BB0917 : BOOTboys Encore!

This was not originally intended to be a BOOTboys trip.  But when Margaret decided she was unable to accompany me to Menton, the prospect of five days alone painting walls didnít entirely seem like fun so I enquired if any BOOTboy would like to use her flight ticket?  I was delighted when Pete responded to the challenge.


Thursday 28th May

Arrived early evening and had an excellent pizza at the Vesuvius in the Place du Cap after an evening stroll along the harbour wall.


Friday 29th May

We caught the bus to Gorbio where we took a team picture under the old olive tree, in exactly the same place as the one in BB0836.  


A typical Gorbio passageway

Team  Picture, Gorbio

The creche

After an exploration of the old town and examining its Santon creche, we followed the GR52 to St Agnes- the reverse of the route taken on BB0625.  

Farewell to Gorbio

Pete on the trail

St Agnes comes into view

Sweet Peas on the trail

Lovely countryside but, as largely uphill, it was not surprisingly a little more taxing in the strong sun.  

The view from Le Rigi

We were therefore ready for lunch at Le Righi, where we sat on its balcony with stunning views from the highest village on the littoral down to the Menton coast.

A climb to the old castle is mandatory for me when at St Agnes.  I was pleased to find that it was fully open again after the restoration work.  What a viewpoint.

The view from the old castle

Sadly the Maginot line fort was not open so we carried on along the GR52.  

The path down to Monti

St Agnes from the rear

The path meanders down through lightly wooded hillside before emerging at Monti.  We contemplated continuing to Castellar but thought we had had enough for the day so opted instead to drop down to Haut Carei where we caught the local bus back into town.

The stream  crossing rest point

Menton by night

Dinner on the seafront at the Exocet.  Excellent fish!  Then viewed Menton by night, the church, as ever, looking magnificent.


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Saturday 30th May

This really was a working trip as the photo of Pete in his elegant gear proves!  The apartment wall was painted and then I took Pete around the old town plus the cemetery, naturally paying respect to William Webb Ellis.  Lunch at the Balico was a very good Omelette Mentonnaise.

Peter the painter

William Webb Ellis

We had arranged to meet Jilly of Menton Daily Photo fame that afternoon.  One of my favourite places in Menton is the Annonciade and I had suggested to her some time back that the climb to it, along the Chemin de la Rosarie with its Stations of the Cross, could make an appropriate set of pictures for her website.  Do visit it; it is far better at portraying Menton than the town's official one.

It was interesting watching her at work, photographing all sorts of things and people en-route, often from strange angles.  What I had thought were Stations of the Cross, however, didnít make too good a subject.  For some strange reason I failed to photograph any of them so those interested will have to see them on Jillyís blog when published. They are small booths, a little like sentry boxes, with each station title illustrated on the inside by a Jean Cocteau style artist.  Jilly recognised who had done them but the name escapes me now. However, the illustrations are behind a protective grill so donít lend themselves to being photographed.  Also, several of the exterior of the booths had, sadly, been despoiled by graffitists.  Menton is nowhere near as bad as many places for this pathetic anti-social behaviour but there has been a fresh outbreak. The mayor is determined to crack down on it and force the offenders to clean it up.  If Pete and I had our way, these brainless idiots would have to do it with their bare hands.  And acid.  That would discourage them.

Notwithstanding the graffiti, it is a pleasant climb up the Chemin de la Roserie, past interestingly decorated buildings and some attractive gardens.

Detail from a frieze- click on picture for more

Approaching .....

Passion Flower

..... the Annonciade

Atop the small hill stands the Annonciade. Not only is this is a lovely viewpoint but I find the grounds to be so peaceful.  The church itself is very simple, with some fine stained glass windows- I particularly like the dove- and an attractive crypt with a small chapel.

The Annonciade interior

The dove

We (i.e. Jilly because she speaks the language) discovered that I had been quite wrong about the Stations of the Cross- the booths represented the Mystery of the Rosarie. Broadly similar in concept but covering the whole of Christís life.

The crypt chapel

The view past the fraternal hotel

Behind the Annonciade is a large building that used to be a hotel approached by a steep funicular railway- more like a lift really.  Sadly that is long gone.  I thought the building was a convalescent home for one of the French unions but it now seems to be more like a fraternal holiday centre.

It was good to see Jilly again and Pete enjoyed meeting her.  She is quite a character.

I canít remember the name of the restaurant where Pete and I dined that night but it is the one on the left had corner at the front of the Place du Cap- seems an Italian family run business and the pasta was good.  La Terrasse?  Tasty escalope aux herbes.

Again we enjoyed a nightime stroll around the port.  

What had been happening?

The port by night

Something had been happening on the quay, but we chanced on the party just as it was winding up and couldn't work out what had been going on.


