Spend 3 weeks trekking one of Europe’s most spectacular and challenging trails, the GR 20, on the mountainous Mediterranean island gem of Corsica. Scale the heights of Monte Cinto, descend through the scented pine forests to cool your feet in the azure Mediterranean at the end of a satisfying trip.
In an attempt to minimise the environmental impact of this trip, we will be travelling to Corsica on France’s world class rail network, and then Ferry to Calvi in the north of Corsica.
The expedition will be led by George Ormerod. George has been walking, trekking and climbing for over 20 years, with the passion for the outdoors ignited in the Venture Scouts and as an assistant scout leader. George has organised independent trips to the Alps, Iceland, the US, artic Canada and Bolivia to indulge his passion for trekking and climbing. When not in the mountains, George lives in Darwen, Lancashire, with his girlfriend occasionally finding time between trips to work in the Oil Industry as a safety and risk consultant.
WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Corsica is a stunning Mediterranean island located west of Italy, southeast of France, and north of the island of Sardinia. It is known as the “Scented Isle” or the “Island of Light”. The backbone of the island is an impressive range of granite mountains soaring from the cobalt blue sea to twice the height of Ben Nevis, the highest peak being Monte Cinto – 2706m, with at least a further 50 peaks over 2000m.
Whilst Corsica is one of the 26 regions of France, bought from the Italian state of Genoa in the 1700s, the Corsicans remain fiercely independent and the island has a unique cultural identity of its own that sets itself apart from France.
The challenge is to complete the near legendary Grande Randonée, GR 20, a long distance route that traverses Corsican mountains that run almost the entire length of the island.
In an attempt to minimise the environmental impact of the expedition travel will be by Eurostar and TGV train from the UK to the south of France before catching the ferry to Calvi on the northwest coast of Corsica. After enjoying the sights, acclimatising to the Mediterranean heat and stocking with some final supplies, we will travel by bus to the trailhead at Calenza.
The 14 day trek will include rest days for re-supplying and an opportunity to explore the island further, including an attempt on the summit of Monte Cinto, 2706m (8876ft), the islands highest peak.
The finish of the trek is at Conca in the southeast, some 170km and 19,000m of ascent and descent later. A couple of day’s relaxation on the beach and in the sea is included before catching the return ferry from Porto-Vecchio back to the south of France and finally the UK.
ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?
The GR 20 has been described as one of Europe’s hardest trek. Whilst it is a physical challenge in a demanding high mountain environment, with the hardest sections tackled first, the 14 day trek will include rest days for re-supplying and an opportunity to explore the island further. Days will involve walking between 6 and 8 hours over a range of terrain from gentle forest paths to steep rocky scrambles, camping overnight near mountain refuges. The first three days are particularly tough, relentlessly ascending and descending. The expedition is therefore ideally suited for people with a reasonable level of fitness, some experience of hill walking & camping and a good sense of humour.
WHAT CAN MEMBERS EXPECT TO GAIN FROM THIS EXPEDITION?
Members will be able to develop their skills trekking in a European mountain environment, such as self-sufficiency, organisation skills and team-working alongside specific skills such as trip-planning; kit selection; camp craft and basic navigation. Members will be given the opportunity to develop their skills as a day-leader if they wish, by being responsible for daily route-planning and provisioning for the entire group.
This expedition may also be suitable for sections of the Duke of Edinburgh Award (authorisation required)/John Muir Award.
Packing / training weekend(s): When, where and what?
Prior to departing there will be Training weekends [in May and July (Dates TBC) in the Lakes/YSES location?] giving members the opportunity to meet, check kit and do some backpacking and scrambling in preparation for the trip.