatist tendencies at an early stage. We retraced our steps along the easy ridge and had some pleasant walking with views ahead of the Dachstein range, before descending towards the Trinkeralm once more. As we got to the top of the ski-lift, there was a rolling log on a wooden frame as a test of balancing, which David and I both succeeded in crossing. High spirits seemed to be the order of the day as Sandro started to climb up the metal frame of the ski-lift. Chris began pushing the huge concrete weight which was finely hanging from it's steel cable, such that it tapped the metal structure with a clang with him standing directly beneath the counter-weight. I'm all for having a little fun, when we're out and about, but this was causing me to question the rationality of our little group. I herded people as quickly as possible and we set off down the hill once more. The previous evening I'd approached the Trinkeralm with the proposal that the 18 of us might eat our dinner naked today, on their terrace if there were no other guests about, and the very friendly waitress, Katy, had said that would be fine. There was no-one else to be seen for miles and so Helmut and I approached the hut naked and in high spirits. Next we saw Katy hurrying out across the terrace towards us looking worried, and when we met her, with our naked group steadily descending behind us, she looked very apologetic, but apparently she'd asked permission of the owners, and they'd declined our proposal. I regard this as a failure of communication on my part, because I'd given them too much time to think about the idea. It seems spontaneity, (with "sure, why not?"), is more accommodating of nudity than the more advanced thinking of the "what if" variety. Every year we learn something new. We departed amicably enough and waved goodbye as we headed on down to our hut, just below the Gasthof. Later on we need some eggs for dinner, and Vittorio volunteered to walk back to the Trinkeralm to ask for some. Apparently Katy was still apologetic at her change of permission, which seemed to be out of her control, so we didn't mind so much. The Dutch contingent brought out the bubbly again, and soon we had tables and benches on the terrace and were enjoying an early evening snack in the sunshine of our alpine hut. It was nice to do such a good day's hiking without having to contend with the long forestry track at each end. Admiring the view and throwing sticks for the seemingly never-tired Polly. Watching Polly fetch and carry the whole week long, David called her a one-trick dog. This raised my bile, (only a little), and caused me to respond by throwing the stick and getting Polly to "stay" where she was. Next, I called for Polly to "sit", "stand" (on all fours), "lie down", "sit, and so on, all in quick succession while keeping her on the spot. With only the verbal command holding her in place, for a short while, I then called "fetch" to release her to go get the stick. At this point the entire group applauded Polly, impressed with her ability to follow a wide range of commands so well. She's a clever dog, as are many border-collies, and it's a shame it's so hard to find the time, and the skills, to teach her more activities.
Friday July 06. We descended our track again and drove a short way up the main valley. We had a bit of juggling to do, as for this route I had to leave my car at the base of our lane, Gianni's car in Forstau, and drive on to Mandling before Wilfried returned for Gianni so we could all start the hike together. Once we were all together, we headed off up the track into the forest to the south and west, stripping our clothes off as each became warm enough. It was an easy track and an unusual day for having limited views, as we were at such an low altitude and the trees were so thick. Nevertheless the walking was fine, and we maintained a reasonable pace to keep warm, as the air was cooling as the sky darkened slowly. We reached a col and had a nice view out across the tree-tops to distant peaks, and also found wild strawberries to eat amongst the bushes. Walking past a colourful hut in the forest soon had us all talking about Hansel and Gretel, and witches. We headed along the track until we came to a sudden clearing below a huge vertical crag. We could see climbing routes all over the steep rock, marked by bolts which had been drilled into the rock face. We stopped here for a lunch break, when Gianni and Mira, Joop and Ian, now left us for their car, and the rest of us continued up the smaller and now steeper trail which took us, after wending our way through various forest trails, to the top of the Predigstuhl. At the summit, a wide vista opened up for us, including a fine view of the Rossbrand ridge from the day before. We could see the sky darkening dramatically just to the east as the wind got up and pushed the clouds in our direction. The first thick drops of rain were touching us as we stopped only for photos, before departing with our tails between our legs. We descended fast towards the Seitenalm hotel, as the rain started, the air temperature dropping rapidly as we went. As we reached the valley, the group split, some to wait at the hotel to be picked up later, several foolhardy adventurers took the dogs on foot towards the long forestry track back up to the Aualm, and I drove the drivers back to their cars in Mandling. We then all returned to the hut for the last time. For a shower, dinner, a chat over the week, and to shake out our socks, ready for packing. After dinner Bernard called us together to discuss the finances. At the beginning of the week, we'd all put in 50 Euros and now there was some 150 left over. The consensus was to donate this to Steve Gough, perhaps for books, but for anything he chose. Next was a donation from the passengers of the week towards the drivers petrol, recognizing the extent of the driving up and down this long forestry track we'd had to do nearly every day. The gesture was welcome, but all of us, (as an exception I kept some back), unanimously donated this money, on Wilfried's lead, also to Steve Gough, who now had approx. 270 Euros from the spontaneously generated NEWT 2012 funds. We all hope he is able to find a good use for it.
Saturday July 07. We got up early for breakfast, packed, emptied the rooms, and moved everything out of the hut so we could start the "clean sweep" to leave the hut as we found it. The lads did a sterling job, and I think the place was, if anything, cleaner than when we arrived. The proprietress arrived as we were finishing up, and drove into the hut area with her cleaner lady as passenger, as several of us were still walking around naked. As she got out of the car she said with a smile, "have we arrived a little early?" She was clearly unconcerned with our (non-)attire, and proceeded to go through the last formalities of handing over the keys and final local tax payment collection in good humour. Asking us to recommend the hut to our friends, perhaps we might come again, and waving us a friendly goodbye, we took our leave reluctantly, as the comfortable hut had temporarily become a home from home for this singular week. Our car convoy snaked down the long forestry road for the last time towards the Bahnhof, before we all separated and began our various journeys, by plane, train and car, heading back home, or onto new horizons. We'd had a great week, been extremely fortunate with the weather and had enjoyed some good company. A superb weeks' naked hiking tour for all of us to remember for many years to come. Just one last thing, if you wish to join any future trip, remember to call me "Beni" ;-)
STOP PRESS: A week after we returned from this year's Newt, we heard Steve Gough had been released from Perth prison. He was met by a small crowd of supportors and a journalist. As he came out, it transpired that the police had a new remit - not to automatically re-arrest him on the spot. This is progress of some kind. Steve then proceeded to walk south. He continued over the next several days in a southerly direction, camping and walking naked, taking in the hills and valleys of the Scottish summer, heading steadily towards the English border. We wish him the very best of luck!
Newt reports from this year's participants: