Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Corsica provides great end of season trekking

When you mention Corsica to walkers they always think of the famous GR20 long distance trek that takes the rocky spine of the island. However, there is a whole lot more to Corsican hiking than that, and in fact my latest visit in mid September confirmed my own feelings that the GR20 is not really the place to be right now.
With a small and very fit group I had 6 excellent days of hiking. It was unseasonally hot - more like August temperatures than September, and unusually for Corsica it was also quite humid. But the upside of this was that we could hike at any altitude without being cold, and the swimming opportunities were a delight.
It hadn't rained for the whole summer though, and the rivers were amazingly low. The water supplies at the huts were also worryingly low and this led to problems on the GR20 - reports of illness were becoming more and more common, especially towards the middle of the trek.
It seems to me that anyone going on the GR should aim to filter or treat water supplies, especially later in the season.
I no longer offer the GR for several reasons, one of which is the number of people on this route. From what I saw it was pretty crowded this September, although the hut guardians told me it had been quiet all summer until then.
Friends doing the route whilst I was over there told me many people gave up at the midway point, having become ill and also having found it very tough going. I am told the huts were low on food supplies - probably because there were too many people there in September.
So I am very happy that we were not doing the GR. we touched on it a couple of times, and my group told me they were relieved not to be spending the week following the red and white waymarks with everyone else.
There is so much more to Corsica than that. We did several summits, none of them big names, but all giving great views and none crowded - in fact most days we saw no-one else on the trails!
We also spent a night at a gite on the beach, and took in a very remote hut far from any crowds at all.
Corsica is a brilliant place - if you go there take the time to discover all aspects of the island, and to get to know the people and the culture.

No comments: