So we crossed the finishing line, on schedule and after an absolutely punishing final day of 23.5km of seemingly endless ascents and descents, from our starting point of the shepherd’s huts at Basseta, all the way to Bavella.The last kilometer was a real triumph of mind over matter, as we clambered up the rocky face of the granite needles of Bavella. It definitely brought back memories of the last few kilometers of the 2010 London Marathon, which were also a psychological battle.But we did it, and our reward was a no holds barred dinner of carb heaven – bread, pasta, pudding, wine — nothing was off limits! The next day we took a delightful ride back down through the mountains to Ajaccio and this morning we finally waved goodbye to Corsica as our ferry left port, carrying with us unforgettable memories of our GR20 challenge.There were so many golden moments, it’s difficult to know where to begin, but certain things will always stick in our memory; the dizzying single gauge train journey from Ajaccio to our starting point at Vizzavona; gargantuan mountain meals of cured boar and pungent cheeses; dawn starts; breathtaking scenery that led us through ancient pine forests, past 1000 year old chestnut trees, across velvet soft meadows and over brooks of crystal clear water bubbling with trout; up steep and rocky mountain tops and terrifyingly, down the other side. We saw an abundance of wild flowers, butterflies, birds and there was a golden moment when we came face to face with a wild boar rooting around the forest, who just dismissed us and walked nonchalantly on.We were welcomed into our nightly refuges, by mountain people who understood exactly what was needed to be able to get up and do it all again the next day — namely good food and good company. We made friends and walked with them, most memorably with Australian Ben and Swedish Tom, an outdoor instructor and ex soldier respectively, who taught us how to make great tea and cook pasta 6500 feet up a mountain, as well as coaxing us over the most difficult of all the rock faces. As abruptly as they appeared, they left to follow another pass, leaving us sure that they were, in fact, angels sent from heaven to help us on our way.We loved the liquid light of the early mornings, the waning sun of the still warm evenings, the fragrant silence of the forest, the medicinal calm of the maquis, the busy hum of cicadas in the relentless midday heat, and perhaps most memorably, the biblical storm that erupted after we made it to Bavella; if the gods were unhappy, they certainly voiced their displeasure that night, as the entire sky lit up with deafening crashes of thunder and lightning. Three people lost their lives that night, as nature took its dispassionate course.The physical effort needed was immense, as each day demanded stamina and mental endurance. However the rewards far, far outweighed the obstacles.But what made this a truly unforgettable experience for me was to complete the trek with my son David, who was inspiring company, never failing in his good humour, and who led the field to the end; all 100 km of it, from Vizzavona to Bavella, in just five days. At just 12 years old, he has completed a challenge that would defeat many adults. I am so proud of him.The GR20 was ostensibly a trek on behalf of PRIME (The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise), for which I am an ambassador. I have to say, however, that whilst we were delighted to hit target in our fund raising efforts, the immense personal rewards of the trip dwarfed the effort required, and I am so very glad to have gone on this trek, which was a journey in every sense of the word.

Sponsors: