I wasn’t sure about the GR20 in Corsica. I don’t like rough, stony, bouldery paths either in Britain or beyond. I experienced it a few times in the Pyrenees and I was irritable and irritated. I want to walk, I said to myself, not pick my way across rocks watching every step.

Corsica has a reputation for being rough. I decided to trek there however, and take a look, because you can eat in the huts and camp beside them. This was the first day, walking from Calenzana to refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu. It’s a long uphill route supposedly quite arduous but I didn’t find it too bad. I particularly enjoyed the distant sea views, making me think of Greece and Crete in particular where I walked some years ago.

My first night was appalling. I’d not slept well for days, I’d woken horribly early for a flight, and I’d been traveling for hours. I desperately needed sleep and didn’t get it. The camp site was beside a road which surely, I reasoned, would quieten down in the evening. It didn’t quieten until after midnight and there was loud party music in the distance.

The next morning I didn’t feel too bad, which is always my concern. Tiredness for me is seemingly different to how it is for most people. If you’ve ever taken sleeping pills, that’s a good comparison. I only have once, in hospital, preparing me for a minor operation because my blood pressure was high. It’s a strange artificial tiredness where you can’t think, function, walk; more illness than a natural feeling.

I enjoyed the first day, full of new impressions, making comparisons with other mountains. There was a delightful fragrance I’ve only experienced previously in Greece. I kept gazing back at the lovely Mediterranean shimmer which was another reason I’d come to Corsica. Walking beside the sea. That should be nice, I thought.


Corsica GR20: Near Calenzana

Wednesday September 9, 2015