Day 5 - the big walk (Aaron Millar)
Day 5 - the big walk (Aaron Millar) 
Route summary
£995.00 (2017)
Per person
8 nights
8 B&B, 5 evening meals, 6 picnics
Luggage transfers between hotels
Medium - Hard
4-8 hrs
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Ligurian Hills (Italy)
Across the Apennines to the sea
Route map
Ligurian Hills (Italy) route map
Itinerary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Day 1

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “How we grade our walks” for more information.

 

Arrive in Mornico Losana (earliest check-in time is 14:00) and rest after your journey - in Arabella's lovely villa - maybe swim in the pool and certainly have a good dinner.

Day 2

Mornico Losana to Fortunago. From your first night’s accommodation today’s lung expanding walk takes you through the bucolic vineyards and meadows of the Oltrepo, past Montalto castle, and through the lively centre of Montalto Pavese (shops and cafés for those wishing to practise their Italian). From here, the views become more expansive, as you dip back down into the valley of the Ghiaia di Montalto and up again (yes) to the ridge. A lovely, if switchbacking end to your walk takes you off the ridge and through the lovely villages of Borgoratto (bar) and Fortunago, where you should linger, as this is one of the “Borghi più belli d'Italia”. (4½ hrs, 17½ km, CUSs 880m). Alternatives: From Montalto (if you are staying there) the walk is 5km shorter and the first climb is already done for you - if staying at Villa Arabella ask for a lift to Montalto. Or miss the walk completely by hitching a lift with the luggage (ask your host).

Day 3

Fortunago to Varzi. The day starts with a quiet stretch of asphalt before rejoining the ridge, with the last views of the Oltrepó. Leave the open at the “Cross on the col” and then track through beech woods along the ridge top of M. Bruno to the castle at Oramala, before descending to the old town of Varzi in the valley. Your next day’s walking rears up ahead of you! (4¾  hrs, 20km, CUSs 650m) Alternatives: Arrange a ride with the luggage courtesy of our excellent host, as far as the Cross.

Day 4

Varzi to Capanne di Cosola. Start with a sustained climb to Castellaro (you can ride with the luggage along this section if you prefer), then up the valley of the Fosso. Climbing steeply up through beechwoods, you reach the main ridge just before Monte Bogleglio. Then – a long and sometimes dramatic ridge walk, with a possible bagging of Monte Chiappo at the end before your next night’s excellent meal at the mountain lodge at Capanne di Cosola. (7 hrs, 21 km, CUSs 1210m). Alternative: ride with the luggage to Castellaro, saving 2 hrs and 350m of ascent.

Day 5

Capanne di Cosola to Due Ponti. This is the majestic day. 14 km of high walking, culminating in the meadows which surround Monte Cavalla and views for ever.  From here you will be following the old road down (now abandoned except for foresters and walkers) for 6 km  to the valley floor, to your comfortable accommodation at the hamlet of Due Ponti. (6¾ hrs, 20km, CUSs 550m)

Alternative - two shortening options (14 km and 18km), or ride all the way with the luggage.

Day 6

Buffalora to Calcinara. This gorgeous walk seeks to do the impossible. After a short transfer, climb (gently) up to Monte Lavagnola; the climbing is then all but done and the rest of the walk consists of high contouring – maintaining the same level but with the most stupendous views of a much more cultured landscape than the day before – wooded valleys, small farms and villages. And you even get not one, but two, potential pit stops at good bar-restaurants. Your final walk into Calcinara will be rewarded by great friendliness, good food and drink – and almost no English!  (6 hrs, 19 km, 490m CUSs). Alternatives: Shorten to 2½ hrs or 4 hrs (with lifts).

Day 7

Calcinara to Camogli. A wonderful final day as you continue along the ridge eastwards, then southwards to the coast at Camogli. Again the views will never let you down, and the final mountain spur before the end, with the sea on each side, will be much photographed. Your hotels in Camogli are all welcoming, whatever grade you have opted for. (5 hrs, 15 km, 430m CUSs). Alternatives:  None except to ask Fausto’s uncle for a lift with the luggage.

Day 8 Do a bit of free coastal walking to San Fruttuoso's idyllic car-free bay, or to Portofino, take a trip on the coastal ferry, take the train to the Cinque Terre (1½ hrs) for some station-to-station walking - or just relax!

Day 9

Return home - or why not stay a day or two longer?