2016 Diary

Walking in France: The Canal du Nivernais
The Canal du Nivernais

This year we walked 550 km in 26 days, but we had ten days off in the middle. This was not our original plan.

The trouble began after a week, when Keith’s leg mysteriously swelled up and became a painful red sausage. This put an end to our idea of walking all the way from Burgundy to the beginning of the pilgrim Way of Geneva, and then to follow it down to le Puy.

Before this medical interruption, we had walked from Clamecy to Decize, thus completing our tour of the Canal du Nivernais, the first half of which we had done in 2006.

The countryside along the canal was flooded after weeks of spring rain, and the rain continued to fall as we walked along. Then we set off along the Lateral Canal of the Loire, but only got as far as Diou before the leg disaster struck.

After a few days of recovery, we caught the train to St-Julien-en-Genevois and followed the Way of Geneva to le Puy without further problems. Because of the train trip, we were ahead of our original schedule, so we took the chance to stay an extra day whenever came to a pleasant village.

Walking in France: Starting on the Way of Geneva
Starting on the Way of Geneva

The walking was generally easy and we made sure of a good camping ground and a good evening meal every day by diverging from the prescribed GR at several places. The weather oscillated between extremely hot and bitterly cold, with no happy medium.

The Rhône river, magnificently broad even in its upper reaches, was never far away until we crossed it lower down, went over the watershed and descended into the valley of the Loire at le Puy.

A quick visual summary of this walk can be seen in the yearly photo album.For the statistically inclined, there is also a spreadsheet that gives details of distances, costs etc.

Once again we took no commercial maps or guides, and relied wholly on our own home-made maps, which have much more detail than the Google Map below.

We made them using the online IGN TOP 25 map, and our overall route can be seen here, superimposed on the IGN map. For those who are interested, there is a description of how we make these maps.

There is also a lot of very useful information about maps and guides in our Beginner’s Guide..

Although we list the appropriate TOP 100 maps at the beginning of each page of our diary, please note that these are not really adequate unless you are following a GR. We include them only as a general guide.

Our route for this year

The diary has been broken up into the following sections:

Clamecy to Decize

Decize to Diou

Saint-Julien-en-Genevois to Yenne

Yenne to Beaurepaire

Beaurepaire to Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue

Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue to le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay to le Puy-en-Velay

To see icons for each night’s accommodation on this map, press the full-screen symbol at the top right and then tick the accommodation icon box at the top left. Zoom in on a particular icon to see its precise location. These accommodation icons are also shown on all section maps.

You can also see this map using Google Earth and take a virtual flight along our route.

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