: Reet Grand Randonnées
- 19th November 2008
as it seemed to us, it is over two years since the BOOTboys
temporarily metamorphosed into Les Garçons
de la Botte (see BB0625).
Time, therefore, for another French encounter;
this time with Bryan added to the team. This did
cause us some worries as we anticipated that his greater
ambition might mean that we might actually have to climb
uphill rather than letting the buses do the job for
us. We were not wrong!
15th November 2008
airport excelled at the speed at which it delivered
our luggage and what might have been a tight timeframe
in which to catch the bus to Menton, proved easy.
bit of excitement en route. Police everywhere
on the way into and out of Monaco, including the bus
being stopped and the passengers inspected. No hint
of why they were so interested.
Arrived Menton in time
for sunset on a glorious Riviera November day.
also to stock the fridge with Tony's essentials.
cheese and ham for Tony!
to Le Stanley for dinner. Told the waitress that
one of our group was, in fact, Stanley. I had
hoped it might have more impact than just having the
proprietor coming over and merging the two participants
of a famous meeting with the comment “Stanley Livingstone,
I presume?” No doubt the trick has been tried
before! The meal (€22 menu) was ok but the portions
were rather small and the tradition of the complimentary
grappa or limoncello was not observed.
16th November 2008
a bit of culture.
was an interesting watercolour exhibition
in the Palais de l'Europe- paintings of
old Menton and the area.
Next, the ascent of the Annonciade.
intended to take the group up by the Winter Palace,
there to pick up the Chemin des Rosaries-
the old steps to the chapel with the Stations
of the Cross at regular intervals.
chose the wrong road and ascended to the Summer
Palace instead which turned out to be a cul-de-sac.
Bastion at Menton
However it gave Tony the opportunity to ogle an
Africa Twin and me to photograph a long abandoned car
by a No Parking sign. On the bonnet (click on
photo to see front view) it said ARLANE. But I
can't find anything about a car called Arlane. See
and the Africa Twin
up the Route de Sospel, I found a set of steps I had
not seen before- quite a brutal climb, really, before
meeting the Chemin des Rosaries and reaching the Annonciade. I
think the boys were impressed. It is so serene
and the views are inspiring.
tried to explore the crypt which gave rise to Bryan
remarking on it being a KrypTone Factor challenge!
to the town, at the market was a lady walking her ferret
and a Chihuahua with three puppies. I am not sure
if they were for sale or if the stall holder had just
brought them along to look after them.
lady with the ferret
chihuahua and pups
lunch on the terrace we climbed up through the old town,
newly gentrified but still with electricity cables all
over the place, up past the old cemetery, past a strange
motor bike with two front wheels to the Trebuquet
motor bike with a spare front wheel!
Outside, there is a sign announcing
a commonwealth war grave but we could not find it. However
there were many graves of the French fallen, particularly
of the first world war, plus some Italians. Given
that Menton was little touched by that war other than
having its Belle Epoque hotels commandeered as nursing
homes, we thought it likely that many had been brought
there from the fronts to convalesce but did not survive.
Menton and le Roc de l'Ormea
continued along the Boulevard de Garavan to the olive
grove park where there were lots of families, some seemingly
hosting birthday parties for groups of children.
was a lovely evening.
night’s meal was at the Moroccan restaurant, Le Taureg.
Tony, a die-hard steak and chips man, was persuaded
that a lamb tagine with vegetables would not kill him.
He even discovered that cous cous is actually
edible and subsequently confessed that this was actually
his favourite meal of the whole trip.
17th November 2008
we had feared about having Bryan with us came to fruition.
Somehow he talked us into an early start for the
bus to Sospel from where we would walk back along the
GR52, taking in at least one Munro sized peak.
hills were looking splendid with the remains of the
autumnal colouring glowing in the sun. We got
a good view of the old railway viaduct- what a trip
that must have been.
old railway viaduct from below.....
and higher up
the bus was a Canadian couple who were planning to do
the same thing. Except they did not have a map
and had been told that it was an easy four hour stroll.
