'Ah, the scented Isle...loved by French gourmands and Italian sun-seekers but, most of all, by walkers. Around 10,000 a year tackle the GR20, one of France's more technically demanding long distance footpaths. But only a relative few take the paths less travelled, through the forests and along the coast. Gillian Price has laid this magical island bare to walkers of all abilities. In her usual straightforward style, she provides a wedge of information in the front of the book, including a glossary of French and Corsican terms. It's worth mentioning (the book doesn't) that, as well as heavily accented French, Corsicans speak a Genoese-based dialect which, in remote places, might be spoken as the first language. Most places have two names: the Corsu or Corsican names which often end in u, and the Frenchified names where the u translates to o. There are a couple of other small omissions. Gillian fails to point out that a massive influx of summer tourists means prices on the island almost double during July and August. Still, most of these peak-season visitors are beach blobs and some of the more remote walks described in the book will be quiet year round. Nor does she discuss the political unrest created by the independence movement on the island, possibly because this does not generally impact on tourists. Gillian has intentionally excluded the GR20 (covered in Paddy Dillon's Cicerone guide, GR20: The Corsican High Level Route) and instead offers three long-distance walks: the glorious 10-day Mare e Monti (sea and mountains) plus north and south versions of a coast-to-coast. These are infrequently walked, so a guidebook to back up dodgy signposting will erase many of the question marks along the way. Fairly obviously, these walks can be dissected into smaller chunks or blended with day routes described later in the book. My own favourite area, around Evisa with the Aitone cloud forest, rock pools and the Spelunca Gorge, joined together with bits of the Mare e Monti, could keep you happy for days on its own. For the day walker, 18 routes vary from a one-way cliff-top bumble from the pirate port of Bonifacio to the five-hour Paglio Orba loop in the central highlands though, unfortunately, many are linear. The routes are clustered in the north-west and south-east in the two Parc Naturels - fair enough as these are truly spectacular areas - and while the list of walks isn't exhaustive, it provides an excellent basis for planning a holiday. Once you're on the island, with the right maps and the scent of sun-baked mountain herbs floating up your nostrils, you might even cut loose and find your own way.' (Judy Armstrong, TGO May 2004)
About the Author
Gillian Price has explored the mountains of Italy and Corsica, bringing them to life in a series of outstanding guides. She is member of the Italian Alpine Club and Outdoor Writers' Guild.