Sallandse Zandloper Trail
Sallandse Zandloper Trail (FKT)
On May 25th 2019, I will be attempting to set the FKT on the Sallandse Zandloper Trail (NL). The trail was recently posted on the FKT website by Olaf Soons and covers 45 km starting from Holten in the National Park 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' to the village Olst at the Ijsel river (Eastern part of The Netherlands). The trail is only 15 min from my doorstep, and I was looking for a longer training run when I came across the trail on the FKT website. The current FKT, set by Olaf Soons, is 5h28m. Thanks to Olaf for providing a gps track.
On Saturday May 25th 2019, I completed the Sallandse Zandloper Trail in 3h53m, bettering the previous time by Olaf Soons of 5h28m. Link to Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/2396409764
Many years ago, I looked out of an airplane window as we were preparing for landing in Schiphol, The Netherlands. I sighed and thought to myself, this country has nothing but pancake flat and rectangular meadows. Fortunately, that was not entirely true and it turned out that there are some non-rectangular forest areas as well - the National park 'Sallandse Heuvelrug' being one of them.
'Zandloper', you guessed it, means as much as Sand runner, and you do encounter a lot of sand on this trail. Soft sand, hard sand, white sand, grey sand - all the kinds of sand. Unfortunately, there is also about 8 km of paved road somewhere in between.
For me the 45 km long trail divided into 4 sections. The first section is beautiful single trail in the forest. Make sure to enjoy this part because as the trail continuously looses elevation (from 65m to 1m elevation), it also looses it’s beauty. Section 2 is a mixture of single trail and forest roads, part three is mainly forest roads and meadows. By the end of section 4 I had seen plenty of meadows and cows.
If you want to give it a go, this might be useful:
- The trail is well marked, but I would bring a gps nevertheless. Some of the markers are overgrown and can easily be missed. On a few occasions you will cross open fields and without gps I would have been lost (I didn’t bring a map). I also biked the trail the evening before to get to know the course (not sure if bikes are allowed though).
- As far as I can tell, there is no possibility to refill water or to buy food along the trail. I brought 1.5 liters of water with me. 2 liters would have been better, but it was a very sunny day.
- At this time of the year you will inadvertently encounter ticks, lot’s of them. The trail passes through hip-high grass.
- The trail comes by some farmhouses. Most farmers have dogs that see it as their job to protect the land you are about to cross. One German Shepherd dog followed me for almost a km. I stopped running and walked slowly.
- At the finish in Olst there is a supermarket. I had a cold 'Chocomel', which tasted extra nice after the run.
That’s it. It’s always nice to find some new trails in your neighbourhood. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to see the Sallandse Zandloper Trail on the FKT website. To me, FKT’s were always on routes like the John Muir Trail, Nolan’s 14 and not on some random trail in the East of the Netherlands :). Still, I had a good time out there and would have not heard about it otherwise.