Sentier l'Ile Rousse - Corte: Path Condition?

Psychedelicandy

Posted: Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 11:45

Has anyone on here ever walked the Sentier l'Ile Rousse - Corte long-distance route and can relay their experience of it? What is the current state of way-marking, or possibilities for camping and buying food and water along the trail for example?

I'm looking to do one of the less busy long-distance routes the L’Île de Beauté has to offer next spring and like the sound of this one.

Thanks,
Andy



SQFP

Posted: Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 7:01

Way-marking is in the average-to-good range (with paint stripes and/or cairns, few risky parts) but a detailed topographic map (IGN 1:25,000 / Top25, either online or paper) is advisable so as to avoid trivial mistakes, for it crosses lots of similar paths.

Still... don't expect the same 'quality' (or let's say 'ease of use') as with the famous GR20 or Mare-something trails:
- being poorly/infrequently curated by the people in charge, some parts are bushy/overgrown especially in the spring;
- few accommodation opportunities along the way (regular campings in the low-alt parts, a b'n'b at some distance here and there), save for the Sega refuge very close to the Corte end;
- even less shops to resupply (limited groceries in Ascu, nothing in Corscia...), and you must carefully manage water (natural sources and fountains are plenty, just find'em);
- as for the schedule, by-the-book steps might prove unsuitable as some are pretty easy, others are terribly lengthy and rocky and...

IMHO it makes for a great experience once you're somewhat autonomous, e.g. can spend 1 to 2 days in the wild all by yourself without going mad. I'd suggest it to anyone who has grown bored of the "follow the markings / the crowd / the well-defined path from one refuge / gîte / shop to the next" as the Isula-Corte trail ventures into some very remote, authentic, and scenic parts of the island. Not for the faint of heart.

--

French geologist with a soft spot for Corsica...



Psychedelicandy

Posted: Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 11:43

Many thanks for the information SQFP. The autonomous nature of this route is exactly what I'm after. As a Masters student in GIS I'm pretty handy with a map and self-navigating so love getting off the well trodden track and away from the crowds (probably why I haven't done the GR20 yet to be honest!).

Andy



Steve Dan

Posted: Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 13:57

Hi Andy.
I walked the Ille Rousse in May 2015. I found the trail well marked, paths clear and quiet. I met only two other trekkers along the way, at an overnight stop at Bergerie Cabane.
The route is never marked as Ille Rousse- Corte trail. It seems each individual region has absorbed it into thier own particular network. You'll find signs for I R - Montecello, Montecello-Speloncato ect.
I'll gather my trail notes into some sort of order and post up a trip report over the next few days.
Steve.



Psychedelicandy

Posted: Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 9:24

Hi Steve, many thanks for your comments, I'm glad you found it clear and quiet! It would be really interesting to read your detailed trip report. I found another report dating to 2009, but I imagine conditions may have improved since then:

http://samuelroelants.be/sentiercorse/COIR/recit.htm

Andy



Steve Dan

Posted: Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 15:54

SENTIER L'ILLE ROUSSE-CORTE TRIP REPORT. MAY 8th -17th

On the 8th of May I flew out to Corsica to walk this unfrequented trail, the last report from this route being back in 2009 .I'm carrying full camping kit, a basic compass, and the IGN TOP25 maps numbers 4249 and 4250 which cover the route. This is my account of the trail.
May 8th.
Jumping off the early afternoon train at Camping Monticello my first task was to find out if there was actually any sign of the route. Walking up from the railway stop and up a lane to the left, I soon found a signboard for Monticello-Chemin de Mandrie. Reassured, I looked in at Camping les Oliviers. The reception opens at 1600, so I head into town and buy supplies at the Spar and have lunch in the square. Walking back to the campsite up the N 197 I buy bread and a nice cake at the patisserie, then pick up Camping Gaz at the filling station. The Total, on the right, doesn't sell gas. The station further up, on the left, does.
Pitched up at the top of the site, plots 77 and 80 are nice.

