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Down on the farm, up in the air, and over the moon!

22 August 2018

Participating in Engelberg’s summer programme can be life-changing. Thanks to my mountain guide’s motivational skills, I am able to fight off my lazy inner demon and climb much higher than I ever thought I could, and my daughter and I spend carefree hours on the farmyard.

Early in the morning, my daughter and I arrive at the Winkel farmyard run by the Scheuber family. The group of around 20 children and their parents are excited to find out what awaits them here at the foot of the Hahnen. One small girl is searching everywhere for “les vaches”. But the cows spend the summer up on the mountainside meadows, of course! However, there are plenty of other things to see – and learn!

In the chicken pen, one of the hens is calmly laying her egg. “We’ll go collect that later,” says farmer Helena Scheuber. “We can use the yolk to brush the tops of our home-made loaves.” Helena has already prepared the dough so that each child can make their own plaited loaf or dough animal during the baking session later on. 

And there is a cow here after all! Helena shows us a calf that is just one week old. The children stroke the adorable baby and give it their fingers to suck. Right next to it is another kind of animal to discover: a little goat kid named Caramel, who is actually on holiday with its young owner here at the Scheubers’ farmyard. 

Later, while the loaves the children shaped are baking in the oven, we wander around the farmyard at our leisure: making a fuss of the animals, playing games like throwing a tennis ball to knock down a pyramid of cans or hammering nails into wood with as few strokes of the hammer as possible, or simply frolicking around. We parents sit in the sunshine and watch our children enjoying themselves. I don’t need to heap any more praise on this wonderful morning at the farmyard. One family is here for the fourth time, and there could hardly be any greater recommendation than that!

Climbing at the Sporting Park

After that restful morning on the farm with my daughter I get some time for myself. But this activity is much less relaxing – I’ve signed up for a climbing course at the Sporting Park. It’s time to get physical!

The course participants are a mix of children and parents. Under the watchful eye of mountain guides Daniel Perret and Thomas Odermatt they are testing their mettle on the climbing wall. Some of them are doing this for the first time, some are pretty well practised, and others are like me – somewhere in between.

I want to try out the simplest route to start with, but Dani persuades me to take on a more difficult one. Full of nerves and self-doubt, I work my way up the wall. I quickly cover the first few metres, but soon my arms start to feel the burn. 

Halfway up, my lazy inner demon takes over and I call down: “That’s enough, thanks. You can let me down now.” But Dani is having none of it, and he coaxes me further up the wall. He allows me to take breaks, but there’s no way he’ll let me give up. His motivational tactics work their magic (my technique of pulling a little harder on the rope might have helped too!) and to my astonishment, I finally reach the top.

I feel euphoric. It’s a tremendous sense of achievement. Like many other climbing course participants, I feel inspired to take on a real climbing adventure some time soon. 

Family Program

Text & image: Andrea Hurschler
Andrea Hurschler, a native of Engelberg, is a nature lover. This summer, she was impressed by the range of leisure opportunities on offer in and around the village. Participating in the Summer Programme was just like being on holiday for the mother of two.