The itinerary is short, dramatic and alpine. It leads swiftly up to a summit with a memorable panorama, offering a view of the island’s outline in the sea. A bucolic shepherd’s cabin, a taste of the GR20, sun baked rocks, swimming in a giant rock pool at the Cascade des Anglais.
A shady pine tree forest, fragrant wild thyme and curry plants perfume the air. What more could you want!
Summit : Punta del Ceppo, 1632 m.
Map : IGN 4251 OT – Monte d’Oro Monte Rotondu
Access : drive 1h00 in a north easterly direction from Ajaccio on the N193. Park on the left at the Col de Vizzavona, 1 163 m.
Distance : 5.5kms. Effective walking time : 4h00’s to and from the old fort.
Altitude Gain : 600m. Altitude Descent : 600m.
Points of interest : Historic fort monument, Punta del Ceppo Summit, Bergeries de Porteto, Cascade des Anglais, Monte d’oro, GR20.
Refreshment : Snack bar at the Col, Monte d’Oro gite refresments and small shop.
Please note : the walk is sporty and challenging, steep and rough underfoot.
Description of the hike
Walk from the parking area directly up through the trees to the old ruined fort marked on the map as Anc. Fort Rné. Walk in a westerly direction up to Punta al la Corbajola, you can pick your own way, there is no fixed path, it is very steep.
Stay on the ridge and follow it up until you will pass into a shady woodland of beech trees, a cairned path leads to the summit.
From the summit you have a sumptuous 360° panoramic view, you can see the Gravona valley, Ajaccio and the west coast. The imposing summits of Monte d’Oro, Pnte Migliarello and Pnte de l’Oriente.
Retrace your steps back through the woods, as you come out of the tree line, there is a large cairn on your left that marks the start of the path down to the Bergeries de Porteto. The shepherd’s cabin occupies a poetic oasis of calm and beauty. One of the cabins was built round, just to be different. The cabins are still used and you can see signs of life, woodcutting and general up keep.
A cairned path passes through the cabins and down the other side to arrive on the GR20 path. The trail is waymarked in red and white. There are numerous pools and swim spots to the left of the trail. After a kilometre of walking downstream you have the choice of continuing further down to the Cascade des Anglais and the railway station. Alternatively, turn right at the intersection, to make your way directly back to the fort and your starting point.
The Fort de Vaux – A bit of History
The Fort de Vaux is situated at Vizzavona Col and dates from 1772. It is perched on the moraine of the glacier that carved out the Agnone Valley. Originally, a small stone cabin big enough to house a couple of men was built under the orders of Pasquale Paoli. The col has always been a strategic border point between the north and south regions of the island. It was infamous for excessive bandit activity and insecurity!
The cabin was later enlarged under the orders of the French. The Corsicans lost their independence in the year 1768. However, it took several years of resistance before the island really submitted to French rule. It was at this time that the Frenchman, Count de Vaux built a larger, more imposing building. It was built as a symbol of French control, it protected French troupes and served as a service point, where travellers could re-stock with provisions, or change horses during long journeys.