May 9th. To Speloncato.
I'm on the road just before 8, turning left onto the N197 and then right onto the Chemin de Mandrie, following yellow markers and signs for Fiuminale-Cala d'Aliva. Another signpost for Casa Dieca-Arbu I ignore, this being a longer loop out into the maquis. Coming to a signboard for Boucle de Arlo in both directions, I turn left. This brings me to a spring, just a short distance from Monticello.
Now back on tarmac and approaching the village square, the route loops back behind the two churches to follow a small lane. I'm picking up both yellow and orange markers, and signs for the Chapel St François and Boucle de Codole. Just beyond these is a large dressed spring, the last viable source of the day. Continuing uphill to a T junction I turn left towards the the chapel. A right turn here is toward Corbara. At the chapel crossroads a signpost points the way to Speloncato in 3.5 hours. It's 10.45.
Now heading downhill, there are great views of the distant mountains and across the Regino valley to Speloncato. The markers are now yellow and orange tandem. After crossing and re-crosssing the railway the trail arrives at the D113.From here it's easy to follow the farm track, slowly climbing toward Speloncato. From the D113 the route is marked in the more familiar orange. Following the sign for the Boucle de Giustiniana makes for a very enjoyable lead up to Speloncato. A very green and pleasant trail. On the final steep approach to the village, I'm passed by a superfit trail runner and his boisterously happy Labrador. The first signs of life on the actual path all day.
In the village square there is the cafe/bar A Voute, a small restaurant, Les Gallieni, and the village fountain. Up a narrow street to the left of the restaurant is the boulangerie/epicerie. As it's Bank Holiday Monday , the shop's shut. It is also closed on Tuesdays. Tucked away in the corner is the old Spenlunca Hotel. This is the only accommodation I've booked in advance, everywhere else I'll just walk in and take it as I find it.
After a beer I check in and have a warm shower. In the evening I have the Menu Mediterranean at the Gallieni. Grilled vegetable salad, grilled sea bream, and fromage with fig comfit. A small bottle of red brings the bill to 39eu.

May 10th. To the Maison Forestierre Tartagine-Melaja
All quiet in the square at 6pm. I've bubbled up a coffee and I'm watching the House Martins nesting under the eaves of the hotel.Close by, a Cuckoo is calling.
In the village there's a bread shortage, the boulangerie being closed for two days. Waiting for supplies to arrive doesn't appeal, so I breakfast on coffee and pain au chocolate at the Cafe Voute and manage to rustle up a fromage Corse baguette at the Gallieni.
At around 8.30 I'm on my way, and pass a signboard for Pioggiola 2hrs 30m. I go a bit wrong when leaving the village and with no markers, end up on the D63. A local points me in the right direction, back on myself up a small lane.Once onto the open hillside the markers reappear. On approaching the first stream gully, watch for where the path dog-legs back on itself to cross the stream. A more obvious path goes straight on and ends up in a tangle of brambles and spines. It's all pretty straightforward from here and after three excursions onto tarmac and just below the Bocca di Croce there's a good dressed spring. Once over the pass the route descends through shady chestnut forest and on to Pioggiola.
I'm looking for a spring on the way down but can't find one.When I ask a local, out in his garden, he simply nips inside and returns to present me with a two litre bottle. Enough to see me through, but there must be a spring there, somewhere. Further into the village there are numerous signposts indicating the variety of trails through the area. My chosen route skirts the hamlet of Forcili and down to the Pont Genois, before climbing up to the Bocca di a Scoparta. I take a lunch break overlooking the Melaja Valley, with great views of Monte Grosso at the head of the cirque. Down into the valley the path is at first following the top of an old walled terrace through scattered bushes and trees, before reverting to single track once back out in the maquis. I pass one very slow spring in the valley, where the path starts it descent down to stream level.
Once down at the Melaja stream the markers dissappear, so I simply follow the forestry piste, cutting off the hairpins where the vegetation allows.
The paint splashes reappear on the approach to the Pont de Melaja and from there its a simple plod along the tarmac, through some lovely old pine forest, to the Maison Forestierre.
Literally at the end of the road, the gite is in a fantastic setting. Deep in the pinewoods, overlooking the tumbling Tartagine river.
There's no one here when I arrive, and the place is all locked up, apart from the dining room. Two breakfasts are set out on a table. Bread, jam and coffee cups.There is also a chiller cabinet containing drinks. I pitch my tent on the small patch of grassy lawn, wrinse clothes and myself in the stream, then set up to cook dinner. A outside tap, plumbed in from the kitchen provides drinking and cooking water.I select a drink from the cabinet, a nice cool rose', leave cash and a merci for the drink and camping, and then enjoy my rather exclusive little table for one.
.............to be continued



Daisychain

Posted: Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 9:07

That is the trail I would love to do if I was younger! Looking forward to the next instalment.



