Reminiscing about my last visit to Corsica 13 years ago, when Martin and I planned a week-long holiday using charter flights to conquer the northern part of the GR20 - 5 days of walking and one day to get the coach back to Calvi. The mountains were fantastic, but it was that drive back along the coast which captured my imagination, looking down on isolated villages nestled in tiny coves and the bright red rock of the Scandola peninsula contrasting with dark green foliage and azure blue sea.

Leading with HF holidays earlier this month gave me the opportunity to head down to the remote harbour of Girolata, on the west coast just north of Porto, on my day off. Claude-Marie our local guide was taking some paying guests and invited me along.

On the drive south from Calvi nothing much had changed in the intervening years, except the quality of the road which had a major upgrade in 2013 in time for the Tour de France to visit Corsica for the very first time. Buses still had to stop and wait for the cows to meander across the road to a hopefully juicier bit of grass and the smell of the maquis was as intoxicating as ever.

We picked up the track from just south of the Bocca di Palmetta, although the road builders hadn't bothered to reinstate anything remotely like a path, so with slithered and slipped down the rubble embankment until we reached the delightful ridge path which offered us stunning views down to the coast and back up to the mountains, with never another person seen until we joined the Mare e Monte path for the final descent to Girolata.

Most visitors approach Girolata by boat with only a hardy few reaching on foot. There is no road, not even a jeep track, and the few quadbikes to be found in the village are used to transport shopping up to the houses from the harbour. At the back of the beach were some charming cafes and restaurants, and strolling up and down the beach, catching the breeze were yet more Corsican cows!

After a delicious lunch, Claude-Marie walked back to the car while we relaxed and swam in the bay. At 4pm we took the little ferry across the cove to the landing jetty - where Claude-Marie was waiting to take us back to Calvi.