Sunday 31st May

After painting the terrace walls, we set off for the dayís main event in Menton- a ďVide JardinĒ that I had seen featured in the local paper.  A Vide Jardin is a bit like a car boot sale (without the car) but focussing on plants and items for the garden.  It was the first time Menton had had one.  Or rather, it would have been had it existed.  We saw the "no parking" signs warning people that their cars would be towed away but no one paid any attention to them, no towing away was going on and more importantly there was a not a single pot or plant or person selling them to be seen.  The whole thing had been postponed to September, Jilly later told me in an e-mail!

We decided to walk along the coastal path to Monaco, starting with the promenade down to Cap Martin.  Lest any unkind person thinks that we chose this route because we were dirty old men ogling exhibitionist young ladies lying near-naked on the beach, let me report that there has been an outbreak of modesty on the French Riviera and gratuitous forbidden fruit were in very short supply!   It is simply the quickest way to the Cap!

Menton from Cap Martin

The journey around the rocky headland of the Cap it proved to be rather further than I had estimated.  We eventually reached Cabbé where there is a small beach café with a grossly inefficient waiter.  The Leek tart was worth the wait.  When it arrived I presumed it had been microwaved but the crusty pastry said otherwise- freshly baked in the oven. Excellent!

Click to see how to reach this house at Cabbé

A serene Princess Grace

We continued on our way to Monaco, slightly confused by a path closure that forced us to go via a prohibited bit of railway land.  

Monaco was still in recovery mode from the Grand Prix and many of the seating structures and crash barriers were still in position.

After a quick visit to the Casino and the Sky Mirror (see also this Van Gochian night shot) we dropped down to the harbour.  It was threatening to rain and when we chanced upon a bus back to Menton we dashed for it, successfully.

Reflection of the Casino in front of the stands

Reflections of two BOOTboys

Monaco harbour with some modest boats

That night I took Pete to Le Touareg, a Moroccan restaurant that is almost universally regarded by our friends as their favourite restaurant in Menton.  The tagines did not disappoint, nor did the tapas that preceded them.

Evening in Menton


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Monday 1st June

Our plan for the day was again to go to Gorbio but this time to follow the GR52 in the opposite direction to La Turbie.  However things soon started to go wrong.  The first clue was that the guardien was nowhere to be found in the apartment block.  Next, several of the shops and cafés were shut.  We arrived at the bus stop but the ticket office was closed, I paid no attention as I already had a multi-journey ticket.  But when the 10 a.m. bus didnít turn up I began to wonder if it might possibly be a fête day.  

How to tell?  I had a bright idea.  Phone a friend. Jilly. She should know and has the merit of understanding and speaking English (she is English).  I got out my phone but was surprised to find my battery was flat.  Pete got his out but was not surprised to find that he had no credit left on it.  So I was forced to speak to a local.  Fortunately the old gentleman understood my bad accent and me his.  Yes, it was a fête day.  Sunday timetables.  No chance of Gorbio to La Turbie.

I rapidly concocted a Plan B that would take into account the weather forecast of rain by early afternoon.  We would take the high road into Italy along the Boulevard de Garavan with all its fine old villas.

I have a distinct memory of this Italian border post.  On our first visit to Menton in 1969, we decided to take a walk into Italy.  As we had no luggage, the Italian border guard was deeply suspicious and asked us how much money we had on us.  £17 pounds, I told him. He was not impressed and thought we were vagrants and likely to be a burden on the state.  He marched us into the Capitanoís office and explained why we had been detained.  The Capitano just laughed and said ď£17?  Thatís millions and millions of lira! Come on in!Ē

The Italian border post

The Italian border guard's washing

These days no one is challenged and we crossed through to the hamlet of Grimaldi Inferior (so called as perched even higher above it is Grimaldi Superior).  In 1969 this area seemed very seedy in comparison with the smart French side of the border.  Nowadays it is quite upmarket with its stunning cliffside views.  

Menton from the border

Millions of cacti

We found a steep footpath down to the bay, past greenhouses with more cacti in them than I have seen in aggregate in the whole of my life!


Don as seen by Pete

I donít know the name of this little bay but I do like it as a contrast to the French beaches.  It is a relatively undiscovered, pebbly cove with what probably were once fishermenís storage huts on the shore, now used as beach huts. The sun was shining and there was no sign of the promised rain.  Just the place to have our sandwiches before returning to Menton along the slightly hairy coastal path.

OK.  I confess.  Just the place also to have a little snooze.  I hoped to capture Pete nodding but he beat me to it!


The beach below.....


 ..... Grimaldi Inferior

There was a Vide Grenier near the Garavan marina- this really is a car boot sale without the cars- but we didnít find anything to interest us.  

The clouds were starting to build up. It got darker and darker and after we reached the apartment we could hear the thunder rolling round the hills whilst the lightening got nearer.  Then it started to rain heavily. For a full ten minutes!

Back to the Place du Cap that night, this time to La Provence to round off our culinary experiences with another decent meal. Tasty Assiette Provencal for starters.  Canít remember my main course but it was good!


Menton port on a stormy evening


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Tuesday 2nd June

We had a quiet morning preparing to depart then ate our sandwiches on the stone jetty opposite the casino.