Steve Dan

Posted: Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 9:27

SENTIER L'ILLE ROUSSE-CORTE TRIP REPORT
May 11th. To Cabbanella

The walk from the Maison to the Pont Genois is a joy, with the beautiful pine forest, tumbling Tartagine ,lovely rock pools, Dippers and Grey Wagtails flying along the river and the path easy to follow. At the bridge there's a signboard for the direct route over the mountain to Asco and an orange marker indicating the path up to Mausoleo.
My chosen route however, keeps me tight to the riverbank, sometimes walking on the gravel beaches and rock slabs, virtually in the water. The path is indistinct along this section, with few, if any markers. It's not difficult to walk as such, but it's a relief when the waymarks reappear on a more open stretch of the bank.
To avoid a rocky outcrop the path kicks up the valley side and I note that I have a drystone wall on my right and eventually the track is walled both sides. After passing a stone building the path bears right and contours before descending through light woodland,then out onto the open hillside before reaching the bridge below Vallica. At the bridge a handpainted sign indicates the way up to the village.
Because the birding 's been so excellent in this beautiful river valley it's taken me rather longer than expected to walk this particular part of the trail. Watching Honey Buzzards and Sub-alpine Warblers, wagtails, Dippers and woodpeckers all takes time. I change my plans and decide to camp at Vallica.
Up in the village there's little sign of life apart from at the church, where a lady is painting the front door. Asking for directions to the campsite, she tells me that it has not yet opened for the season. Deciding to either whack it through to Cabbanella or wild it closer to Piana , I ask her if she could fill up my bottles. She then says that in half an hour she'll be finished painting and be driving down to Piana, and offers me and lift. I except.
I'm deposited not in Piana but at the ruins of the St Francis convent,from where it's an easy downhill plod to the campsite.
On the way I note the signboard for the onward trail to Asco, in 5 hrs 30.
No one is resident on site, madame arrives in the evening to collect her dues. She doesn't sell supplies but there is beer behind the bar. Fresh bread and pain au chocolate can be ordered for the morning, delivered around 8.30.
I'm pitched up and showered when it starts to rain but the covered terrace at the bar, overlooking the Asco river, makes a great place to chill out and cook dinner. I'm joined by the only other person on the site, a German girl who is camping out of her car. Over a couple of beers we tell each other of our adventures. She has been helping out on a farmstay up near Corte and is en-route to another at St Florent. I, for my part, have been blundering about in the wilderness.

May 12th. To Asco
It's still raining quite heavily at dawn so I delay setting out until around 9.30. I'll be carrying enough water to see me through to Asco, having lost faith in my ability to find springs en-route.
It takes around half an hour to reach the trailhead from Cabbanella and from there its all pretty straightforward. Once past a grazed area that's a little confused by animal tracks and rutting pigs, out on the open hillside the path is a well waymarked single track trail, with some outstanding mountain scenery. I don't think I pushed it particularly hard , but my actual walking time from the trailhead to Asco was around four and a half hours. Along the route I noted that one of the springs (Tuloni ) was but a slow trickle.
I approach Asco on the D147 and at the junction I have the Hotel L 'Acropole on my right, to the left is the cafe Miellerie. Around the bend from the cafe is the village shop, open 9am -12.30 ou lundi au dimanche. Opposite the shop is the village fountain.
Reception at the hotel opens at 16.00 so I settle down for a beer and a sandwich at the cafe. The couple who run the Miellerie turn out to be a very friendly and entertaining pair. While madame makes fun of my less than perfect French, monsieur guides me through the mountains on his large scale map. They even phone through to the hotel, just to be sure that they do have rooms available.
Checking in at the L' Acropole a little later I'm given a good size double room, for which the cost it 75 eu. They also have rooms which will sleep up to four, at a cost of 109 eu. The restaurant serves mainly local produce and my meal that evening came to 27 eu.

May 12th. To the Bergerie Cabane.

