Parts & Accessories

An Adamo Alpine Adventure Part I: The Mountains

05th August 2022 | Andy Torbet
As we have young children, Bex and I have tried to avoid long drives when on family adventures. However, the boys are now seven and five and have proved to be robust travellers in the past, so we decided to risk venturing further. The desire to reach further afield was also motivated, no doubt, but the feelings of restriction and captivation imposed upon us over 2020 and 2021. So, after an early ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham, we set off across France for The Alps.

This would take us, in our fully-laden Bailey Adamo 75 4DL, around eleven hours of actual driving. Arriving, as we did, in France around 3:30 pm, we were never going to make the trip in one push, so we decided to keep driving, apart from occasional stops to refuel, until we felt ready to sleep.

Just after midnight, we finally pulled over into an Aire (a well-serviced and free-to-overnight rest area off the main motorways. European service stations are far more motorhome and caravan friendly than the UK).

We set off early to reach Chamonix by mid-morning, which delivered of the most imposing and impressive views the boys had ever seen.

Even at 1,000m above sea level, the weather in Chamonix was over thirty-five degrees Celsius. But the mountain air still felt clean and crisp. We bagged a space in Les Arolles campsite in the heart of the village, no easy feat and a bit of a lottery as most campsites in Chamonix refuse to take reservations or pre-bookings. You have to pitch and hope for a space.

On the recommendation of several campsite owners we spoke to, I would get there around mid-morning as this is when most campers vacate their spots, providing you with the best chance of grabbing one.

After taking some great advice, we eventually managed to find a great spot in Les Arolles.

With the Adamo set up, it was time for our first forays into the mountains. There is plenty to do in The Alps in summer, and it is a spectacular time to go.

On first inspection, it may seem, amongst the offers of white-water rafting, paragliding, grass-skiing, mountain bike excursions and off-road driving- there is little for little people. But the mountain transport is excellent, allowing young children or those with restricted mobility to access areas and sights that would otherwise be out of bounds.

The highlights of this phase of our trip had to be the Montenvers Railway, an old, authentic mountain train that dates to 1901 and still runs from Chamonix up to Mer de Glace, France’s largest glacier. Unfortunately, the size of the glacier continues to decline exponentially each year- a reflection of global warming.

It’s something that we’re all well aware of, and companies like Bailey are taking steps to reduce their impact by switching to natural energy sources and other sustainable practices. Nevertheless, the landscape is still stunning and provides an opportunity to visit the ice caves carved into the glacier.

Here are a few photos from our time sightseeing on the peak of Mer de Glace, the Montenvers Railway and the ice caves.

But for me, the absolute highlight was Aiguille de Midi. This towering peak, at 3,842, sits way above the snowline, even in this record-breaking summer weather and is within a stone’s throw from Mont Blanc itself, the highest Mountain in the Alps.

You can reach the Aiguille by taking two cable cars, the first from Chamonix to Plan de l’Aiguille (and an incredible spot in its own right), then a second to the top. In no other place could I take two very young children to almost 4km above sea level after breakfast and be back at the motorhome for afternoon ice-creams.

I’ll admit to feeling that the view offered seemed to be so much greater than the effort involved, and therefore I felt like someone undeserving. But the boys were blown away and rightfully inspired. This transport system allows anyone to be able to access these world-class views across the highest peaks of the Alps.

Overlooking the Aiguille: one of the tallest mountains in Chamonix.

So, whether you are an ultra-fit athlete or a five year old, the Chamonix Valley has plenty of exciting options to explore the mountains in all their summer magnificence. After four days in the Alps, we decided to move from Alpine mountains to Alpine lakes, and set off down the valley towards Lake Annecy, which I’ll cover in next month’s blog.

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