The Spring Highlights Newsletter of High Point Holidays

Highlights                                               Spring 2014

Welcome to High Point Holidays' Spring edition of Highlights. We focus on the marvels of the Mercantour, one of the wildest regions of the French Alps. We have extended our current competitions until the end of April, so this is your last chance to win a copy of the books Walking the Hexagon and Outdoor Photography. We also have a new blog on Britain's Long Distance Footpaths.  
With Spring in full swing here in the UK, we hope that wherever you are, you have a great Easter weekend.
Best Wishes
Mark Armstrong

Marvels of the Mercantour

The Mercantour region is the last mountain range of the Alps before it plunges directly into the Mediterranean Sea. Acclaimed for being one of the wildest and most unspoilt parts of the French Alps, Mercantour has a contrasting range of landscapes. The Mercantour National Park has 7 summits of 3000m, a rich and diverse wildlife, as well as over 100 high altitude lakes. In addition, the proximity of the Mercantour region to the south coast of France, gives these alpine mountains a Mediterranean touch with a large diversity of wildlife including ibex, marmots and a large number of wild flowers. The Mercantour National Park is influenced both by the altitude of its high mountains and the heat and dryness of the Mediterranean and so has all the different habitats from Mediterranean to alpine in character.

Marvels of the Mercantour
Discover the Mercantour National Park and the superb sites and scenery of the "Vallée des Merveilles" whilst staying in three star accommodation in a wonderful setting. During the course of your self guided walking holiday you'll accomplish five great walks to discover the best of this corner of the southern Alps.
Self Guided 5 Nights, 5 Days Walking -  £595 in June, July, September & October, £625 in August
Self Guided 6 Nights, 5 Days Walking - £690 in June, July, September & October, £720 in August

Alps to Med Trail
This independent walking holiday in France follows an extraordinary trail from the alpine mountains of the Mercantour National Park to the elegant Mediterranean town of Nice. Your trail passes through a number of delightful perched villages, full of charm with plenty of cultural and historical interest.
Self Guided 9 Nights, 8 Days Walking - £825 (also option to end holiday after 7th night at Menton)

"Our favourite day's walk was from Sospel to St Agnes. The transition from mountains to Mediterranean was spectacular. Overall a fantastic trip. It was wonderful to have our bags transported seamlessly daily. I also enjoyed having the accommodation planned & finally the hikes were of good lengths. Thank you." M Slater, USA

Other Self Guided Walking Holidays

Lot Valley Walking

Walking Holiday Updates

Confirmed Guided Walking Holidays:
Secret Provence: Les Baronnies
21st-28th June - Spaces Available
Queyras: Best Kept Secret in the Alps 
6th-13th July
- Fully Booked

High Point Holidays' 2014 Walking & Cycling Holidays Brochures
If you would like one please e-mail us and let us know.
Please note the brochure is also available online on our website.

New Independent/Self Guided Walking Holidays for 2014:
Beaujolais Wine Trail: Chateaux & Medieval Villages
This walking holiday follows on from our Grand Crus wine trail & traverses a number of pretty valleys harbouring pretty chateaux and quaint villages.
Les Ecrins: Panoramic Alpine Trail
This spectacular trail takes you past high alpine lakes, through stunning valleys and along beautiful balcony paths following one of the best sections of the Tour of the Ecrins.
Tour of Ardeche: Rustic Trails
This walking tour is located in the heart of the Ardeche Regional Park & includes wonderful heather-clad moutains with great panoramic views; pretty chestnut forests; beautiful rivers  and sun parched, vine covered slopes.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any queries on any of our holidays.

Ever disappointed that we do not do walking holidays in a particular country or region, then why not send us your suggestions to
Walking the Hexagon

Last Chance Competitions

Our most recent competitions have been extended until end of April.
We have 3 copies to give away of Terry Cudbird's Walking the Hexagon - an Escape around France on Foot courtesy of signal books.
In this fascinating book Terry Cudbird reveals the obsession which is long distance walking. In a year's walking he passed through the Pyrenees, the Languedoc, Provence, the Alps, the Jura, Alsace, Lorraine, Picardy, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine.
This book will be of interest to walkers, lovers of France and anyone who has ever dreamt of encountering real adventures not far from home. Competition now closes 30th April. Click Here to enter.

You also have until the end of April 2014 to enter our competition to win a copy of Cicerone's Outdoor Photography by Jon Sparks & Chiz Dakin . Visit our competition page for further details.
You can read our review of the book on our blog.
Pre-historic engravings in the Vallee des Merveilles

Vallee des Merveilles

The Vallee des Merveilles is situated in the mountains of the Mercantour range in the south of the French Alps. It is the site of one of the largest collections of bronze age engravings in the world dating from over 5000 years ago. The engravings are found on exposed rocks left following the disappearance of glaciers, either on smooth bedrock or on boulders (eratics) carried from elsewhere on the mountains. The engravings which date from pre-historic times include beasts with corns (bulls) - the most represented forms - arms (such as daggers and axes), animals with human features and geometric figures. The interpretation of the engravings is complex, but many believe that they relate to some sort of religious or pagan beliefs or rituals. Certain researchers think that the nearby Mont Bego would have held divine powers due to its water sources and the storms that can develop there.

As well as being found in the Merveilles Valley, many of the engravings are located in the nearby Fontanalbe Valley, both of which you'll be able to explore on our independent walking holiday in the Mercantour region of France in the French Alps.

Long Distance Footpaths

Long Distance Footpaths

Most of Britain's Long Distance Paths (LDP's) are not ancient tracks across the country, but in fact a modern construct from existing rights of way (some of which may indeed be ancient) that were mapped in the 1950's and then linked together by new paths where necessary. There are now over a thousand LDP's.

In 'The Wild Rover', Mike Parker walks the Wessex Ridgway and comments on the 'heritage steam-train trip' mentality of many walking the LDP's. "No deviation is allowed from the one route....every last inch has to be religiously trudged.....transforming something joyous into something so tediously anal." For parts of the ancient tracks of the Wessex Ridgway this would be understandable, but much of the eastern half of the National Trail dates back to the 1970's.

The point is, you don't need to journey on a recognised, named walking route for it to be enjoyable or a challenge. High Point Holidays have a range of walking holidays that pick the best routes to make the most of the countryside. That's not to say that we don't use National Trails, but we don't feel compelled to stick to them, but rather combine footpaths of all types to explore the best an area has to offer.
Read more on our blog

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