On Saturday Matt went to the World Finger Board championship in Schwarzenbach, an essential experience for anyone who like seeing German youth culture accompanied by a soundtrack of ear-splitting Public Enemy. Great steal from Sonic Youth too.

Fast Fingers 19 was won by a fourteen year old Italian, so there’s hope for us all I guess. Footage on Black River You Tube whatever that means.

All the other contestants were drinking bottled Becks and Paulaner, so craft clearly hasn’t got to northern Franconia yet. I presume the Italian was on the Prosecco.

I’d earmarked this as the day to do a marathon walk before throwing my old boots away; a cloudy day walking modest hills between unknown villages on decent footpaths.


And some very attractive villages too, with Schwarzenbach itself a real gem. Outside the frenzy of the industrial estate housing Fast Fingers, the pace of life was slightly more soporific though.


A place with a dozen bars and restaurants, modern art, tractor and comic museum, and decent public loos, it looked deserted on Saturday lunchtime. Everyone was in the supermarket, a quaint concern serving free Danish pastry with coffees, and 35 varieties of Pils.

Six miles into my walk I stopped at a basic little bar opposite the parish church with a bushel outside and those magic words Zoigl (pronounced Zoigl. cf Erlanger Nick).

This turned out to be a bottled unfiltered beer from Monschof, a larger brewer, but it tasted decent to me. The landlady played the fruit machine while the radio played “De doo doo, de da da da” and “Walking on the Chinese Wall“, the first time I’d had to endure that in 30 years too

After half an hour a mum brought her two sons in from the contest for beer and chips, an unlikely lunch stop I thought.

I fancied a change of scenery walked the five miles through what would be designated “quiet lanes” in England. Here that applied to 95% of the roads, particularly as those tell-tale farmland smells heralded Volkenreuth (pop 40 cows).


The Volkenreuther Wirsthaus was a simple old fashioned dining room, the owners shocked by my arrival at 1.45 on Saturday lunchtime. How do they survive ? Paricularly with Schnitzel, salad and a small Pils for £7. Great head on the beer too.

The main walk took me round the large lake of Formitzalsperre, about the size of Wakefield’s Newmillerdam.

Again not a visitor to be seen, bar a handful of campers cooking their wurst. It’s not the Lake District certainly, but there’s enough scenic variety round here to justify  a visit.

That set the pattern for the remainder of my 27 miles, which would have taken in the Braukeller Stelzer, but everyone there was dressed as a pirate and I chickened out.

I couldn’t find a dustbin big enough for my smelly boots so had to take them back on the train to Munchberg.  Apologies to passengers still recovering.


  1. Curious: How do you plan your marathon walks? And do you have a map?

    Brauerei Scherdel is independent of Mönchshof. I’ve never seen Scherdel Zoigl, might be quite good indeed, as Scherdel is just fine IME, limited though my E with them is.

    I’ve forgotten what you told me: was there a Zoigl sign hanging outside or summat? Could be that the place used to be a real Zoiglstube, back when the village had a communal brewery. And so they keep the idea alive with the bottled stuff, although they became a Mönchshof place. Could look this up if you have the name of the village handy.

    Meinel is an interesting brewery: a couple of sisters took over for their retired or deceased Braumeister dad, IIRC. And they’re in on the whole “craft” thing now. But their standard beers are excellent, including some sort of low-gravity session lager or other that I’ve had once or twice.

    So you ran into some interesting beer on that day out.


    1. I enjoyed the bottled Zoigl; saw an advert for outside 2 Monschof places in Schwarzenbach a.d.S; the one I went in was opposite the main church but names hard to detect !.


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