After breakfast I do my shopping. The epicerie is pretty basic in truth, selling mainly non perishables. Pasta, rice, tinned fish, long life bread and the like. Just what every trekker needs, basically.
With a a walking time of around 3 hrs to the bergerie I'm in no great rush to leave, so I have another coffee at Miellerie and chat to monsieur. He tells me of a path from the churchyard that leads down to the Asco bridge, thus cutting out the hairpins and tarmac. Leaving Asco, I take this and it's a good route.
Signposted to the Bocca di Serra Piana from the elegant Pont Genois, the path to the bergerie is well marked and easy to follow. Winding up the valley, following the Pinara stream past gorgeous rock pools and cascades shaded by pine forest, with a final steeper pull out onto the open hillside before reaching Cabane. On the way up I note that neither of the springs marked on the map are flowing.
The Bergerie Cabane is a small stone built
mountain shelter with a sound new roof, seemingly adopted by the hunters for their seasonal forays. Cassette des chasseurs is painted on the front of the door.
Inside there is a wooden bunk that could sleep four, a small table and chairs, a wood burning stove and various pots and pans. A lightbulb is rigged up to a timer switch and a car battery. The only thing that detracts from this otherwise idyllic situation is that the water supply seems to be simply piped into a tub from further upstream. Given the number of cows in the area, it would be wise to treat or boil before drinking.
I've found a great source of snuff dry timber in the stream gully below the hut and I'm busy snapping sticks when Anne and Giles arrive. They have walked the GR20 from Calenzana to the Col de Verghio and, after an overnight in Calacuccia, are also staying the night at Cabane.
Anne helps gather more wood and I get the stove fired up, while Giles cooks their dinner on his very efficient little spirit burner. As my cuisine bubbles away on the stove we chat and share pre-dinner drinks of pastis and red wine. I learn during our conversations that the gite in Corscia is closed.

May 13th. At Cabane.
Hoping to get down to Ponte Leccia in the day, Anne and Giles are packed and on the trail early, while I go about my day of simple mountain existence. Clearing ash from the stove, collecting wood and washing the kit I'd neglected to do yesterday.
The undoubted highlight of the day comes when I'm joined in the valley by a superb Golden Eagle. As it scours the higher slopes , I can see from the striking white in the wings and at the base of the tail that it's a very young bird. This may even be it's first, freeflying summer on the mountain.
My day complete, the stove on, I'm cooking dinner. Pasta with porcini mushrooms, shallot, chilli and garlic in a red wine reduction.
..............onward.



Steve Dan

Posted: Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 9:27

SENTIER L'ILLE ROUSSE-CORTE TRIP REPORT
May 11th. To Cabbanella

The walk from the Maison to the Pont Genois is a joy, with the beautiful pine forest, tumbling Tartagine ,lovely rock pools, Dippers and Grey Wagtails flying along the river and the path easy to follow. At the bridge there's a signboard for the direct route over the mountain to Asco and an orange marker indicating the path up to Mausoleo.
My chosen route however, keeps me tight to the riverbank, sometimes walking on the gravel beaches and rock slabs, virtually in the water. The path is indistinct along this section, with few, if any markers. It's not difficult to walk as such, but it's a relief when the waymarks reappear on a more open stretch of the bank.
To avoid a rocky outcrop the path kicks up the valley side and I note that I have a drystone wall on my right and eventually the track is walled both sides. After passing a stone building the path bears right and contours before descending through light woodland,then out onto the open hillside before reaching the bridge below Vallica. At the bridge a handpainted sign indicates the way up to the village.
Because the birding 's been so excellent in this beautiful river valley it's taken me rather longer than expected to walk this particular part of the trail. Watching Honey Buzzards and Sub-alpine Warblers, wagtails, Dippers and woodpeckers all takes time. I change my plans and decide to camp at Vallica.
Up in the village there's little sign of life apart from at the church, where a lady is painting the front door. Asking for directions to the campsite, she tells me that it has not yet opened for the season. Deciding to either whack it through to Cabbanella or wild it closer to Piana , I ask her if she could fill up my bottles. She then says that in half an hour she'll be finished painting and be driving down to Piana, and offers me and lift. I except.
I'm deposited not in Piana but at the ruins of the St Francis convent,from where it's an easy downhill plod to the campsite.
On the way I note the signboard for the onward trail to Asco, in 5 hrs 30.
No one is resident on site, madame arrives in the evening to collect her dues. She doesn't sell supplies but there is beer behind the bar. Fresh bread and pain au chocolate can be ordered for the morning, delivered around 8.30.
I'm pitched up and showered when it starts to rain but the covered terrace at the bar, overlooking the Asco river, makes a great place to chill out and cook dinner. I'm joined by the only other person on the site, a German girl who is camping out of her car. Over a couple of beers we tell each other of our adventures. She has been helping out on a farmstay up near Corte and is en-route to another at St Florent. I, for my part, have been blundering about in the wilderness.

