Walks: High Savoy, France

Above the village of St Cergues, about an hour by car from Geneva, we started to walk in a French forest. It was baby Ruari's first mountain hike in an elaborate papoose which his parents took turns to carry on their backs. A notice- board asked visitors to respect the flora and fauna of this amenity area in Haute-Savoie, Savoy, formerly a separate state.

Blue markers indicated the route de Fieu to the summit of Les Voirons, our aim for a long day's walking. French hiking maps showed the tracks but local knowledge of the terrain was invaluable. The path wound its way upwards along river banks between Alpine meadows. Cow bells made music and cuckoos called.

A narrow track ascended through the forest to the high ridge of Les Voirons. Steps in stone led to the top path. After nearly three hours, we reached the summit, which is higher than Carrauntuohill. The reward was an extensive view towards Lac Leman, Geneva, Le Saleve and Jura mountains.

A clearing in the woods was an ideal picnic spot with wide vistas of the snow-peaked Alps towards Mont Blanc. The descent through the forest was steep. In the old chapel of Notre Dame on the mountainside we reflected on journeys to high places.

Thanks to Ann, Jen, Geled and Ruari.

More www.ign.fr (Carte de Randonnee, maps of French walking routes).

www.aerlingus.com for direct flights Dublin to Geneva.