GTL on a MTB - Variant 15B
Together with the previous section, this additional variation of the GTL completes the “hazelnut loop” through forests and hazelnut groves.
The starting point is Bric del Cucco along the crest that runs from Cravanzana to Castino. Outside the hamlet, you will reach a crossroads known as “Crociera di Cravanzana”.
After a few metres to the right, cross the road and head up to the left of the Church of Madonna del Rosario. This road climbs gradually through the hazelnut groves to the edge of the steepest side of the hill. A downhill section will take you to the ample hazelnut grove surrounding Cascina Guglielminetti and then to the crossroads for the hamlet of Grella. Turn right onto a tranquil gravel road along a chestnut wood in a wide, panoramic arc. At the next crossroads, follow the flat road to the left through the trees, which will take you around Bric Grella.
Here, you will begin the descent toward Torre Bormida, which you can see off to the right in the centre of a plateau overlooking the valley. As you descend, ignore the road that leads to Grella and continue along the left-hand dirt road that runs flat into the woods. Continue down gradually just below the crest through the vegetation of the woods until you reach a faint intersection with a number of large stones that would make a good resting point. Continue down along the dirt road to the left, below the crest and through the chestnut wood. A curve to the left will take you along the edge of a hazelnut grove. Stay on the dirt road that runs along the right edge, then turn right at the crossroads into the woods. Continue along this wide, flat trail until you reach a spring, just below the trail and featuring several pools created by the stream.
Once you are past the spring, a brief climb will take you to a curve and the sunniest, driest side of the hill. As a result, the fragrances of the woods change as they now feature more Scot pines and downy oaks. You will soon reach a saddle in the hill and the meeting of four trails and, to the left, you will see a stone boundary marker. From this intersection, head a few steps up to the left following the crest to the top of the hill, then descend quickly along a faint trail through the Austrian oak trees. You will reach another saddle in the hill (and another intersection of trails), where you will continue along the false flat of the crest.
Through the vegetation to your left, you will see the remains of the castle overlooking the village of Cortemilia along with its characteristic round tower, the symbol of the town. A couple of sections of particularly steep trail that require some caution will take you to a small chapel at the edge of the hazelnut groves and other cultivated fields surrounding Torre Bormida. Go around the church and continue to the right along the flat, gravel road alongside an impressive dry-stone retaining wall, a typical feature in this part of the Alta Langa. When you reach the paved road, you will soon be at the first homes of Fossata Soprana.
Head down again for a few metres, then turn left at a crossroads to go around a lovely cherry tree. Continuing alongside another hazelnut grove, you will reach Fossata Sottana. At the next crossroads, head down to the right to a small bridge over the Rio Lacciacode. Cross the bridge and head up the paved road to the first homes of Torre Bormida (località Pietra) at the intersection with the main highway from Cravanzana.
Now back at Torre Bormida, the circuit is complete and you can take some time to wander among the houses and along the sole street of the town as you enjoy the amazing landscape, which is the real treasure of the Alta Langa.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way