May 12th. To Asco
It's still raining quite heavily at dawn so I delay setting out until around 9.30. I'll be carrying enough water to see me through to Asco, having lost faith in my ability to find springs en-route.
It takes around half an hour to reach the trailhead from Cabbanella and from there its all pretty straightforward. Once past a grazed area that's a little confused by animal tracks and rutting pigs, out on the open hillside the path is a well waymarked single track trail, with some outstanding mountain scenery. I don't think I pushed it particularly hard , but my actual walking time from the trailhead to Asco was around four and a half hours. Along the route I noted that one of the springs (Tuloni ) was but a slow trickle.
I approach Asco on the D147 and at the junction I have the Hotel L 'Acropole on my right, to the left is the cafe Miellerie. Around the bend from the cafe is the village shop, open 9am -12.30 ou lundi au dimanche. Opposite the shop is the village fountain.
Reception at the hotel opens at 16.00 so I settle down for a beer and a sandwich at the cafe. The couple who run the Miellerie turn out to be a very friendly and entertaining pair. While madame makes fun of my less than perfect French, monsieur guides me through the mountains on his large scale map. They even phone through to the hotel, just to be sure that they do have rooms available.
Checking in at the L' Acropole a little later I'm given a good size double room, for which the cost it 75 eu. They also have rooms which will sleep up to four, at a cost of 109 eu. The restaurant serves mainly local produce and my meal that evening came to 27 eu.

May 12th. To the Bergerie Cabane.

After breakfast I do my shopping. The epicerie is pretty basic in truth, selling mainly non perishables. Pasta, rice, tinned fish, long life bread and the like. Just what every trekker needs, basically.
With a a walking time of around 3 hrs to the bergerie I'm in no great rush to leave, so I have another coffee at Miellerie and chat to monsieur. He tells me of a path from the churchyard that leads down to the Asco bridge, thus cutting out the hairpins and tarmac. Leaving Asco, I take this and it's a good route.
Signposted to the Bocca di Serra Piana from the elegant Pont Genois, the path to the bergerie is well marked and easy to follow. Winding up the valley, following the Pinara stream past gorgeous rock pools and cascades shaded by pine forest, with a final steeper pull out onto the open hillside before reaching Cabane. On the way up I note that neither of the springs marked on the map are flowing.
The Bergerie Cabane is a small stone built
mountain shelter with a sound new roof, seemingly adopted by the hunters for their seasonal forays. Cassette des chasseurs is painted on the front of the door.
Inside there is a wooden bunk that could sleep four, a small table and chairs, a wood burning stove and various pots and pans. A lightbulb is rigged up to a timer switch and a car battery. The only thing that detracts from this otherwise idyllic situation is that the water supply seems to be simply piped into a tub from further upstream. Given the number of cows in the area, it would be wise to treat or boil before drinking.
I've found a great source of snuff dry timber in the stream gully below the hut and I'm busy snapping sticks when Anne and Giles arrive. They have walked the GR20 from Calenzana to the Col de Verghio and, after an overnight in Calacuccia, are also staying the night at Cabane.
Anne helps gather more wood and I get the stove fired up, while Giles cooks their dinner on his very efficient little spirit burner. As my cuisine bubbles away on the stove we chat and share pre-dinner drinks of pastis and red wine. I learn during our conversations that the gite in Corscia is closed.

May 13th. At Cabane.
Hoping to get down to Ponte Leccia in the day, Anne and Giles are packed and on the trail early, while I go about my day of simple mountain existence. Clearing ash from the stove, collecting wood and washing the kit I'd neglected to do yesterday.
The undoubted highlight of the day comes when I'm joined in the valley by a superb Golden Eagle. As it scours the higher slopes , I can see from the striking white in the wings and at the base of the tail that it's a very young bird. This may even be it's first, freeflying summer on the mountain.
My day complete, the stove on, I'm cooking dinner. Pasta with porcini mushrooms, shallot, chilli and garlic in a red wine reduction.
..............onward.



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 14:48

Hello SD,
I am enjoying reading of your walking tour in Corse.....not that I have travelled this obviously not so well trodden trail.
Your style of writing kind-of reminds me of some of the early visitors on walking tours in Scotland.
I look forward to reading of what will be? the final stages of the walk into the fine town of Corte.

Many thanks.

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 19:51

Thanks Steve Dan. I'm also enjoying reading of your hiking adventure(s). Keep it up.