Our guide book, a Rother serious one, suggested
six hours. Indeed we were a little concerned that
we might run out of daylight, particularly if we took
too many detours. We left them at Sospel looking
at the times for the return buses.
with its washing
from the GR52
temperature was distinctly colder and the sky was quite
veiled as we set off to find the start of the route.
We made a couple of mistakes- the waymarking is
not always very clear when it needs to be- but Bryan’s
expertise with the map quickly got us back on track.
It was a pleasant if unrelenting climb through
lightly wooded countryside with excellent view of an
increasing number of snow capped mountains.
back to the North
this point I need to comment on our attire. The
day before we departed we had been to the Lowe Alpine
Factory Sale and kitted ourselves out for the trip.
So here we are posing for our Lowe Alpine team
picture, each of us pointing to the logo as proof! Will
they sponsor our future overseas expeditions?
Lowe Alpine Team Picture
to the Maquisardes
passed a memorial to some Maquisardes who had been executed
by the Germans and reached the Col du Razet, the watershed
from where we could begin to see the Mediterranean,
glimpse of the Med
We were contemplating what had happened
to the Canadians when the he part of the couple
appeared. The she part had done the commonsense
thing and gone back by bus whilst he had done the commonsense
thing and bought a map. We saw quite a lot of
him over the next couple of hours, an interesting character
whose first language was Hungarian, second French and
third English who was attending a medical software conference.
probably wishes our companion had gone back with the
lady. For a while we were some distance ahead,
then Tony took off a layer of clothing and in the process
unwittingly dropped his glasses case. Some distance
later he realised what had happened. Bryan saw
this as an opportunity to do a bit of fell running and
volunteered to dash off back for it. Whilst Bryan
was missing, our Hungaro-Canadian friend came by. When
Bryan returned with the glasses case, Tony discovered
it had been stepped on and his glasses broken. So
who might have done that? It was not exactly a
day was improving progressively and the views were spectacular.
west from the GR52
parted company at the Col de Berceau. We had not
yet bagged a Munro and, even though time was slipping,
the Roc de l’Ormea was crying out to be climbed. It
was with some trepidation that I approached it as the
guidebook said that hands were necessary. Not
so on the way that we went up. Steep and rocky,
yes, but not difficult. But what views! This
is the hill that is just inside
the boundary between Italy and France and dominates the bay. 3,714 feet
high and only two miles from the coast.
the Roc de l'Ormea
from the Roc
route down seemed long and, apart from the Plan de Lion
plateau, unrelentingly steep. Tony spotted a Praying
Mantis that took a shine to his boot. Bearing in
mind their mating habits, when it started crawling up
his trouser leg, he started to get worried and brushed
It was getting quite
dark as we reached Menton. Somehow, just below
the motorway, we took a wrong turning down a very impressive
metal staircase and then a, fortunately, illuminated
path before rejoining the GR52 on the Boulevard de Garavan.
reaching the promenade, it was time for Tony’s reward
for all the pain we had put him through.
a little café and settled down, largely and unusually
at Bryan's insistence, for what Stan
termed an “elegant sufficiency” of grand bières
before heading for the one restaurant guaranteed to
provide red meat- La Boucherie.
Four lots of steak
and chips. Good chips, nice sauce but sadly the
steak was poor- old camel, Stan called it.
one goes on the best-avoided list.
18th November 2008
weather had gone off and it was much cloudier with mist
on the hill tops. We caught the bus to St Agnes, the
highest coastal village in Europe. The drive up
the winding roads would not disgrace a fun fair. The
original plan had been to climb the Cime de Bausson
and continue round the back of the hill to Gorbio. However,
after the exertions of the previous day an easier day
was essential! Consequently we decided to take
the direct route to Gorbio via the GR51. But first
we took breakfast at the Sarasin restaurant- a welcoming
fire and a very happy proprietor, cheered by the opportunity
to serve up yesterday’s stale bread as toast!
we examined the Maginot Line fort then climbed the castle,
one of my favourite view points and quite a steep little
challenge. Unfortunately the central keep was
closed so the panorama was not complete. Nonetheless
the medieval garden is delightful (and extended from
when I last visited).
