Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 11

Back with a Vengence. Ok, a bit strong maybe, but I’m over half way!!! Thanks to everyone for the ongoing amazing support.

Ascent – 1106. Distance – 27.6km

Days with rain in a row – 10!

Image – don’t knock the buff!

Does anyone like packing wet camping gear away? Me either. Especially when already wet when set up! At least it meant I was on my way by 7:30am. Short of water I did need to refill…

Am afraid there was little to show for the early start though, as a lack of solar meant the camera stayed in the bag. Oh, and the mist so thick it left you hair drenched. But to show you just what a day it was I Add below the photo of the view on a billboard – and then what I saw.

Apparently the views to the Med are amazing!!! But even without the big views the atmosphere out on the open hill was exhilarating . I could wish for no more. UNESCO protected geology – with my word for the day…

…cryoclastism. Something to do with freeze thaw rock fracturing but who cares with a word like that!

Oh yes. It’s everywhere. Along with other pretty cool exposed rocks stuff too. I’ve got Wuthering Heights & “beware the moon, stick to the road” going on in my head.

Storm damage had felled trees across the path as I headed down the hill – big drop form well over 1000m to 400m – which led to a confusion of routes but eventually I am down. (Feet acing badly.) The storm must have been immense.

As I seek refuge in an auberge to dry my kit and regather my senses after a few mind draining days. I meet Andrew, a Scottish eco-builder and cellist (what a combo) from London! Thank you for the blether and sharing some of your time/thoughts/ideas. “Be eco – don’t buy it or build it!” What a lovely guy. Isn’t this what it’s all about! (And far more comfortable than the tent;-)m

Image – Chair

Image – Bath

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 10

Lack of sun stops blogging fun!

Ascent 1165m. Distance – 28.3km

Sorry folks. But with all this weather (that’s 9 days rain on the trot) the batteries are low so emergency rations.

Was what we call a “dreech ok’ day” in Scotland. Indeed, I could have been there. Should reach half way tomorrow 😎. Passed over the two main artery roads heading north from Genoa and an amazing natural park with stunted pines and limestone. Will be back.

image – Damp Camp (

Image – Whiteout!

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 9

Luxury Accommodation!!! When a storm comes in, the temperature plummets and the wind is howling, to find this is like a 5 star hotel!!! (Smell not exactly perfume but I can forgive it this time!)

Image – 5 star hotel!

Ascent over 1000m and about 28km but strava in protest again.

Also had a dream bean stew Mog had given me. What a result. In sleeping bag thawing. Glad I swapped my down jacket and socks for thicker ones now.

Image – in down sleeping bag with down jacket on!

The day itself, aside from walking with Mog and Zed for a couple of hours was uneventful, mainly skirting Genoa With the hills lower and less extreme than up til now. And buildings everywhere. Two towns even. What is this! I hasten onwards and upwards to my retreat in the hills.

Photo wise, A few building details, a big road and a storm shot but aside from these little to show I’m afraid

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 8

I’m sure even Levison and Fiennes have a day off every now and then!

I just love the formalities of washing kit and mending bits!!

Image – my clothes release a concoction similar of the Thames outflow in the 18th century!

So what’s been the facts so far

  • Distance travelled – feels like I should be there but only a third of the way
  • Ascent – Everest every day, up and down, would be a breeze on this
  • Feet – constantly reminding me of the stupidity of this latest quest
  • Scenery – I live for this
  • Photos – the dilemma of walk or shoot. A life time of venues already. (Especially trees)
  • Tics – AHHH!!!! 20 in a 5 minute sit. Still itching. Like midges, does ANYONE think they add anything?
  • Italian – still woeful. Why am I so stupid?
  • Starting – I made it!

Mog and Zed came over on resupply and a donder round a lake (at last a flat walk with no pack). Warmer kit swapped in (a hunch) and homemade food for next couple of days (instant noodles and peanut butter tortillas suck;-) (you were right Alex!)

