Well, despite the fact I’ve still got several half-written GR5 write-up postings… Here’s the start of the Big Walk 2010 postings: Corsica, the GR20. It’s around 190 kilometres long with 12,500 of height gain (and loss).
We’d considered going straight on to the GR20 from the end of the GR5 but realised that we’d rather just take our time meandering about on the GR5 instead. Which was certainly the right decision. After all, it’s not about how far you go or even where you end-up; it’s about the journey itself.
Although the GR20 is often described as “the toughest waymarked route in the world” it has to be noted that’s “waymarked” route (I think Paddy mentions exactly that in the podcast). By the sound of it, many “walkers”, including us, do more technical scrambling routes in North Wales, albeit for far shorter distances. None the less, it’s probably not the long distance route to be starting on as a novice walker, unless perhaps you’ve done some scrambling.
Once again we’ll be using Paddy’s excellent Cicerone guide book and taking a TopoGuide number 67: GR20: À Travers la Montagne Corse (from The Map Shop – as usual). The TopoGuides worked out very well on the GR5 since four of them cover the whole route. I’m also getting a couple of 1:100,000 scale maps to paw-over whilst planning and to get a feeling for how the whole route fits into the island.
It looks like the most practical way to get there will be to fly into Nice and then take either a ferry or a local flight over to Corsica. Which will mean we’ll be effectively picking up the walk from the point where we left it last summer.
As last year, a couple of the Usual Suspects from other Big Walks will be joining us for the first sections before leaving us to complete it at our leisure.
Paddy outlines the route at fifteen days of actual walking. Add on another day each side for travelling to and from the start and finish points and you’re a couple of days short of a whole three working weeks. So we’ve decided to stay for those extra days to give us contingency on the route itself as well as some time to explore the more inhabited parts of the island once we’ve finished.
I’ll probably make most of the postings for this walk retrospectively since, on the one hand, I’ve not even finished the GR5 set and on the other, I like recording not only what our planning was but perhaps more importantly how that planning actually worked out in reality.