Category Archives: GR20

Day 7 refuge de Manganu to refuge de Petra-Piana

Saturday 23/06/07

Set off today at 5.53am as usual we started off with a very long never ending Ascent up to the highest point on the GR20, the Breche de Capitellu, at 2225mGR20 137.

It took us 2 hours of walking to reach this point and the views were magnificent,especially of the 2 beautiful lakes.

The path down to the Refuge was very steep and stony, full of alder scrub and wet under foot in places.

It was a difficult walking day again today involving a lot of climbing scrambling and bouldering.

 I found it both mentally and physically very hard.. Geoff raced ahead of me all day today which did not help.

I have now been walking for 7 days the longest I have ever done in one stretch and over the most difficult terrain as well. GR20 148

Looking back we decided we should not have come down to the refuge but we should have carried on and done stage 8 today as well.

The refuge at Petra- Piana is a small one and sits on a small base held down with cables.It rocks if its windy…. which it did so I am told… people even screamed but I just carried on sleeping…

Day 6 Hotel Castel di vergio to Refuge de Manganu

Friday 22/06/07

An early start after a much better sleep in the tent. GR20 135

while packing the tent away the guy next to us told us that a fox had come into the camp site and had spent ages sniffing round our tent… all I can say is that I was glad I was asleep by then !

We had a good breakfast at 6am and was on our way by 6.30am

It was a much cooler day today which was nice after the heat of yesterday.

It was almost like aGR20 127 normal days walking, with little rocks and hardly any ascent or decent, so you could stride out for a change.

At times it felt like being in cowboy country as there was a lot of horse riders about who galloped past with no care for any walkers.

We also had a nice stretch along the Lac du Ninu.

We saw some fantastic trees too that had been molded by the wind.

It was a very easy days walking taking us 6 hours to reach refuge de manganu.

While at the refuge a group of horse riders turned up making a great sight.

Day 5 Auberge U Vallone to Hotel Castel di Vergio

Thursday 21/06/07

After a very restless night in the tent ( sleeping in a tent takes a bit of getting used too,especially when 2 are sharing a one man tent )

We woke up later than usual and got a breakfast too.

first thing I noticed today was that I felt a little more relaxed as to me the hardest day was over, I could stop worrying about the Cirque nowimage and just enjoy the rest of the walk.

We finally set off at 7.30 for an easier days walking , we hoped.

The first part of the walk was through the pine trees ,a gentle steady climb before turning steep and ending with a scramble up to the top of the Bocca di Frogiale.

It was very hot today and walking by the golo river gave us plenty of opportunity to go skinny dipping,in all the wonderful rock pools,with fantastic waterfalls too

As it was so hot the last stretch to the hotel seemed to take forever , so it felt good to finally get there.

Free camping here and warm showers too.

Day 4 Haut Asco to Auberge U Vallone.

Wednesday 20/06/07

Although we slept in a nice bed I didn’t get too much sleep as I was worried about today’s walking. The guide books says ” this is the day many walkers dread, indeed  some walkers have been known to slip away down the road rather than face the Cirque de la Solitude.” GR20 094

There was never any question of me slipping away down the road but that did not stop me from feeling a little scared.

We were up early as we had breakfast booked for 6am, but that was not to be as by 6.30 the hotel had not opened for breakfast.

So we decided to leave with out our breakfast, we had stocked up with bread and cheese the night before and had some chocolate too so would be ok.

I don’t work well with out breakfast so it was a very slow start made even worse as I was very worried about what lay ahead at the top of this long slow climb.

The last half hour was a very steep and rocky climb to a  gap known as the Col Perdu, it took usGR20 093 21/2 hours to reach this gap. 

I remember taking a look down into the Cirque and thinking “shit” what am I doing here.

It was nothing like walking you had to climb down to the bottom using chains at the hardest parts… I shook like a leaf all the way down and Geoff even had to swear at me …lol. one false move and I felt I would be dead. so you can imagine my relief and delight when I finally made it to the bottom in one piece.

We thought this was the end of the cirque only to find that after a small walk we then had to climb out the other end with the aid of chains and a ladder at one point. Must say climbing out was far easier than climbing down.

It took a total of 3 hours to get into and out of the Cirque, an experience I will never forget.GR20 116

We then had a long descent down to the refuge Tighjettu but we decided to carry on for another half hour to reach Auberge U Vallone as we had heard the rock pools were to die for.

We finally reached the refuge 7 hours after setting out.

We decided to use the Tent tonight and pitched it right next to the river and a fantastic rock pool where we spent the whole afternoon swimming and sunbathing.

( I think I had been right not to carry on yesterday and I think I just maybe heard Geoff say that the Cirque was indeed a hard day but i don’t suppose I will hear him say it again )

Day 3.. Refuge de Carozzu to Haut Asco

Tuesday 19/06/07

Woke early today and the guardian had left us out a breakfast (6 euro )the coffee was most welcome.

