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Corsica (GR20) 2012

This is a wiki page to organise the unofficial Corsica trip from 22nd July - 5th August 2012.

Getting to the airport

  • David and Ruth: staying at Ruth's house on night of 21st then driving to Manchester early on 22nd. Room for up to three passengers if anyone's interested
  • Andrew - train to Manchester at 22.19 from Darlington on 21st, arriving at the airport for 00.46 on 22nd. Then (optimistically) aim to get a few hours' sleep on the airport floor.
  • Mark - train from Cambridge at 20.40, via Ely and Peterborough, to join Andrew at York at 23.07.

Flights & Travel Arrangements


Sunday 22nd July

DP, RP, AW, MJ, PK: Easyjet Flight 1965 Departs Manchester 0710, arrives Bastia 1045

AP: From Gatwick 06.10 flight, arriving Bastia at 0930


Sunday 5th August

DP, RP, AW, PK: Easyjet flight 1966
Departs Bastia 1120, arrives Manchester 1250
AW then home with open return train ticket

AP: To Gatwick on the 1005 flight


  • Ferry from Calvi to Nice on Saturday 4th, 21:00-07:00, after a day in Calvi
  • Flight from Nice to Barcelona on Sunday 5th, 23:00-00:10
  • Family holiday in Costa Brava / Massif Central / Loire Valley returning Sunday 19th

Travel from Bastia to Conca (south end of GR20)

Bus timetables:

Bastia-Porto Veccnhio See also Operator's Website

Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio - Conca


  • Sunday 22nd: Depart Bastia 1600, arrive Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio 1820 (€20)
  • Monday 23rd: Depart Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio 0820, arrive Conca a few minutes later
  • Or get a taxi to Conca on the Sunday evening?
  • Suggest walking from Sainte Lucie to Conca on the Sunday evening? It's only 3km and 200m height gain, so would take an hour. Then stay in Conca? Enables early start on Monday.
    • Sounds good to me [AW]

Travel from Calenzana (north end of GR20) to Bastia

Bus timetables:

Calvi - Bastia See also Operator's Website including info on Calenzana - Calvi service

Train timetable:

Calvi - Bastia


  • Friday 3rd: Depart Calenzana 1500 or 1930, spend night in Calvi
  • Saturday 4th: Depart Calvi 0700 (or is it 0645?), arrive Bastia 0930 (€16)
  • Or by train: Depart Calvi 0740, arrive Bastia 1040. Or the later time train leaving Calvi at 1600 and getting into Bastia at 1859 on the Saturday? Gives us the Saturday in Calvi, which looks pretty nice.

  • One of the websites suggests there's also a later bus service departing 1400, arriving 1615.

  • There's a later train departing 1600, arriving 1859 (with a change at Ponte-Lecchia). Could be an option for the Friday evening if we caught the 1500 bus.

  • Calenzana is only a couple of hours' walk from Calvi if we miss all the buses...


David's suggested stages, for reference.

Day Route Peaks Time
km Asc Desc
M 23rd Conca - Ref. de Paliri none 6:30 5:00 14 1200 300
Tu 24th Ref. de Paliri - Biv. Pedinielli M Incudine 9:15 8:30 19 1985 1650
W 25th Biv. Pedinielli - Ref. de Prati M Formicola, P Cappella 11:00 7:45 23 1375 1060
Th 26th Ref. de Prati - Berg. de Capannelle M Renoso 8:45 7:00 20 1140 1355
F 27th Berg. de Capannelle - Ref. de l'Onda M d'Oro 12:15 10:30 29 1835 1990
Sa 28th Ref. de l'Onda - Ref. de Petra Piana P de Pinzi Corbini 4:15 3:15 8 800 390
Su 29th Ref. de Petra Piana - Ref. de Manganu M Rotondo 11:15 7:30 16 1590 1830
M 30th Ref. de Manganu - Ref. de Ciuttulu none 8:30 7:30 26 1075 720
Tu 31st Ref. de Ciuttulu - Haut Asco Paglia Orba 12:30 8:45 18.5 1870 2400
W 1st Haut Asco - Ref. de Carozzu M Cinto 12:30 9:00 18 2160 2310
Th 2nd Ref. de Carozzu - Ref. de l'Ortu M Corona 9:00 6:30 13 1625 1325
F 3rd Ref. de l'Ortu - Calenzana none 5:00 4:00 12 235 1550
Grand total 216.5 16,890 16,880

  • I suggest moving Monte Rotondo from Sunday 29th to Saturday 28th, for more equal days (DP).
  • Actually, it can be split even more equally than that, but we'll probably want to be a bit flexible anyway. I think the main value of the itinerary is in knowing if we're ahead of or behind schedule. If the latter, we can always skip some of the optional detours to peaks. (DP)
  • Definitely should be flexible and play it by ear - but good to know how we're doing relative to schedule. Of course, we can split with some of the party doing the detours and others not. I figured a short day on the 28th was a darn good idea, considering where it comes and the length of the previous day - I tend to find a proper rest day often pays off. MJ
  • Happy to be as flexible as need be. We can cut out detours as appropriate. The only one I'd really prefer not to cut out is Monte Cinto. [AW]
  • I agree about Monte Cinto (DP)


What is the plan?

