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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gemmell

Corsican Adventure

Back in the 1970s I joined a couple of adventure holidays run by a company called Pennworld. Basically you joined a group of like minded people from all around the world on a camping trip in a bus or coach. Here is a typical bus that they used to run.

Pennworld Bus 1979

The advantage of this type of holiday was that you got to see more of the countries visited and you could get off the “beaten track”

Pennworld were an interesting organisation. I believe, originally called "Penn Overland Company", a Hereford-based tour operator which pioneered adventure travel by bus between 1959 and 1981. The tour operator was founded by Norman MacLeod and Michael Wood Power from Hereford in 1959 and was based at Cross Farm, Credenhill.

Penn rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s thanks to the quality of its tours and its reputation for communal travel. In their early days they specialised in long haul travel by bus, London to Sydney for example. Millions of people have travelled from Europe to Australia by ship or plane, but only a few thousand have made the journey by bus..

The tours I joined were much shorter affairs, the first around Morocco in 1978 and then this one to Corsica and Sardinia the following year.

My camera gear back in 1979 was most likely the Pentax Spotmatic. Loved that camera, my first serious SLR ( Single Lens Reflex ). The film was Kodak Ektachrome ISO 100. Other than this there is not any other information I can retrieve as a 42 year break and my failing memory cells allow for limited details. Plus of course I don’t have access to the comprehensive EXIF data as we have now with our current models. Operation of the camera was manual back then too.

Regarding the images I am uncertain of exact locations. I remember we travelled up into the mountains of Corsica and then crossed over into Sardinia by ferry.

Pentax Spotmatic SLR Camera
Pentax Spotmatic
Trekking in the Corsican Hills
Trekking in the Corsican Hills
Setting up the camping tents
Preparing Our Campsite for the Night
Camper playing penny whistle
Musical Interlude on Penny Whistle
Beautiful Corsican countryside
Scenic View

The port of Ajaccio is famous for being Napoleon Bonaparte's birthplace. I remember it as being a fairly "sleepy" sort of place. However it is the capital of Corsica. I visited it again just a few years ago and it seemed busier and more touristy. I guess that is inevitable after a period of some 40 years plus. My last visit, with entirely different camera gear can be found here.... Some Street with GFX 50R

Napoleon's birthplace Ajaccio Corsica
Napoleon Bonaparte's Birthplace

Our bus for this trip was fairly basic looking. However it served us well climbing the incredible mountainous hills. There was however one incident where we became entangled with an oncoming car on a hillside bend in the road, as you will see in a few slides further on.

Our trusty tour bus
Our Means of Transport

I believe this was the market square in Ajaccio where we bought provisions for our lunch stop later on.

Market Ajaccio
Ajaccio Marketplace
fruit stall Ajaccio
Fruit Stall
Campers preparing the food
Preparing Lunch
elephant rock Sardinia
Elephant Rock Sardinia
incident in the Sardinian hills
The Bus Incident
exchanging details after crash
Exchanging details
walking Corsica
Scenic Walk
Lot's of walking this Holiday
waiting for crossing to Sardinia
Waiting for crossing To or From Sardinia
Leaving Bonifacio for Sardinia

Sadly Pennworld folded the following year. They were a welcome change from traditional holiday companies and I for one was sad to see them go.

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