During July, GWCT's Dr Louise de Raad is spending two weeks of unpaid leave to hike Tour Du Mont Blanc, one of the most famous long-distance treks in the world, totalling 170km. She hopes to raise enough funds to help improve facilities at our Auchnerran Demonstration Farm in Scotland.
Louise has sent the following update:
Day 7: La Fouly to Champex (15.5km with 580m height gain)
Today was what is described as the easiest stage of the TMB. It was a valley walk, most of it flat or descending, until the final hike up to Champex (which came as a bit of a shock).
I was very grateful for it being an easy day, as my legs are feeling very tired (and a bit sore) and it is SO HOT!! Having acclimatised to Scottish weather, hiking in 30c+ is very hard!! It’s supposed to rain later tonight and the forecast for all of tomorrow is for rain and thunderstorms (temperatures around 20-25c), so I’ll probably be complaining about that tomorrow!
I was going to hike the TMB variante, which crosses Col d’Arpette, the toughest hike of the whole route crossing the highest point, but it’s not recommended unless the weather forecast is good … so I’ll take the normal route tomorrow!
Such lovely villages and there are water points like these everywhere along the Tour
Looking at the valley ahead where I’m hiking towards
Still at the valley floor, but the buildings of Champex are visible through the trees at the col
My lunch companion
Lac de Champex
Dinner tonight! These expedition dried foods are ideal and I have many more to look forward to
Day 8: Champex to Le Peuty (16km, 850m height gain) over Alp Bovine.
I had hoped to do the alternative route over Fenetre d’Arpette, as it’s described as a much tougher but spectaculair and crosses the highest point on the TMB. However, it ‘should only be considered if the forecast is for calm, settled weather and no fog’ and given today’s forecast (thunderstorms from 3pm) and the fog .. it was clear I was going to have to take the low route!
It was very quick getting up to Col Alp Bovine where I had some delicious cake, before descending to Trient. Arrived at the campsite in the early afternoon, so nice relaxing!
Leaving the campsite this morning it was clear I wasn’t going to take the high route
Some nice views coming through the fog
Looking up towards the col
A few minutes later the route mainly looked like this again
Near my lunch spot
I figured I deserved two cakes!!
Coming down the way
My campsite tonight at Le Peuty
So that was daytime and I arrived early around 2pm. But there was forecast for more bad weather and oh my goodness, that arrived. We were having dinner in the yurt and the whole roof started coming off and the middle pole started to collapse … I ran out quickly and look at the chaos! There was a second yurt next to it that completely collapsed and blew away!
People looking at the damage done to their tents in the communal area
This is the second yurt ‘tidied up’
So this storm destroyed loads! There are quite a few people who are now tent-less, their tents ripped to pieces, or poles broken. The poor owners of the campsite lost one yurt completely and the second had to come down too, as it was nowhere near stable. My Hilleberg tent is bomb proof and I pitched it well, so thankfully all good, but chaos all around me.
And then the sun came through again