Sunday 14 August

(magnify) St-Pierre-de-Chartreuse

A quiet night, despite our initial fears. Before leaving I want to completely empty the water tank and refill it with fresh water. For reasons that I cannot adequately explain it takes me three attempts to park the van with the filling point on the correct side near the tap.

It isn’t just me this morning. R needs three attempts to locate the D520 gorge road out of Les Echelles. First time past she simply forgets we had decided to go that way. Second time she is occupied reprogramming the Garmin.

The gorge road is not too narrow. There are some spectacular cliffs at the start but we can’t stop anywhere. We turn right at St Pierre-d’Entremont and cross over the Col de la Ruchère, though the col itself is deep in forest and we don’t stop.

(magnify) Chapelle du Rosaire

St-Pierre-de-Chartreuse is a skiing resort and we park up. I’m hoping we can do a short walk with lunch in the middle but R is not sure. There is an extensive Sunday market going on with everything from revolting smelling sausages in boiling vats to glazed pottery and children’s games.

We purchase an A4 sheet at the tourist office bearing a couple of suggested routes and we soon embark on the ninety minute ‘easy’ one. The directions (in French) are easy to follow, and soon after half past twelve we reach a picnic spot beside the Chapelle du Rosaire overlooking the town. It is a lovely view and thanks to our increased altitude somewhat less hot than yesterday.

(magnify) Col du Coq

A series of switchbacks takes us up to the Col du Coq where we stop to admire the view. It is obviously a popular spot with hikers. Then onwards, crossing the motorway on the valley floor. We are heading for Allevard on the other side where Lady Garmin promises us a fine choice of campsites.

We pick one just short of Pinsot, but it isn’t there. Our next choice is further up the road at La Ferrière. In the interests of being a bit earlier than yesterday we agree to accept it unless it is abysmal. In the event it is lovely – quiet, near a river, good pitches, friendly owner – and we may decide to stay here a while.

Later I pick up a walking map from reception for €2 showing many marked paths. Three converge right on the campsite; there is plenty of scope for walks of all lengths. It even shows, to our delight, two chair lifts that are open all the year round. We will probably be here for a good few more days then.