Of the Alta Via, if the is but half of what I have done (and I know in parts it is at least as good) All will have been worth it one hundredfold

Please remember I am doing this for charity so if you are able any small contribution would be a massive help. .just click HERE. Thanks

Check out what we’ve already raised and the impact it will have. It’s amazing. Thanks to everyone who has contributed – makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Met some lovely young – so young – migrants from Africa too. So friendly despite having so little. IGoing through “processing”. Fingers crossed for you guys.

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 7

What a difference a bowl of pasta makes!!! But more on that shortly.

Ascent – 1139m. Distance – 28.4km

Today is my dads birthday. When he was angry he used to stick his tongue out. (You had to bite your own not to find it slightly funny.) But that was him at his worst and I don’t think I saw him do it in his last ten years. He was genuinely the most affable person I think I have ever met. He could fill a room with laughter, harmony and fun. He had no agenda. Not once did I see him actively set out to harm anyone. The only thing he ever really did wrong was leave. He just was and is my dad. Happy birthday and thank you.

Now, before I short-circuit the electronics on my phone as I have a little (happy) weep, about that pasta!!!

Image – purple iris taken a few days before I left at our house – my dads favourite flower (Mum will kill me if I’m wrong)

So maybe a diet of peanut butter tortilla and instant noodles isn’t as wholesome a balanced diet as I was thinking. Last day or so I have been a tad weary of leg and foot in truth, putting it down to cumulative impact. then I come across my first proper village (Scoffera I think) with a truly delightful cafe/restaurant in the square (more street actually). . Aside from a Refugio thats 7 days away from almost any habitation – I’m like a kid in a sweet shop.

And what a result.

Pasta con pesto to die for. It was that good. Washed down with pudding and two coffees. (At this point I should note that I weened myself off coffee before leaving for fear of caffeine withdrawal headaches). My god it was good. Sooooo good.

Having met the delightful Bruno and – eventually – paid the very friendly staff (I will return for sure) I was off again. Reluctantly (maybe I could just stay a day or two and take up Bruno’s offer to stay over and meet the English guests he had coming and see his garden).

Now the hills were still there but suddenly seemed flat. I strolled them. Romped even. Energy bursting from every pore. Cooking on gas – ney induction! The afternoon, still no bimble , became a pleasure. I was flying again. Souring above villages way below. Up in the clouds. Laughing and living. With my dad.

Good Food. Deliverer of heroes. Or was it the coffee… or just a freak. Time will tell but for now, pasta, food for kings. I’m back 🙂

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 6

The horror (whose idea was this anyway)

Ascent 1495m. Distance – 500 miles (felt like), 24.5km (actual)

The day started by slipping into the stream as I refilled water. Wet , bruised and with a little blood I looked on this tenderly later in the day!

Image – by the big drop

Some days are just tough. Hopefully now past tense for the trip. My entire body was no lover talking to me. Screaming would be more accurate. I think the stream incident put me in a psychological downer.

Image – a brief break in the clouds

The ascents were vertiginous. As were the descents. Probably good I was in the clouds as thee drop a metre to my left was endless. Even my beloved beech trees seemed more foreboding than til now.

Image – I still love them

So what was good? Well it didn’t rain (didn’t need to I was already wet). I am staying in Barbagelata – what an awesome name. I didn’t take a step to the left. And it didn’t rain. Cheese puff crisp things before even more noodles (I also snuck in a bit of chocolate with them). And I spoke to Mog.

Jeez – all that good. I’ll stop whinging.

Ps late update – the lady with the key to the Refugio took pity on me on the porch, opened up and let me stay inside – for free!! Life is good.

Images below – my luxury accommodation of last night and this ( tonite I am under that table)

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 5

Ascent – about 1000m distance – about 23km (strava didn’t work right 😦

A day where superlatives were not sufficient. More unbelievable Tolkienesk woods swirling in the mist, the rain and the sun. Few big views though due to clouds.

First proper scramble and an exposed moorland where I was very happy the clouds weren’t downat that point. And I got to walk with Mog and Zed who were on resupply duty. Can’t get much better. Tired so few images rushed off the camera below, all on the Panasonic G9 with Leica 12-60mm

Last image on iPhone – drying kit after rain last night and this afternoon. Gotta take your chances!

