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Corsica – Mare a Mare Nord

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The Mare a Mare Nord traverses Corsica from sea to sea. It’s nearly 100 miles long (152km), involves nearly 7000 metres of ascent and descent and took me 11 days.

Geology and altitude give character to different parts of the walk. I sailed to Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, on the west coast, and the walk climbed thickly wooded valleys before crossing the GR20 and the mountainous backbone of Corsica at the Col de Vergio. From Corte, the town in the middle of the island, the path follows mule tracks that link isolated hilltop villages all the way to the east coast at Moriani.

One passes through forests of huge, sweet chestnuts, tall Laricio pine and beech and follow clear mountain streams past tumbling cascades .The path traverses rugged mountain ridges, ancient stone mule tracks and sunken lanes. The walk is a time travel to a different age. Quiet sleepy villages, the faded signs suggest a busier more prosperous era. Corsica is like an unspoilt wild garden, a walker’s paradise, the way carpeted in wildflowers with the scent of herbs and flowers and the constant song of birds.

The walk starts and finishes with sandy beaches at the two largest towns in Corsica – Ajaccio and Bastia. The accommodation in Gites and hotels is warm and comfortable and the food excellent.

The Mare a Mare Nord is not as hard, dramatic, or as ‘good’ as the GR20. But what it has that the GR20 doesn’t have is peace and tranquillity; there are just too many doing the immensely popular GR20.

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