Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Cool walking in the Mercantour, France - a quick escape to Roya in the Tinee!!

Escape from the canicule - or the carnage, after yesterday's tempests - on the French Riviera!

The crazy weather this year has created extra special conditions here - the above picture was taken last year looking down on Vignols on our way over to the Refuge de Longon after a day trailing on the impressive sphinx-like Mount Mounier.

This year - and like an idiot I didn't take the camera - the landscape is just so verdant (much more so than the parched picture above! - and rich with flowers and water pouring every where.

From the Tinee valley, the village of Roya is just a short, if narrow, drive up the valley.  There's not a lot there but there is a welcoming looking gite d'etape - Ma Veille Ecole - which has been run by the same family since 2006.  We'll be giving it a try soon! 

The GR5 takes you down to a river where picnic tables in the shade looked very inviting.  The GR5 winds slowly and non aggressively up through forest so you have plenty of time to catch you breath and enjoy the Alpine flowers

You pass an area on the other side of the gurgling water, which is ideal for ice climbing in the winter - although there is now of course the artificial ice tower in Le Boreon in winter months for novices and non novices to have a trial out on before getting into big nature - and also have the security of having a bar next door!!

The path eventually comes out onto an open valley plain where marmot were scampering around giving us their best warning whistles, apparently oblivious to the 100 or so (yes a 100 or so - it's not a typo!) Griffon vultures which were leisurely circling over head.  Straight out of Lord of the Rings.

As it was hot, we only had half a day, and no real fixed agenda we just pottered about admiring the "micro" stuff - the flowers, butterflies, stunning weird insects, scat (including wolf scat), bone remains ...... and eyeing up possible venues for wild swimming.  A delight!!!

The feel of the terrain is so different from the Vesubie, and we at spacebetween are very keen to get some short breaks together so that guests can come an enjoy the mix of some classic GR - Grande Randonnee- walking, some excellent off piste walking and of course the pleasure of being well fed and watered at the end of the day!

This is still - great walking - only an hour and a half from the Cote D'Azur - (and 50 minutes from us in Berthemont) come and de-stress in the mountains. Rejuvination in a flash.

And thanks to Leslie Frasier and friends of Les Chats du Mercantour for the lovely picnic lunch in their field following our wee randonnee.  For cat lovers, Leslie does sterling work for wild cats in the Alpes-Maritimes, running sterlisation schemes and a massive re-homing operation for all sorts of beasties.  She lives in Saint Etienne de Tinee - if you wished to visit, or foster/adopt cats needing a kind owner.

Get in touch for some ideas for day walks or much longer!!!  

Spacebetween - 00 33 493034857 - 00 33 678304929
Accommodation and walking holiday in the Mercantour National Park and beyond!!

Photos - top - Vignols from above - bottom - Mounier in the distance setting out from the Col de Couillole - in 2012 - dry grass!!

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