  • Buy evening meals from the refuges?
  • Cook meals ourselves?
  • A mixture?
  • If we want to cook, how many days food do we want to carry at a time, i.e. do we restock with enough provisions for a few days when we get the opportunity?
  • Or just see if we can buy suitable provisions each evening and, if not, buy a cooked meal?
  • May also depend on availability of fuel (see below)

  • PK will carry dried food to last (hopefully) 5-7 days. Mostly cous cous. Others are welcome to join.

  • AW is happy to do whatever others want to do - happy to carry some food or to just buy it in the refuges.

  • MJ: would ideally like not to have to carry too much food and also to eat cheaply! Also depends on what everyone else is doing.

  • The forum has a thread which has a go at summarising which refuges sell which food. Useful. It sounds as though we ought to be able to get food to cook most nights, possibly with a bit of carrying and asking ahead, so I would probably go with doing that wherever possible. But I'm happy to eat at the refuges should the need arise!

  • AW would also prefer not to carry massive quantities of food at a time. I plan to buy most of it out there and go with the flow a bit. I am sure it will be fine. Might look into this a bit more soon; I've been a bit busy socially recently, as well as all the badminton... [AW]

  • I reckon we're more likely to be unable to suitable gas than unable to find food to cook. At least if most/all refuges sell food we can easily re-stock on breakfasts, lunches and snacks. I'll probably bring enough cash to cover a hut meal every night, as it can always be kept for another trip or changed back to Sterling. (DP)

  • Not planning to take any dinner stuff with me from the UK (DP)

    • I am the same [AW] [AP]

Breakfasts / Lunches / Snacks

  • What is other people's plan in this regard?
  • Carry some stuff from home for a few days and then plan to stock up from then on in huts?

  • I guess. Reckon I'll carry half a dozen breakfasts and maybe a few bags of trail mix but I don't want to weigh down too much. MJ

  • I plan to take two days' worth of breakfasts and lunches. DP

  • I am planning to take two or three days' worth of breakfasts and lunches [AW].


  • I'm struggling to find clear information regarding availability of different fuels for cooking.
  • The guidebook says 'alcool a bruler' (meths) is most readily available.
  • This forum has various relevant posts.
  • Sounds like Coleman/Primus screw-on cannisters, CampingGaz snap-on resealable cannisters and CampingGaz non-resealable cannisters are all available sporadically but not reliably.
  • Might pay to have a few different types of stove with us so we can use what's available?
  • If anyone has a petrol stove, no doubt petrol will be available in Bastia / Porto-Vecchio, but I suspect not on the trail.

  • I'm not really qualified to comment since I don't have one, but if we can, and if people are willing, should we try and have, between us, stoves that can take as many different kinds of fuel as possible? Also, according to my mum the blue (Camping Gaz) ones are more likely to be available in Europe than the grey (Coleman/Primus) ones. MJ. It may be a good idea to buy a cheap punch can stove in Corsica. [AP]


  • RP has light-weight stove fitting screw-on cannisters
  • PK has a similar screw fit stove
  • AW has the same
  • AP has one too
  • Does anyone have one fitting snap-on CampingGaz / non-resealable CampingGaz / meths / petrol?
  • Some (maybe all) of the refuges also have gas stoves outside, for general use. I can see these being heavily oversubscribed though.
  • Incidentally, was talking to an ex-teacher at Sixth Form today who has done the GR20 - he said they were easily available, but it might be risky to rely on them. If they aren't available, we could just eat a meal from the hut though? Note that huts often only provide one 'meal of the day' and if you don't like what they're offering, it's tough luck! Teacher also said that the first two days are 'gruelling' with the heat, but one soon gets used to it! [AW]
  • Those will be our last two days, presumably? I'm sure I'll be happy with whatever meals the huts have to offer. (DP)

    • Agree about hut meals - I'm happy with most things, as long as they're mustard free! [AW]
    • I think he meant more than the heat we would find a problem for the first two days whichever way we did it. [AW]
  • If not planning to cook at all, is there any need for me to take cooking equipment at all? I will take a plate, mug, spork & penknife, but nothing more than this I think? [AW]

    • I still envisage cooking some days, assuming we find suitable gas or hut stoves are readily available. But I'm taking enough cash to keep options open (I think), as the last thing I want is to have to descend to a village mid-trail just to visit a cash machine. (DP)
  • PK will take a snap on stove instead.


