Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 13j

Ascent – 1,413m. Distance – 31.4km

I drop down from my peaceful hilltop meadow into a ‘zona industiale’ (which visits of about 3 factories and some fairly average house) but there is a pretty big road here – two lanes – so I scurry on back to my hills.

But I am plagued!!! No mist. No rain. No wet feet. How can my creative juices continue their lament. But wait a minute. Oh yes.

The blistering sun beats down relentlessly on my parched back. Sweat pours from every vein. I wonder if water exists anywhere in these hills or will I have to resort to sucking the sap from trees (I think I saw Bear Grills do this once). I fear if I stop I might never get up again Survival is key now.

Truth is it’s just gorgeous with the light breeze tickling my legs (yes, I’m in shorts for the first time since day 2). For the first time I sea the Med glistening far below, toy boats mulling around The port of Savona.

A mountain biker glides by and I wonder if I’m jealous? I certainly am of the luck of weight he has on his back compared to me. But from my own experience on a bike you travel through the location, rarely absorbed within. So to solve my problem I decide I need a donkey!

The carnage of the winter storm remains, slowing progress drastically as I try to weave a route between the branches. I fear for snakes in the undergrowth but brambles and scratches are more the norm. At least it breaks the monotony of a long climb! I hear a chainsaw far below and begrudgingly wonder why he isn’t up here. I guess clearing the path doesn’t put food on the table.

I Am spat out onto a forest track, a welcome for once after the tangle and wander through a sensitively managed area of commercial beech.

Later in the day – course I want his bloody bike!!! He”ll be in the bar right now and where am I…

Later still – lovely evening with Mog, Jas & Jase. So no photos for now!

Trekking the Alta Via Dei Monti Liguri – Day 12

Dry boots & socks. Porcelain. A shower. A cup of Coffee. Ahhh. Sometimes the little things.

Ascent – 1033m. Distance – 28.7km

Refreshed after a night indoors. The morning resonates with birdsong and tranquility. Vicious storms over the winter leave the trees a tangle of fallen branches. Makes for slow progress as your scramble up, over, through, round. Miles of it. Very glad I wasn’t around that day! I weave a path as I ascend once more into a friendly mist – warmer and more comforting than of late.

Wind turbines keyholes into the forest canopy amongst some great napoleonic battle in times forgotten. Were the trees here then?

Down through woods into a delicious valley of wild flowers. Decide to stay here. Then a swarm (or whatever it is for them) decide this was a stupid idea so onwards and upwards once more to a gorgeous meadow higher up. IN THE SUN. Yes, I even got down to tee shirt only (well, I still had my trousers on) for a few minutes. But actually relaxing outside for the first time Duce day one. Lovely.

A few snaps below on the Panasonic G9

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 😉