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On the Trails of the Maritime Alpes.

On the Trails of the Maritime Alpes.

Postby gaffr » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:04 am

Date walked: 19/06/2017

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Easier to get to this area nowadays with the Easy jet from Edinburgh down to Nice.
Having reached Nice we took a bus into the part of town with SNCF station and found that the only place where we could leave our rucksacks, for a fee of a few euros, while we went in search of screw-on gas cans for the Coleman alpine stove was in a wee hostel place close to the station. A fruitless journey around the town using the fine almost circular tram system and ended up buying another Blue gas stove. I've got the feeling that the French shops stock only their own products. We had a deadline for the evening bus up to Saint Martin Vesubie where we had arranged to camp at the orchard camping site.
The plan was to get into the Mercantour parc and to then walk down to Sospel and then later spend a few days on the coast camping places within reach of Nice for the return flight.
A very enjoyable area to walk with the rucksack and tent although wild camping was only possible in a couple of places owing to the lack of water of a good quality and within the Parc camping was only possible near to the refuge Merveilles between the hours overnight of 1900-0900 hrs.
As for the lauded Cote d'Azur it was very different than what I found 60 years ago when I camped while travelling along the coast. Today it is grubby and needs to have a good clean-up and most of the smaller villages have been linked into a vast ribbon of humanity and polluted with the fumes of roaring motos and wildly driver cars....the ambulance service vehicles are constantly racing to the next problem on the highway. Planes into Nice airport are landing or taking-off in what seems like all day and into the night. Not forgetting the trains zipping along close to the road system.
There are still wee gems to be found at the bonny old village with a river containing large fish, away from the coast, at Villeneuve in stark contrast to Villanneuve-Loubat on the coast. We tended to take the local inexpensive buses to get around and then walk back to the camping place at the La Vielle Ferme above Groules.
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I guess that many of these properties around Saint Martin Vesubie are escapes for folks working down on the coast.
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We stayed overnight at the farm of a horse breeder who has a wee self catering hostel.
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Smart wee villages in many places.
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Still a few areas with snow fields remaining in early June.
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Not the most attractive refuge from the outside but inside a good welcome and the wood burning stove with evening meal simmering away.
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Heading down to Camp D'argent.
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Along the contour from camp D'argent after an hour or so you reach the ruined Barracks and a ruined US Stuart tank.
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The descent to Sospel...a near 2,000 metres descent over four tops...a good day out in the hills with Parc. workers and shepherds with their dogs met along the way.
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We arrived to Sospel with the following day a re-enactment of the old salt road bridge taxing point for the mules trains going through a major part of the celebration going back 800 years. Mariff making contact with the villagers.
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In the evening in the Cathedral the Orchestre OSL de Lyon gave a concert as well as some rousing classics the programme included some of the fine music of Ennio Morricone.
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A peaceful wee terrace for the old Saunders tent.
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Don't see to many Cedars in Scotland.
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