Spurred into life by the other thread. I thought I might copy his template...
My girlfriend kept a long diary of the events and thoughts but since it's 5:41am she is still asleep but I will try to update the post later.
Having never done anything more than the South Coast trail the GR20 was a bit of a shock in places. But we completed it all (no peaks) on schedule and managed to take in some of Corsican couture.
We made the decision to fly to Ajaccio and take the train. On balance given the fees (35 euro for taxi, 2x12 for train?) and the difference in cost of the plan flights it was well worth it. Also the train trip through the centre was amazing. I would say the train trip (Ajaccio-Pointe Leccia, then bus I think) was worth the diversion in itself.
As I previously mentioned we had no massive walking (bar day walks) or scrambling experience.We took Paddy's guidebook and aimed to finish the whole thing in exact ammount of time in the guidebook. We were both very fit (gym=10+ a week).
I had some pre-SportsDirect Karrimor GTXs which did surprisingly well, one of the laces went (they were about 10 years old, so clearly used a lot ...) on the last day and was duly replaced. My girlfriend bought some a pair of North Ridge Corries. I poured with rain in Ajaccio the day we arrived and her boots leaked. Luckily the rest of the journey was dry barring some streams. But I would not recommend them.
Tent: Big mistake. Go Lite Shangri La 3. Great space. Easy to put up. But wants loads of space for pitching, which funnily enough we didn’t have. d’Ortu was especially windy and we didn’t get much sleep which was a downer and at de Prati I got now sleep and ventured into the refuge for a kip (and rightly was charged 5euros). Out of jealousy I bought a MSR Hubba hubba which seemed the order of the day on the walk.
We came with two rat packs each. Not needed to be honest there is food everywhere and you are not going to get stranded in the middle of summer. We stocked up on some chocolate spread and some biscuits in the Carrefour in Ajaccio (should have bought multivits…). We also bought a variety of food along the way. Asco has loads of food and generally there were chances along the way to buy all manner of stuff. We probably did get overzealous buying bread at Asco which filled up a lot of our packs making them a bit unwieldy at the Circque. But there was bread all along most of the route so it’s not required.
We each managed to get our plane boarding packweights to 13kg. Which is still a bit heavy. We washed clothes every day and had a headway of about a day on underwear. The contrast on my split trousers really showed how much I hadn’t used the bottom. Like Duncan I have a full kit list so if you want to know give me a shout.
6. Bergeries de Ballone – Castellu di Verghio
7. Castellu di Verghio – Refuge de Manganu
8. Refuge de Manganu - Piana
Some of the highlights:
I have others but the list would go on forever.
We took a day off in Corte, but kept our packs on. The second point made most of the day quite arduous! We took them off to go into the museum in the citadel but after about 2pm we were clutching at straws as to what do to do. But do have breakfast at Café Cassonova. AMAZING Corsican biscuits/cakes.
We had “a lot” of time so we stopped off in Porto Vecchio (not worth it, other than a staging post) and also spent some time in Bonaffacio (well worth it). In Bon we rented a bungalow for two nights which was an excellent decision (and also the cheapest). It was nice to have creature comforts back. We also had a two nights in Ajaccio (one day effective), we bought presents from the Carrefour and binged on food at Le 20123 (ironically the food you would have at the bergeries, but we didn’t eat much in the refuges to save money)
We aimed to complete the whole GR20. Discussions on route and niggling injuries meant that we ignored the peaks in order to do the whole thing. I don’t think this was a bad idea especially when injuries are of concern nor with the benefit of hindsight would I have like to have sacrificed a day on Bonafaccio.
No worries about the copy and paste Fred; I've shamelessly linked to my report:
GR20 - June 2011
Sounds like you also had a great time. A tent with a small footprint for pitching is definitely a good idea. Food really is no problem all the way along, in terms of getting lunch to take with you at the start of each day and provision of an evening meal.
As for the Cirque: I think it's a matter of confidence and sure-footedness. I can understand why some people find it harder than others but there is nothing technical about it and so I think it is largely down to whether you enjoy or feel confident going down steep rocky bits. The only reason I nearly came a cropper on the Cirque was when some idiot above dropped a metal sigg bottle, which came flying down straight at me but thankfully when it hit it was empty.
At the end of our walk we had a couple of days in Porto Vechio. There's a campsite right at the start of the town near to where the bus drops you off, which is basic but fine and is very cheap. We really enjoyed PV, especially around the old square and on the beaches, which are a short ride out of town.
It’s not all hill walking and Kendal mint cake
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