Agnes from the castle
really is a superb
vantage point, even though visibility was not what it
had been the previous day.
Roc de l'Ormea and Menton from St Agnes castle
had a different type of challenge on the GR51.
way was blocked by an electric fence.
To stride over
To crawl under like Bryan?
Or, in Tony’s case, to limbo dance
Or do as I did ?
Simply unhook it
with the insulated handle!
crawls whilst Tony limbos
Agnes behind us.....
and Gorbio ahead
stroll was nice and easy and would have taken little
more than an hour had there not been some climbers tackling
the cliffs whom the boys wanted to watch for a while. Personally
I do not like watching rock climbers- they make me feel
quite strange. Rather them than me!
the restaurant in Gorbio is only open on Sundays through
the winter so we had to eat at the bar, Les Terraces, on the other
side of the square. Tony was happy enough- more
steak and chips but our ravioli was sauceless and decidedly
we had finished we were joined by Jilly- the lady who
runs the Menton
Daily Photo, an
excellent website in which she publishes photographs
and anecdotes of “One of the most Beautiful Towns on
the French Riviera”. She really ought to be given
the Freedom of the City, or whatever the French equivalent
might be, as the promotion of the town through her photographs
is far more impressive than the official town website.
I am taking a picture of Jilly.....
Jilly is photographing the BOOTboys
return to Menton by road or bus was the final decision.
No contest; the bus won. In the evening
we dined at Le Bistro du Jardin, overlooking the Biovès
gardens that were built more than a century ago over
the Carei river. Excellent.
19th November 2008
had been warned that today was Monaco’s independence
day so there would be lots going on. However it
was our day to go home so to make sure we didn’t miss
the plane we caught the bus an hour earlier than might
otherwise have been the case. Of course, Le Chatelier’s
principle, or as we know it, Sod’s law, applied. Monaco
was creepily quiet. Lots of flags but no traffic. Record
time for the journey to the airport!
was an otherwise uneventful journey home to a cold and
damp Cumbria. Still, we have happy memories of
“reet grand” randonnées to keep us motivated
until we can next get out on the fells.
19th November 2008
know this is similar to one above, but I like it!
from Finland followed the link from Menton
and identified the car as a Simca Ariane,
not an Arlane.
A forgivable mistake
on my part, I think, given the evidence!
But thanks to Pasi for solving the
find what happened next, see Aftermath
An arbitrary rule, but only those walks
involving a Grande Randonnée
have been counted!
For the latest totals
of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let
me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
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This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us,
or to have your @ddress
added to the notification list of new BOOTboys reports, click on
- BB0801 :
Avoiding the Graupel;
- BB0802 :
Lyth in the Old Dogs;
Tuesday 22 January
Sunday 27 January
Tony's Memory Lane;
Wednesday 30th January
Thank You Mells
The Langdale Skyline
and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Thursday 21st February
Askham Fell and
the Lowther Estate;
Thanks to the MWIS
Wednesday 19th March
High Street and Kidsty Pike
but no Fairy
Prelude to Spring
Wednesday 2nd April
Spring in Lakeland
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
What's It All About, Tony?
The Hidden Mountain
The Bowland CROW
High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
The Northern Tip
The Bannisdale Horseshoe
Black, White or Grey Combe?
Thunder on the 555
We'll Give It Five
Thursday 10th July
Shelters from the Storm
The Big Wind-Up
Third (and wettest) Alfie
A Visit to Mud Hall
- BB0828 :
The Tale of Randy Gill
: Mosedale Cottage Revisited
: Mist Over Pendle
: Luncheon Chez Monty
Thursday 2nd October
: Escape from the Madness
: Only on a Thursday
: Reflections on Thirlmere
: Reet Grand Randonnées
- 19th November
: Back to Real8ty
: Ladies Invitation Day
: Helm, direttissimo
: Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
- BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
download a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!