Chatel - Singing and Walking in the French Alps

Singing and Hiking in the Alps 5-11 July 2015
with Claire Anstee and Tanya Perret

We sang on mountain-tops in the baking sun, we sang in shady pine forest and beside a river; we sang on the hotel terrace as the sun set and in a restaurant at the chef’s request, and we sang in the cloisters of Abondance Abbey and on the steps of the church in Chatel.
We were a group of fourteen (with Sue Sidery and myself from CoV) who gathered at the Hotel Castellan in Chatel, in the Haute Savoie region, and in the throes of a heatwave. Claire taught us many songs over the week - harmonies and rounds - in her lively, exuberant style and we were soon singing our hearts out at every opportunity. A favourite was a French song about the cool morning breeze blowing through the pine trees. (Anything that suggested ‘cool’ and ‘breeze’ was so welcome in that heat.) The group also loved the gospel song we had learned in choir, ‘I woke up this morning with my mind set on freedom’ which we belted out with great gusto.
Tanya, our Mountain Guide and friend of Claire’s, had planned some wonderful hikes. She led us cheerily and joined in our singing. The routes didn’t sound too challenging, but sometimes the gradients took us by surprise! However, we were well rewarded by Alpine meadows covered in wild flowers of many varieties, and vistas of majestic mountains.
The chairlifts gave us easy access to higher levels, and I found myself singing ‘Give me Wings ......’ as we glided serenely upwards over carpets of ferns, wild flowers, and reckless cyclists hurtling down the mountainsides.
And there was lovely French food, of course. Tasty local specialities (usually cheesy), saucissons, hams, wine and colossal ice cream sundaes.
Everyone was full of praise for Claire and Tanya who made an impressive team. Their organising and planning, not to mention great company, made our Alpine holiday a very special, fun and uplifting experience. Claire is all fired up to run more trips - snow-shoeing in the Alps, and a visit to Tuscany. Don’t miss out!
Helen Falconar
July 2015

For some photos of the Alps trip:

5 July 2015