There is probably a reasonably straightforward and gently downhill way of walking from Sospel to Menton, but our long hike across the Alps wasn’t going to give up being a mountain walk that easily and managed to make us climb rather more than a Scafell Pike before the steep descent to the sea.
Today was a longish day- guidebook time 7 hours 15 minutes, not including any stops. We started more or less at first light to get a fair bit done before it got too hot. But thick cloud cover meant it was very humid and sweaty, so I’m not sure how much of an advantage was gained.
A long and sweaty ascent followed. Quite early on the sea came into view.
But our route was having none of that yet. We had to go this way…
After a col, there was an easy descent, at the bottom of which was a garden, both wonderful and a bit surreal. A sign said that weary walkers were welcome to sit for a bit. Someone had provided containers of water we could refill bottles from, which was most welcome. There were a couple of very friendly dogs…
A steep climb brought us to another col, on the other side of which we were greeted with a view of the sea again.
And now we were allowed to head down towards it, although not very quickly as the going was steep and loose.
Gradually more of the coast came into view.
There was one nice flat section before the steepness resumed.
As we descended we would enter new layers of heat. And each one brought new scents- sage, thyme, lavender and, err, lots of other ones as well.
Eventually, having made a great effort of making this a mountain walk to the very end, our rough path deposited us onto a road and we found our way to the seafront, with its super yachts for the fabulously rich and glamorous.
We felt that the walk wouldn’t be really finished until we had actually reached the sea. This proved tricky as there was a lot of private beach owned by expensive restaurants. Having found our way across 500 miles of difficult mountain terrain, we were likely to fail by not managing the final few metres to the end.
But eventually we found a public beach and the walk was finished.