Category Archives: Walks

A long days walk..

After doing my warming up exercises for the GR20 at the weekend with Sally. I thought it might be interesting to have another look at my GR5 walk last year.

Day 7 was one of my longer days. I left the excellent Chalet de Nant Borrant (1460m) at 07.45. By 10.43 I was atop Col de la Croix-du-Bonhomme (2483m). I negotiated the very narrow path on Crete des Gittes and arrived at Refuge du Plan de la Laie (1815m) which was going to my finish at 12.28.

Since it was a pleasant day and still so early, I thought, I would do the next day as well. The thunder clouds were forming as I arrived pretty exhausted, after all the bouldering, on the Col de Bresson (2469m) at 16.37.

I raced down the other side to arrive luckily at the Chalet de la Balme (2009m) at 17.10, just before the storm broke. A lucky escape.

Total ascent was 2193m and descent 1683m in a 23.4km route. according to memory map.

Here is the route plotted in google earth:-


Days 20&21 Auron – Roure – St. Dalmas-Valdeblore

Yesterday was another long day, 23miles with over 5500ft of ascent due to me being told that one refuge was closed and the other full.

I started with another piste, going up the hard way, to Col du Blainon then a lovely descent to Roya (whose gíte apparently has the best chef on the GR5) it then turned into a hard slog upto the Col de Crousette where you then have to continue climbing upto Stele Valette at 2590m (the last time over 2000m!), couldnt see The Med as it was to hazy, after which a further 5 hours of walking bought me to Roure, where Karen had booked me into the delightful Auberge Le Robur (003393020357) which literally clings to the hillside overlooking the 2000ft drop to St. Saveur- sur-Tinée. The chef rustled up a masterpiece veggie meal for me. A good ending to a hard day.

Today was lets take it easy day with a mere 10miles and ‘only’ 2600 feet of ascent mainly on tracks with several bar stops on the way.

Only two more days left now tomorrow should be Utelle and the then its Nice on Monday. Each day having around 2000 feet of ascent.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650

GR5 Days 18&19 Fouillouze-Bousi?yas-Auron

My grand tour of Alpine ski resorts continues with a stay tonight in Auron 1600.
Yesterday was an epic day of 7.5 hours walking in a day out on the road of 10.5hours. I covered 21 miles with ascents totalling 6200ft or so. Chris, I did arrive knackered at 7.15 but actually very exhilarated too. Standing alone on the Pas de La Cavale (8763ft) surrounded by 1500ft feet drops on both sides and the most incredible views, total silence and failing light was magical in the extreme. It was my lucky day as well, the guardian at Bousiéyas was serving veggie food, even though the refuge guide said no food was available. I was contemplating having to break into my sardines!
Peter, not sure wether it was brave or foolhardy. Never contemplated any experience as bravery, I guess it was a word missing from the West St. Vocabulary but in hindsight it was a good decision and lets face it probably safer than nipping over Hills Road to the Co-Op. (btw great news about the new hip walking 14miles in a dayand no more Docs for 4years.)

Todays walk from Bousiéyas to Auron via St. Etienne-de-Tinée was epic for a different reason. Its the first time I walked back on my self after going wrong and restarting the trip!
I covered about 15miles with 3500ft of ascent in totally glorious conditions. I just want to stay wandering these southern alps. The flatlands of Cambridge are going to be really hard – 1000ft climbs are mere pimples now.

Todays thought for the day was why the Alps I’m crossing are made of such rubbish materials?. My Creswellian days of walking on pit tips and slag heaps is the best training for over here. Not a decent bit of millstone grit or granite in sight. Its all crumbly shale and small rocks. Which is why the path keeps on disappearing into landslips – which adds to the scare factor if you happen to be day dreaming 🙂 I bet this is the first time The Alps have been compared to pit tips – Interestingly it also contrasts mans puny efforts to the forces involved in pushing up a few hundred miles of shale to heights of a couple of miles or so.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650

Day 16 GR5 Aiguilles to Ceillac

I (or more precisely the hotel owner) arranged for a taxi to pick me up at 8.30 and to drop me up off at Cháteau Queyras to resume my perambulations on the GR5.

My left knee still had twinges of pain so I breakfasted on Nurofen super strength pills and vowed to take it easy and stick to the track!

The cheese mountain (Col Fromage) starts of steep but is well marked and soon turns into a nice easy ascent of just over 3000ft the knee behaved itself and the weather was kind too (although I must get another hat if it starts getting sunny – lost the last one somewhere). Looking back across the valley I could see the full extent of yesterdays disasters – I must have been mad. Check out Googleearth to see the crags and slopes i was trying to turn into a shortcut!

The Cheese Col has a false top so I thought I was on my way down when I met a party of walkers, on their way up. They recgonised me from last night at the hotel (they were doing bits of the GR58 which apparently takes in 8 countries of the Alps from Slovenia to France see they dutifully informed me the Col was still to come!

I made it to Ceillac in fine form at 1.15pm AND DECIDED to stay 🙂 .

I’m now a couple of days ahead of myself so hopefully will get a flight a week on Thursday 28 Sept. and be back in time for the CRUFC lunch on Saturday and maybe a drink at The Pig on Friday night.

Sent from Geoff’s Treo650