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 4

Ascent – 961m. Distance – 14.9km

All images Panasonic G9 with Leica 12-60mm (minimal post production in Camera+ on iPhone so don’t expect too much)

Swallows alarm clocked me at 5:30. I’ve had worse. The rain less inviting. But a short day today so wets on and off I head.

Now Scotland does rain. But I swear the drops are bigger here. And wetter. And last longer. By the time I m at top of hill it’s whiteout – which is when it all started to unfold. I followed the direction signs painted on the rocks and trees and started my descent. But the Refugio didn’t appear so I checked. And I’m off the wrong ridge. About 1000ft down. Cold. Wet through. Clouds started to clear and sure enough, by the time I’m at the top again the “other” Alta Via sign was now visible. (Why have the same sign you ask, well trust me so do I!)

But for all the pain by the end of the walk had shot the following in sublime woods. They defy description. I only wish I wasn’t freezing and shower wet through. Worth every second of the error though. (Especially now it’s over and I’m dry and warm 😉

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 3

Ascent – 754m. Distance – 31.2km

Woke to a cool misty start. I hate packing away wet camping gear! Short steep ascent to a viewless summit basking in clouds so quickly shuffled on. Big descent (after all that effort getting up here) through humblingly evocative beech woods (appreciated even more today).

Image – passage of Beech. G9 with Leica 12-60mm

Then into the pines.

Image – amongst the pines. G9 with Leica 12-60mm

before coming out into the open alongside and undulating along for some time. Scenery to amaze and enjoy.

Image – looking down. G9 with Leica 12-60mm

Sun came out so washed (probably starting to hum a bit) and dried kit. And discovered a new favourite trail food. Recipe – take one soft tortilla (wholemeal organic) and smother one half in peanut butter (crunchy). Add hazelnut chocolate pieces. Fold in half. Devour like a ravenous beast! Boy does it set you up for the next stage!

Image – top trail tucker (before folding). iPhone

Peeked my head round the door of an abandoned shed and saw a large beautiful house for sale for €25k (there are so many unloved in and for sale).

Image – work surface. G9 with Leica 12-60mm

Then the thunder started. First behind them all around. Not like UK thunder this. Deafening. Over a minute long at times. AND LOUD. With it rain, though not heavy. The trees cocooned me and I felt safe and privileged.

After a long last hour – my own fault for dawdling with the camera and going the wrong way and having to backtrack -(maybe my wife and Mum are right when they say I daydream as the track has markers in line of site almost constantly!) the advertised shelter is a welcome relief as cooling off towards the end. It even has an alter and nesting swallows to keep me company. No need to even put up the tent. Luxury.

Image – My home for the night. A shelter complete with open fire, nesting swallows and alter. iPhone

Just finished at the foot hospital – tending blisters and aches. Thanks be for Compeed second skins. Soon I will have covered my feet entirely in them!!!

I lie in bed listening to the swallows arguing as a cuckoos voice echoes across the valley.

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 2

Ascent – 1167m. Distance – 21km

But forgot to turn on Strava first thing (doh!) so probably add about 100m and 5km

Up at 530 for a Sublime dawn.

Images taken on Panasonic G9 with Leica 12-60mm. Unprocessed.

Solar panel recharged battery which had in turn recharged camera and phone last night. Slightly smug & v pleased on this.

Beautiful morning high walk in the foothills before a hunt for water – when found the rain began. Along with huge thunder and lightening.

iPhone image – me sheltering under a picnic table waiting for rain to stop.

Mixed sun and drizzle accompanied a long haul to 1500m where I now camp amongst a humbling beech forest.

iPhone image – humbling beech forest!

Thunder rumbles on though a ways off. Can’t entirely say I want it any nearer! Also Signs of wild boar but old so let’s hope they haven’t returned – this spot would have been in snow 2 weeks ago!

Only 100m to summit in morning. Then an alongy bit. Nice. If the thunder stops!

In bed by 7:30pm. Tired, so all for now. (Note to self – don’t spit camelback tube under sleeping bag with me on top of u want to stay dry!)