Over the last few years, since retiring, I have tried to do some long-distance walking. That makes it sound like a chore: I suppose at times it is, but I enjoy it. Sometimes I’ve gone alone, sometimes with a friend: so far we’ve managed to come back as friends as well!
Significant treks include the French GR5, from Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) to Nice through the Alps (2011), the GR20 through Corsica (2012) and a return visit to the Picos de España (2013). This year Laurie Chancellor, who manfully put up with me in Corsica, and I are going to walk the Robert Louis Stevenson trail (GR70). Stevenson walked this route in 1878 starting in September, accompanied by a donkey – Modestine – who, in many ways becomes the main protagonist of the resulting book: “Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes” (1879). The title is a bit misleading as little of the walk is actually in the Cevennes.
Some of you may have read my previous blogs centred round trips to The Gambia and I thought that this year, as RLS wrote a book about the trip, the least I could do was try a blog.
This initial entry is being knocked up at home and I have no idea how easy I will find Internet access from the byways of rural France, but with a combination of small keyboard, Kindle HD and Google Nexus 5 smartphone, all linked by Bluetooth and Dropbox, something should come of it. If you think I’m taking a lot of kit, bear in mind that RLS carried a leg of mutton and an egg-whisk, both of which he soon jettisoned! Besides, we’ve got a portage service ferrying our big bags from place to place, so we can dump Modestine with impunity and the only need for a goad will be when Laurie prods me to stop the snoring!
We leave here on 21st September and start actually walking on the 22nd – by sheer coincidence the same date that RLS started. He got lost, was snowed upon at times and occasionally slept out in the open. We hope to avoid all three of these inconveniences.