In 1911, a teenage J.R.R. Tolkien set off "on foot with a heavy pack" into the Bernese Alps. Accompanied by a party of 12 family friends - let’s call it a fellowship - he spent several weeks crisscrossing the highlands in what turned out to be one of the most fateful treks in the history of English letters.
While the region was already of literary interest, notable as the place where Sherlock Holmes 'dies’ at the hands of Moriarty, the landscape proved an even greater influence on the young Tolkien. Never in his life would he see mountains of that size again, and for the next 50 years, his memories of them shaped the richly imagined world of Hobbits and Orcs in The Lord of the Rings.
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