MONT BLANC HIGHLIGHTS

What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

The most inspirational moments seemed to go on and on. The views on all the walks, with the exception of one when the weather closed down, were superb. Mont Blanc was almost always on view, but closer in the flowers on the meadows and the occasional wildlife, such as marmots, were a treat, especially in June.

What did you think of your group leader?

Oliver, our group leader, was highly experienced and this was obvious from the moment he led us up the first ascent. He was assessing the capability of all 15 of us so that he could set the right pace and balance the walking with rest stops. As we got fitter during the week, the pace increased slightly and the walks became slightly tougher, but this was very much in accordance with the trip notes. Oliver has a great sense of humour and a wealth of jokes which I much enjoyed. They made the whole experience great fun. He was also very careful, where necessary, to explain the safest way to walk across ice and snow and to show how to minimise the risk of a fall. This was kept in proportion and it did not become a health and safety show. He also insisted that we keep ourselves well hydrated, which was necessary as we experienced some of the hottest weather of the year. Oliver has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the plants and flowers that we encountered which were in profusion at the end of June. Oliver has a small fox terrier, by the name of Dylan, who accompanied us on 3 walks. He is a great character whose company we all enjoyed and who became quite a mascot of the group.

Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Enjoy this tour. It is a great introduction to the Mont Blanc area and Oliver will show you all the best bits of the Tour de Mont Blanc. You need to be of average fitness, but the walks were never of any great distance (perhaps 9 miles), but some longish ascents are included. If you like walking in amazing scenery, you will find this tour excellent value for money.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Oliver's wife, Elaine, runs the chalet. It was a delight to find that everything we needed was on tap from the moment we had arrived to the day we left. She is an excellent cook and we all made the most of the meals. On the Wednesday we went out as a group to an expensive restaurant but I would have preferred to have had a meal back at the chalet! The packed lunches were just right - never too little and always delicious. The chalet facilities were also always available. The hot tub in the garden, with great views of the Mont Blanc range, was very well used and soothed tired limbs. The sauna was also well frequented. For those who wished to stay in touch with the outside world, the Wifi was always on and a computer was available for those who wished to use it, as was a TV, coffee and tea. Elaine made the place run like clockwork and was a delight to chat to.