Thursday 23rd June Culoz to Les Plans d'Hortonnes

Last night I hadn't been able to find anywhere to stay. Everywhere was either full up, only open at the weekend or only accepting groups. I had found a hotel at Les Plans d'Hortonnes but there was no reply when I rang them. Les Plans d'Hortonnes was a long way so if I could find a hotel would need an early start. Decided that I would have an early breakfast, ring after breakfast, and if I didn't get through I'd stay in Culoz. After trying all last night someone answered the phone at 7.45 this morning so the walk was on.

The downside was that the weather was poor. Today's walk was all about le Grand Colombier. Like Canigou and Mount Aigoul I was about to climb to the top of a really good place to see stuff on a cloudy day. The upside, as well not having to hang around in Culoz, was that a 1200 metre climb in a cool mist was better than having to climb when it's hot and humid.

In the rain climbing up the Grand Colombier

The only real challenge associated with the climb was a dog attack just before I got the top. The dog was a sort of double sized terrier and was really trying to bite me. It's owners were mending a fence in the distance and in a fairly half hearted way seemed to be calling the dog off. It was going round and round me in decreasing circles and if it wasn't for my sticks would have been getting very familiar. Not wanting to offend it's owners I was a just a bit reticent in my defence but in the end had to be a bit more positive and after connecting with the dog's nose it shot off. Thank goodness for sticks.

The views from the top of the le Grand Colombier would have been brilliant. Took a picture of myself which didn't quite work.

Misty at the top

Bad photo day

The rest of the walk was nice although not spectacular. The weather was getting better all the time but it was short views across pretty valleys and through woods and not the big panoramas I had been hoping for. Did get to walk through a field with dozens of very inquisitive horses some with bells around there necks in the fashion of Alpine cows and again I was pleased to have my sticks.

Meadows at the top

Transhumanance horses

A big walk, just over 10 hours. Got 30 kilometres closer to Budapest and climbed over 1800 metres.


  1. Thanks John for the blog! Inspirational and am hoping to get going on doing part of the E4 soon. Dogs are a pest sometimes and shatter your peaceful zone when they are on the attack! A loud sudden noise can help! Scenery looks fantastic! Hope you are staying dry! regards Rob Watts, Brisbane AU.

  2. Carry speakers and blast them with Brucie.

    Had a great time with the north London lot last night. We now have a freezer full of Greek cakes, will stuff you with them when you return to get some weight on that scrag end. Christina is starting to look pregnant at last. Hope you replied to her comment?

  3. Even better than speakers and blast - which would terrify yourself as well - might be the kind of whistle that humans cannot hear, but dogs can and do not like at all. Maybe in the next bigger town, although I do not know in what kind of shop.
    Have a safe and peaceful trip from now on, Menno