  • DP and RP sharing DP's light-weight two-man tent (1.05kg plus ground sheet protector & heavier-duty pegs)
  • PK will bring 2 man tent. Space for an extra inside.
  • AW has a (relatively lightweight) 2-man tent which I shall be bringing. I think MJ said he would be in this with me, but not sure.
  • MJ: Happy to share that with you Andrew if that's OK with you - does that mean Alex is going with Peter?
    • That's fine with me. I might be able to persuade Dad to let me use his slightly bigger (but, I think, lighter) tent. [AW]
    • What tent do you have MJ? [AW]
    • Last time I spoke to Alex (Ennerdale), he said he was thinking of bivvying. [AW]
    • I've got a Terra Nova Wild Country Trisar which is 'bombproof' but weighs 2.7kg (I think). I presume yours is lighter. MJ
    • I think mine is about 2.3kg, so we'll take that. Not massive inside, but just about enough! We will need to share this weight out at some point, but not urgent [AW]
  • AP I am planning to bivy


  • Any thoughts on how much we need?
  • There's no opportunity to get more cash on the trail, so it's probably a good idea to take more than we think we'll need.
  • Camping on the trail is about €6 per night.
  • Up to three nights' more expensive camping at start and end of trip?
  • Food and/or hut meals? Sounds like it would cost about €25 per day to eat hut meals. Presumably cooking ourselves would be significantly cheaper.
  • Bus fares may be €50-60 in total?

  • €500 per person if eating hut meals; significantly less if not? I need to do some more research on costs on the route and so forth. [AW]

  • I plan to take £500 worth. DP
  • I'll take £500 worth too. [AW] [AP]
  • Just converted £400.46 = 490 euros. MJ
  • Just converted £496.62 = 610 euros. DP

Maps and Guides

  • DP has the six relevant IGN 1:25000 maps
  • AW has the two relevant IGN 1:50000 maps
  • DP, RP and AW all have the Cicerone guide, but we should only take one copy. Suggest RP takes her copy as DP & AW have maps.

Other Points

  • I'm planning to take all of my kit in a 45-litre rucksack. Does anyone have comments on whether they think this will be big enough? RP from the Pennine Way? [AW]
    • I routinely backpack with a 45 litre bag in Scotland, and shouldn't be carrying any more kit for the GR20. Probably less clothing and food, in fact. Ruth (currently in Scotland supervising DofE) did use a 45L bag on the Pennine Way. (DP). I normally backpack with a 25L bag, the size you cna get away with mainly depends on how bulky your tent and sleeping bag are. {AP]
  • Mobile phone signal is apparently sporadic on the trail itself. I will have my phone with me and I guess others also will have theirs. [AW]
  • We expect to meet my Uncle and Aunty around halfway along the trail as they are leaving a week earlier than us and walking north to south. Hopefully we can spend a night together in a hut, but this may be difficult to coordinate. [AW]
    • They said they found the first day easy (and so did Monte Corona) and are combining stages 2 & 3 today. [AW]
  • First-aid kits - we don't need to carry too many of these between us? Who has a decent medium-sized one they could take?
    • Not me. DP
    • Nor me. [AW]

Kit List

Might be useful for us to put together a kit list and then we can help out if we think anything is missing from this?

  • Passport & relevant documents (inc. EHIC, travel insurance including mountain rescue cover)
    • Does DP have relevant flight documents for himself, RP and AW?
    • Yes: they say we don't need anything other than passports to check in, but I'll have the booking reference & confirmation with me just in case.
    • Which travel insurance policy do you have? [AW]
    • BMC 'Trek' policy. I didn't shop around this year, but I've found BMC to be competitive in the past. You have to be a member, but affiliate membership via CUHWC counts.
  • Tent
  • Sturdy tent pegs (apparently the ground is often v. rocky)
  • Sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag (& liner)
  • (Trekking poles)
  • Boots
    • The Cicerone guide suggests that lightweight footwear will be enough. I am semi-tempted to not take B1 boots and to take a pair of trainer-type shoes. [AW]
    • Others' thoughts?
    • I will definitely stick with boots, as I've never scrambled or walked long-distance in my trainers to determine whether they're suitable/comfortable (DP)
    • I will be using trainers [AP]
  • Pair of lighter-weight footwear (e.g. flip flops) for evenings
  • Socks
  • Compeeds
  • Waterproofs
    • I'm just taking a jacket and no trousers [AW]
  • One layer of warmer clothing - gets cold on a night
  • Two baselayers (one to be worn for flights and one to change into)
  • Zip-off trousers (or shorts)
  • Sun hat
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Mobile phone (& solar charger?)
  • Stove - not all needed to carry?
  • Lighter/matches
  • Cooking pan & utensils - probably don't all need to carry these
  • Plate & fork/spoon/knife (+/ bowl, mug)
  • Penknife
  • Water carrier(s)
    • Presume we don't need water purification tablets
    • I'll take them for drinking from the streams - better safe than sorry and we have plenty in my house, it's one per litre & you only have to wait ten minutes. MJ
  • Camera (& good supply of batteries or charger)
  • Some food could be taken with us
  • Guidebook (RP)
  • Bus/train timetables (one for group)
  • Maps (DP & AW)
  • Money
  • Toiletries (soap?)
    • I'm thinking a bar of solid soap will be light-weight and leak-proof. DP
  • Small towel
  • First-aid kit - again not everyone needed to carry one. Can someone volunteer?
  • Duct tape - AW can bring this
  • Needle & thread (DP)
  • Torch & spare batteries
  • Detergent for washing clothes?
  • Loo roll (what's the betting the huts don't have any)
    • Yeah, the Cicerone guide says we need it. Better safe than sorry!
    • sure. Anything else the guide says we need that isn't on here already?

Probably lots more I've forgotten!