In August we enjoyed an exciting trip in the French Alps, courtesy of Undiscovered Alps and Much Better Adventures.
Thanks to Sally Guillaume of Undiscovered Alps for her hospitality and an exciting and challenging schedule (for an office idler like me, anyway) ranging from the wild excitement of white water rafting to the wonderful tranquility of the Refuge du Tourond.
We won the prize when my piece about Robin Hood’s Bay was chosen as the winner of the Guardian’s 2013 readers’ travel writing prize (family) section. You can read the piece here.
As part of the prize I wrote an account of our week in France and this will be published in the Guardian in early 2015.
We had a wonderful week and I’ll publish my story when it goes live on the Guardian as I hope it goes some way to capturing the adrenaline, cheeses, white water, scary drops and breathtaking views encountered in seven hectic days.
White water rafting on the Severaisse was thrilling as our afternoon followed a night of heavy rain. The local walks were amazing, but it was hard to drag ourselves away from the views from our ski lodge in Chaillol 1600 (1600 metres high up).
We had an exhilarating day on the lake – Serre Poncon – hurtling around the glassy waters on a tube (towed by a speedboat) and enjoyed some serenity and ice cream while paddling about in our four-man kayak.
Joe and Tracey took to the high ropes with ease, swinging through the trees and scaling cargo nets like commandos, while I resembled a sack of damp cement on the zip wire.
We had a friendly meal and enjoyed good company and great local food at the Fromagerie Col Bayard, but the final night proved a hit with everyone.
The mountain refuge will always live in our memories. We parked in the valley, walked up the mountain and enjoyed soup, gammon and (yes) cheese, blackberry tart and wine (and a little more cheese) as darkness fell. And all the tastier as it was all carried up on foot! What a night. There were only stars above, beyond the craggy peaks, and the relentless chatter of crickets. It was another world – one we were sorry to leave – and we’ll certainly return.