The official start of the walk is St Gingolph, but from there there is a monstrous first day with 1870 m (6135 ft) of ascent and 1225 m of descent with 18km in between. The guide book offers an alternative start from Thonlon taking 2 days to reach the same destination, but while this gives an easy first day, the second day fails the ‘not too much effort’ clause. So we are starting from Evian and are going to take 3 walking days instead of the guidebook’s one.

Today didn’t get off to a perfect start, when we discovered that the train we were catching from Oxenholme had been cancelled -something to do with a lack of staff at Glasgow, apparently. The next train (on which our tickets may or may not have been valid) was going to be cutting it a bit fine, so daughter Catherine was persuaded to drive us to Manchester Airport in her pyjamas.

From there we flew to Geneva, and then caught a train to Lausanne, which thankfully conformed to national stereotypes and worked with luxurious efficiency. A ferry across Lake Geneva under holiday-blue skies took us to Evian and the start of our walk.

Approaching Evian on the ferry. The mountain is La Dent d’oche, on the top of which there is a refuge where we will spend a night.

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