Not sure if I got my stops right on Swiss section of the walk. I was definitely influenced by the stages described on the official web site and have now worked out that these stages are really designed to allow to leave the route by public transport rather than for through walking. So today's stage goes takes you from Ste-Croix to Noiraigue, but there is nowhere to stay at Noiraigue. By stopping at Ste-Croix you also miss the treat of stopping at Hotel Chasseron another 90 minutes on from Ste-Croix and which I could have easily made yesterday. The web site also gives you timings and these seem to be longer than the timings you get on the ground (although the origins the problems associated with timings have already been described in Christine's Guest blog the "EU Walking Time Directive").
The climb up from Ste-Croix to the ridge was perhaps the toughest part of today's walk but it was a very easy climb. Once on top it took another 40 minutes or so to get to the Hotel Chasseron and decided to stop and have a second breakfast. Feel a bit churlish talking about the Hotel Chasseron after staying last night in a very comfortable bed and breakfast just outside Ste-Croix but the hotel's amazing location right on top of the ridge would have made staying there a real highlight. Food looked good as well and although you have to sleep in a dormitory I'm starting to think that the chances are you'll get the place to yourself if you come mid-week and before the holiday season.
Today's walk was similar to yesterday's, really good. The main disappointment is the mistiness over the Alps and if the weather was clear it would be perfect. As it was, like yesterday, there was a great mix of open ridge walking, walking across meadows (meadows which looked like landscaped English park), and walking through woods. In total I walked about 27 kilometres and climbed just over 1,000 metres.
|Along the ridge beyond Hotel Chasseron|
|Crossing the Valley|
The spectacular sting in the tail was the Le Creux de Van just before Le Soliat. This is Malham Cove type feature but on a much bigger scale, a huge semi-circle of cliff which must be a least 600 metres long. The photo below captures about half of it.
|Le Creux de Van|
Tonight I'm staying at a refuge at Le Soliat. The family rooms have already gone but I think I might be the only person in the dormitory. Got a shower as soon as I got here, one open line of showers, no lock on the door but I was very noisy.
Decided not to worry about the mistiness over the Alps, this bit of the walk is so good I think I will come back another time and give it a second go. Bring Christine next time.
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