MONT BLANC CIRCUIT
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It's impossible to choose one highlight of the trip, but there are a few particularly memorable or inspirational moments worth mentioning... The optional walk from the campsite at La Fouly past Glacier de l'A Neuve to the hut Cabane de l'A Neuve (in a stunning location on a cliff edge) was tiring in the heat but well worth it for the views and for the delicious cake and hot chocolate at the hut. The opportunity to see, and encourage, runners the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race (the leaders coming through at the Refuge Bonatti, and many more runners passing us on our descent to Courmayeur). Reaching the top of the cols on several of the walking days - including Col Sapin above Courmayeur, and the optional 'extension' walks up nearby hills to enjoy even better views.
What did you think of your group leader?
Graham was an excellent leader - he had a good sense of humour and was quietly diplomatic, and catered for the varied demands of the group by suggesting and allowing more demanding 'extensions' to the conventional route. He inspired confidence. Chris, the driver and cook, was also great. All of the meals he cooked were delicious, and he catered very well for me, the only vegetarian on this particular trip.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Don't forget to take a hydration bladder, or buy one in Chamonix on the first day of the trip - it proved invaluable during the hot days of walking, and much more convenient than having to frequently take out a bottle from your bag. It's worth taking sweets to keep energy and enthusiasm levels up and share amongst the group. Bringing a pack of cards and a frisbee helped to entertain us during evenings on the campsite.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The 'collective camping experience' (even tasks such as washing up and packing tents away, when everyone messed in together) was extremely enjoyable and helped to bond the group. It seems that the camping group socialised and bonded more than the 'hotel group' for this reason.