Friday, 4 June 2010

Walking in Corsica – Sentier Littoral de Balagne (Camp Raffali to Arinella Plage)

The Balagne is a walker’s paradise; criss-crossed with paths ranging from gentle strolls to climbs and hikes needing crampons, you can always find something to suit your level of fitness and enthusiasm!

As always, time was a factor so we chose a coastal path walk which was mainly packed earth with a few rocky bits between which would take about an hour and a bit round trip. It starts opposite the camp Raffalli (French foreign legion base) where the river meets the Plage Santa Restitude.

The dogs always like to have a drink and a swim here, so it took a few minutes to get going. There are several tracks you can follow from this starting point, and normally I would have headed through the maquis, but it was such a lovely day that I started off across the beach

Unlike most of the beaches in the Balagne, the Plage Santa Restitude is pebbles. This was another victory for my polarised sunglasses as without them, the pebbles just looked grey, but once I had them on, they stones were beautiful in all shades from lavender through to aubergine and back to grey.

The beach is also backed by pretty yellow plants that seem to just spring up between the pebbles, so it wasn’t long before I had an impatient dog bored of me snapping away and keen to get on with the walk!

From the end of the Plage Santa Restitude, you can either continue up and over the cliff, or head inland through the maquis which is what we did.

I was amazed to see red and pink Lauriers Rose tucked away amongst the maquis and because the colours were so vibrant against the earthy tones of the tracks and muted greens of the maquis, you can spot them from miles away!

One of the tracks leads down to the Pain de Sucre restaurant situated right on a beautiful sandy cove, but we continued up and over the rocks again.

This section has some of the greenest water, I have seen for a long time, and it’s because of the colour of the rocks beneath. There is one section, where you can see to a depth of several metres as the rock is so white, but you have to lean right over the edge and I was in fear of losing my glasses (or my life!).

We wound our way round to the next set of rocks and just beyond is the beautiful Arinella Plage. The Matahari restaurant sits just at the waters edge, and they disapprove strongly of dogs, so we turned here and retraced our steps back to the Pain de Sucre beach.

This time, instead of heading inland through the maquis, we took the cliff path (enlarge the photo above and the ‘path’ is where you can see two earth tracks – thank goodness for my grippy sketchers!!).

The rocks here are particularly impressive, and the colours against the turquoise and indigo colours of the sea were absolutely amazing. This is one of my favourite walks and one for all the family if you avoid the slighty tricky section from the Pain de Sucre beach.

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