This is where I was walking with the girl from Quebec. We began to see Refuge Carozzu in the distance but it was seemingly never closer. Eventually I could hear people talking, probably drinking beer I said. If the birds are singing, she said, that means the rain is stopping. A few minutes later, well, maybe they were looking for shelter.

This was a good place for photographs. The opportunities were limited, however, because of the weather. What do you call that over the mountains? Mist perhaps, but I would call it cloud. Ah good, she said. It seems she thought mist was a problem but cloud was not.

I ate at six thirty at the refuge on my own. Pyrenees huts are sometimes flexible if you arrive late. It seems Corsica huts routinely cater for staggered meal times in the evening. How is it, a chap said whom I’d met the evening before. Rather boring, pasta with a watery tomato sauce. There was one good meal in the huts about a week later, such that would I enjoy at home.

The chap was from Ireland and, it transpired, a second British army doctor and in fact the two of them had trained with each other. He was moving fast, finishing early and doubling up days. I met two French chaps in the Pyrenees once, doubling up the days of the Spanish GR11. I was struggling to complete a designated eight hour day, taking at least ten hours for it. They were finishing that day and another in twelve.

Refuge Carozzu is described as an amazing location. It probably is. The outlook however is a surrounding forest with quite a small opening at the front. There are tents at Corsica huts which you can hire. They use the Quecha brand. The British party were in the tents. They were booked at the refuge but there was a problem with bed bugs. A week later a French chap told me a story about a woman who was bitten, reacted, and taken to hospital. Possibly in a helicopter; I don’t know.

Last year in the Pyrenees a German woman had to descend to a valley and hitch to a village for insulin. She too was a doctor. I asked her where it’s good to walk in Germany. She told me the name of the highest mountain. I won’t remember that name, I said. She rejoined her party two days later.

My problem in the mountains is food, energy, and exhaustion. I was severely sunburnt once, my face swollen, one eye closed, the other only half open. I don’t use sun cream. I’ve learned to cover up more assiduously, hat and shirt, resisting the temptations of sunshine.

 

Corsica Mountains: Above Carozzu

Friday September 18, 2015