Panorama from the jetty

Our travel disasters continued.  We set off in good time for the airport bus only to see it depart without us, 15 minutes early.  At the bus stop I checked the time table. Horror of horaires! They had changed the bus times.  In all the time we have been coming to Menton the airport bus times had never changed yet they always had insisted on giving me a new timetable when I bought the tickets at the airport.  This time they had changed the times only two weeks previously but hadnít bothered to let me know.

I thought it would be interesting to get to the airport by train.  We still had plenty of time in hand so the 40 minute wait for the train was not a problem.  It was incredibly busy between Villefranche and Nice but quietened down at the station for the airport St Augustin.  So far so good.  I knew it was a bit of a trek to Arenas to pick up the navette- the airport shuttle bus that runs between terminals.  But I couldnít find the navette stop.  We did find the stop for the bus from Nice.  They seemed regular so we waited.  And waited.  And waited and waited.  I could feel the tension rising along with my blood pressure as the thought of missing the flight grew.  It was only a mile or so to the terminal but it was a baking hot day and we had left it too late.  We were desperately thinking of trying to find a taxi when at last a bus arrived and took us to the terminal.

From then onwards, fortunately, it was a smooth journey home.  We had missed some spectacularly good weather in England but I did enjoy the view from the motorway across to Coniston Old Man- the setting sun was backlighting the whole of the lake district with a deep pink glow. Spectacular.  Itís very nice to go travelling but itís so much nicer to come home. Someone should write a song about that.

Don, 2nd June 2009


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a: 29th May

b: 31st May

c: 1st June


Distance (miles):





Ascended (feet):





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Key Features:

GR52, Gorbio, St Agnes, Monti,

Menton, Cap Martin,

Menton, Grimaldi



Don, Pete







If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0917a. BB0917b, and BB0917c

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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BOOT boys

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, and certainly not from any skin head associations or other
type of social group,
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!

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2009 Outings

  • BB0901 : A Gordon Day Out
    Thursday 8th January
  • BB0902 : Thank You,
    Aunty Ethel!
    Wednesday 14th January 
  • BB0903 : A Wicked Hike???
    Wednesday 21st January
  • BB0904 : Take a Mug With You
    Sunday 25th January
  • BB0905 : Down in the Forest
    Thursday 29th January
  • BB0906 : Not How But Where?
    Thursday 5th February
  • BB0907 : Binsey Can Wait
    (but Uncle Monty Can Not)
    Thursday 12th February
  • BB0908 : Badgers on the Line
    Thursday 5th March
  • BB0909 : It's not a W!
    Thursday 12th March
  • BB0910 : Up on the Roof
    Thursday 26th March
  • BB0911 : Not the Blisco Dashers
    Thursday 2nd April
  • BB0912 : John's Comeback
    Monday 6th April
  • BB0913 : Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
    Thursday, 23rd April
  • BB0914 : Companions of the BOOT
    Thursday 30th April
  • BB0915 : The Gale Force Choice
    Thursday 7th May
  • BB0916 : The Comeback Continues
    Thursday 21st May
  • BB0917 : BOOTboys Encore !
    28th May - 2nd June
  • BB0918 : Hello Dollywagon
    Thursday 11th June
  • BB0919 : Has Anyone Seen Lily?
    Thursday 18th June
  • BB0920 : Ancient Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
    Thursday 25th June
  • BB0921 : The Tebay Fell Race Walk
    Thursday 2nd July
  • BB0922 : For England and St George 
    Thursday 9th July
  • BB0923 : The Coniston Outliers
    Friday 31st July
  • BB0924 : Little To Be Said In Favour?
    Thursday 6th August
  • BB0925 : The Third Night of the Rescue 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BB0926 : Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
    Thursday 20th August
  • BB0927 : Dear Mrs Scroggins
    Friday 11th September
  • BB0928 : An Ard Day's Hike
    Thursday 17th September
  • BB0929 : A Canter of Convalescents?
    Thursday 24th September
  • BB0930 : BOOTboys International Autumnal Expedition
    Wednesday 23rd to
    Sunday 27th September
  • BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
    Thursday 1st October
  • BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
    Thursday 8th October
  • BB0933 : When Yorkshire Was Welsh
    Wednesday 14th October
  • BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
    Thursday 22nd October
  • BB0935 : A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
    hursday 5th November
  • BB0936 : Aye Up What?
    hursday 12th November
  • BB0937 : Where Eagles Wade
    Tuesday 17th November
  • BB0938 : After the Floods
    Thursday 26th November
  • BB0939 : The Mystery of the Missing Glove
    Thursday 10th December
  • BB0940 : A Too Short Walk
    Thursday 17th December
  • BB0941 : One Hundred and Onesfell
    Tuesday 29th December



  • BH0901 : Back to the Beginning 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BSKIB09 : BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
    14th - 21st March
  • BB09XX : Los Chicos y las Chicas de la Bota
    11th - 14th May
  • BB09Bav01 : Peaked Too Soon
    1st September



Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.



To download a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys click on Wainwrights

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!



 BOOT boys