We’ve now started planning properly our Big Walk for 2009: The GR5 from Geneva to Nice (not the extension from Holland to Nice!).
It all started with a Cicerone sponsored podcast with Andy Howell interviewing Paddy Dillon. We listened to it on the way to Wales for the weekend. By the time it had finished, we were thinking we’d just have to do it. I’ll have to have words with both of them – it’s not cheap this walking in France malarkey!
725km/450 miles in distance, 40,000 metres/130,000 feet of height and inevitably, 40,000 metres of height loss, which is the real killer. So that’s 40km/25 miles up and down, or four and a half times the height of Everest.
The guidebook that Paddy has written was only published late last year so it’s probably hardly been used by anyone so far. Which seems to be true since there are a couple of little mistakes that we’ve told Cicerone about that they’d not noticed before. (Expect an Updates tab on the page for the guide book soon).
At the moment we’re thinking five weeks should cover it. That’s already a week longer than Paddy gives it. But his days are pretty chunky by our standards and we’re not racing here. The longer the better. So it may yet be stretched…
Working as freelancers (IT for me and Translation for LB) certainly has its perks. For everyone else, try The Four Hour Work Week. It’s a great read if nothing else.
|We’re planning on doing it hut-to-hut so I’ve already covered a lot of my ideas on that in the series of postings on the Haute Route.
Though there certainly will be some little improvements to the kit to mention. I’ll be aiming to carry as little as possible to make up for my lump of a camera.
However the big difference here is simply the fact that we’re away for so long. There are all kinds of odd things to consider.
Most house insurance only covers you for thirty days away from home. Most travel insurance doesn’t cover a trip that long. A pair of Terrocs should be good for 500kms… so even starting with nearly new ones (I’d always try them for a couple of weekends) is going to be pushing a point. How do you carry enough memory for that many digital images? (How do you find the time to develop them afterwards?). Carrying a total of twenty one 1:25,000 maps would weigh a couple of kilos – that had to be re-thought!
As ever, we’ll be walking with some of the usual suspects from previous Big Walks, but only for the first twelve days.
Few other people are free enough from commitments to be able to complete the whole trek. It might seem odd to be starting on a honeymoon with friends – but we’ll have most of the time there on our own. We’d have liked to have been able to invite some more people for the first section, but booking in to the huts in high-season is tricky at the best of times.
So, as we keep saying to people, never mind the wedding, think of the honeymoon!
I really, really can’t wait…