The transhumance writ large!! If you wish to take a longer ride out – this is the trip!
A ride from the sea to the mountain, 6 days to lead the horses into their summer pastures, where the grass is green and generous. We pass by Italy first, the hinterland of the Riviera dei fiori, where the gastronomy is queen ! On the fourth day, we reach the Alps with ist impressive tracks, its snow-covered tops, its angled pastures.
Departure from the village at 9am
As soon as the first day begins, the general scenery sets in : sea on the bottom, mountains on top. The first tracks make possible to be quietly familiarized with your mount. The Monti hamlet, then the Castellar village : sweet transition from civilization to the scrubland ! It’s the whole Riviera which reveals its architecture because Menton, Monaco and even Nice, at the horizon, are connected in the landscape. We cross the border by a cow path that we opened ourselves. A crossing through the scrubland which one could believe unsophisticated leads us gradually to our night stage : Mortola, a hamlet which overlooks the sea. We sleep at Alto Blu, an entirely blue B&B.
Border crossed, we start the discovery of the secret Liguria. We pass by the first moutains over the sea and cross medieval villages, formerly deserted and now restored : Villatella, Torri, Colla Bassa. We cross the first italian valley near the Airoles village. The climbing offers a splendid panorama on the Grammondo top, the Cima Longoria and then until the sea. A craggy ascension under the green oaks is the sign of the arrival at Rocchetta Nervina, our night stage.
We continue our visit of the lost villages of the Liguria, between military paths, mule and cow tracks. We make brief stops from villages to chapels, from hamlets to churches : Isolabona, Marra chapel, Apricale, church of the Angels Madona… We lunch at the Baiardo village, before reaching our night stage by the tracks : the thermal village of Pigna. We arrive early to make the most of it. This evening dinner place is known through the whole Liguria for its authentic food.
On the fourth day, we come back in France. We first climb on the tracks then we step onto the first mountain path to reach the famous Gola di Gouta plateau, a country overlooking the sea. A crest path leads us to the Muratone Pass, the frontier. We go down then to the Saorge village, by an craggy but safe path. This village from the Roya valley is the local Woodstock, we stay there for the night.
The morning offers an alternative, that we decide according to the shape of horses and horseriders. We can take the long track of Caïros, to join the Fromagine barns and La-Baisse-de-St Véran, or if everyone’s in good shape we can take the Ceva little valley and follow the sheeps paths which overhang the Caïros valley. During the afternoon, we join the Colonel barns by the Raus col and we cross the famous red grounds at a great gait. We cross the Gordolasque ice bolt, on which one is sitting the Grand Capelet, our last stage.
The arrival at the Boreon profiles. We cross two cols : the Valette pass on the morning and the Maïris plateau on the afternoon. This last day, mountainous but easy, is a charm through the flowery pastures, crossed by effusive torrents. This two cols allow to see our route in its entirety.