Not really sure what to expect from today as there was a lot of talk about the spasmata slabs.

we left at 6.25 am

After a steep decent we came to the spasimata suspension bridge . something IGR20 052 had been looking forward too.Glad to say at that time we were the only walkers around so there was no hurry and we could cross it one at a time.It was great fun but did wobble and sway quite a bit.

Next came the slabs, nothing like I expected infact it took me a while to realize I was actually walking across the much talked about slabs.The give away was the cables attached to some of the rock.Care had to be taken but as the weather was good we had no problems.

We then had a steep and rocky ascent until we got a great view of the ski station at Haut Asco.

This is when Geoff got his brain wave…. instead of doing the very long and rocky decent down to the ski station he wanted to carry on and do the next days walking as well. This maybe would have been a good idea apart from the fact that the next day was The Cirque de la solitude.

On one hand I could see his point, as by carrying on we would not have to drop down then climb back up tomorrow morning but on the other hand as I didn’t know what to expect from the cirque (and was quite worried about it )I wanted to be nice and fresh for it after a good nights sleep in the hotel.

So I insisted we carry on down, although I was real mad at myself and wish I felt different about it.

It was a long and very rocky descent to Haut Asco I questioned myself over and over again wondering if we should have carried on.

We finally arrived at Haut Asco at 12.20 .. 6 hours after setting off.

Had a room booked at the Hotel chalet so enjoyed a great hot shower.

My legs ached a little and I had hot spots on the bottom of my big toes.

Day 2 Refuge d’ortu di u piobbu to refuge de Carozzu

Monday 18/6/07

Today we had an earlier start, woken by the other people getting up and ready for the days walking.

After a good nights sleep and feeling happy as I had not found day one that hard, I was looking forward to the days walking.

We set off at 6.20 am, little did I realize that this was going to be a much harder walk.cropppppppp

Infact we spent very little time walking today, most of our time was spent climbing, scrambling and bouldering…. all things I have little experience with.

So it took us 7 hours to reach the refuge, I was worn out and craving sugar….this was to be the day my love affair started with Corsican Cola.( a drink I never usually touch)

 we did think we might use our tent tonight but the ground looked so hard and stony we decided to stay in the refuge again.

The showers here were very basic but you had plenty of room to move about in them.

The Guardian of the refuge did a great 3 course meal for 15 euro. and I think he took a liking to me as Geoff got his wine for free 🙂

Day 1…Calenzana to refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu

Sunday 17/6/07


After arriving in Calenzana late on the Saturday night we stayed at the Hotel Monte Grosso, which was an experience in its self.

We were up early and eager to be on our way but decided we had to have breakfast first.

while waiting for breakfast we saw many walkers setting off . I could see that Geoff was getting restless and knew if I had said “lets go” we would have been off with no breakfast., but for once I kept my mouth shut.

We finally got on our way at 8.30, I was excited to finally be on our way but also a little scared as I was unsure of what to really expect as I had never done this kind of walking before.

Much to my delight ( as I knew it would please Geoff ) we soon caught up and over took most of the walkers we had seen setting off while we waited for ouGR20 018r breakfast.

First part of the walk was fairly easy and we saw many lizards scuttling about, then between Bocca a u Saltu and Bocca a u Bassiguellu the walk became more difficult with a fair amount of scrambling.

The ascent down to the refuge was a welcome stretch and we finally got there at 14.30pm,  6 hours after setting off.

To our surprise the refuge was very busy with many people camping.

We decided to have a bed inside the refuge on this night.

On this day I had sweated so much all my clothes were just dripping wet, it was very embarrassing.So even the cold shower was very welcome.

How it all began……

Before I start doing the blog posts about my GR20 walk , I thought I would let you know how it all came about.

I have been an active member of the Ramblers Forums for a few years ( though not so active now ).

A small group of us had got together over the years and tried to meet up every few months or so for a walk.

Around October time 2006 we were planning a walk at Castle Acre, we always posted these walks  on the forum to see if we could get any new walkers coming along.

At this time Geoff showed an interest, and did eventually come along , Caroline and Ellee came along with him too.

After this walk Geoff and I started meeting up often for a walk, as I had showed a great interest in walking longer distance. In the first month we met we walked about 120 miles.. 🙂SallyandGeoff006

At about the same time I had posted on the forum about wanting a walking holiday in 2007…… if you read through the thread you will see Geoff suggested the GR20, at this time I thought he was joking and didn’t really take much notice.

As the months went by and it was mentioned many times I slowly began to think maybe just maybe he really did think I could do this walk.

Then we went off to the peak district for some walking , where I got my real bad blister.

After this I changed my boots and got a ruc-sac , now I really began to think I was going.

We did some more training in Wales then 2 trips to Les Gets  in the french Alps. Before I knew it I was in Corsica walking the GR20 having the time of my life ,thanks to a  chance meeting with someone who has changed my life and given me  opportunities I never ever expected to get.

I still wake up every day and pinch myself to make sure its real and not just a dream 🙂 🙂