Désalpe of the Saint Bernards
Désalpe of the Saint Bernards – continuing a centuries-old tradition
From 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. on 26 September 2015, Barry Foundation staff will be accompanying their dogs on their autumn désalpe, their ceremonial descent to Bourg-Saint-Pierre following a long summer spent in their original home at the top of the Great St. Bernard Pass.
The Barry Foundation owns the world's oldest breeding stock of Switzerland's national dog, having acquired the breeding kennels with their famous Saint Bernards ten years ago from the Augustinian canons of the Great St. Bernard Hospice. Every summer, the foundation lets a number of its dogs spend some time in their original home up on the Great St. Bernard Pass. Numbering 35 in all, the dogs are now to spend the winter back together in Martigny, where they can be visited every day at Barryland, Musée et Chiens du Saint Bernard.
The Saint Bernards have enjoyed an idyllic summer in the slightly cooler temperatures up on the pass. Over 25,000 people visited the hospice kennels this year too. With two hikes every day accompanied by around 800 walkers, tricks to practice with their handlers, and guests to welcome for photos and strokes, the time has simply flown by.
The Barry Foundation is now inviting all dog lovers and anyone who is interested to accompany the Saint Bernards on the 12-kilometre descent from the pass down to Bourg-Saint-Pierre. Over 250 years ago, the dogs would walk this stretch every day in the company of the marroniers (hospice volunteers) searching for anyone lost on the mountain. In other words, this is a unique opportunity to rediscover a slice of history and help walk the dogs – who are dressed up for the occasion – for part of the route.
Between 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m., hourly buses will take visitors from Bourg-Saint-Pierre up to the hospice. There is no charge for the bus transfer or for participating in the désalpe. You can sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s where to meet the Saint Bernards in the winter:
Barryland – Musée et Chiens du Saint-Bernard
Every day: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. incl. 31 December 2015 and 1 January 2016
Closed 24 and 25 December 2015
Rue du Levant 34, 1920 Martigny