So here we are in April and what have we been up to? Due to travel restrictions, we haven’t been able to host volunteers this year until now, with the arrival of Joe who is from the Lebanon, lives in the US and studying environmental studies in Germany! He is strong and makes light of lifting and cutting. So far we have tidied up the Sendoukia Adventure trail and around the Mikalakis Water Mill, the short path behind Episkopi and the old main route out of town – Aloupi to Kangelia/Raches. This trail has really been abused over the years; dug up by OTE and not put back so cement was dumped here and there, dug up by the water company and a pipe unprofessionally installed leaving a huge gully and holes everywhere plus the inevitable bulldozer damage resulting in mounds of soil to be sermounted. Very heavy work with lots of brambles and full sun. It does have lovely views of the Stafilos valley though.
SENTOUKIA ADVENTURE TRAIL – 3km – 490m to Pera Karia
This trail first appeared in the Skopelos Trails 1st edition 2001 and 2nd edition 2004 but excluded from the 3rd edition 2011. I found it initially having noticed yellow painted AEs on the rocks. I simply followed them.
In 2019 a rekkie was carried out where no evidence of a trail was found. In spite of this, with great difficulty, we managed to clamber our way from the summit down to Karia.
On 15 March 2020, solo, I started to clear, following a small gully from the Karia end having had confirmation of the trail head from Giannis Varetaios.
Together with volunteers Zoe and Leo, we worked for seven days between 19 May and 1 June, clearing away shrubs and fallen trees. We worked towards a dropped pin previously gps’ed on the summit. This was our only guide.
When zig zagging was not possible, we installed ropes to enable hikers to ascent and descend the boulders easier.
Completed 1 June 2020. Signs and ropes installed.
Our plan is to clear the next portion from Pera Karia, passing near Analipsos and continuing down to the EU asphalt road. At some point in the future it is hoped that funding will allow us to reopen the valley trail between Djelili and Kriavrissi. Our trail would then connect with it.
An interesting observation was that in a 24 hour period, ants had made holes and particially eaten the orange eco marker tape. There was no evidence that they were carrying bits away. So if you see an ant with hiccups and orange poop, you’ll know why!
In spite of the obvious handicap, Skopelos Trails has managed to clear four routes: Taxiarches monastery, Palouki summit area T trail, Loutsa to the tower and Sentoukia to Karia. We also cleared around a water tank at Michalaki and carried out some general maintenance.
From 14-23 February, Kiki Kamo from Japan volunteered, 7-19 March we hosted Avery and Julia from the USA and more recently, Zoe and Leo from France (who were in fact on lockdown here). I’ve also had some help from Maria from Skopelos Supermarket and Nana and Silja from Norway.
I’m trying to find out some information about the Tower at Loutsa as it’s rather an enigma. I gather the structure was never completed due to the death of the owner.
2019 was a very busy year for Skopelos Trails. We started work on 12 January and continued through until 18 December (except July/August). We cleared some 30 trails, installed 3 flights of steps and hosted 39 volunteers from 13 different countries. Our sponsors #RigasHotelSkopelos and Pension Kyr Sotos continued to provide accommodation, Wolf Garden provided equipment, Nikos Orfanos kept the loppers sharp, Anne Perry helped me with this WP account Agapi Karamanli (Anna’s) and Machi Ambelakia provided a banquet, Gusto provided a giant pizza and Eva Karras donated some food. I thank you all!
There are exciting plans ahead of us. Let’s hope we can make them happen!
We continue to keep busy. The Retsina Trail from Diakopi, up to Ag Georgos (Anania hill) and back down to Nancy, Pirgos, has been cleaned. Many thanks to volunteers Rory from Ireland, Allie from Canada plus Austin and Polly from Australia, for all the hard work.
We also spent two days reopening a blocked portion of trail from Vromoneri spring near Potami up to Raches.
There’s a route change in Kambos too on the Panormos walk. Note that the Kimissia trail up to Pirgos now starts earlier via a new dirt road. We’ve put signs up.
It’s been a very busy start to the clearing season with volunteers from Majorca, Spain, Australia and Germany already come and gone and now from Ireland and Canada. A new piece of equipment has been purchased, a hedge trimmer and it’s proving very successful. So far, we’ve carried out maintenance at Kimissia, on the Panormos trail in the Potami area, cleared a thicket of brambles below Raches and are now widening the trail that leads from Diakopi up towards Pirgos (part of the Retsina Trail).
I was unable to get a hotel room at the beginning of the season and I can’t thank the Bonini/Kosma family enough for their generosity in allowing the volunteers to stay at their town house. It was a godsend and works very well as it’s located close to my house.
I’ve also had dialogue with the Forestry department and shown their agricultural policeman (agrofilikas) several problem areas to see if we can take some kind of official action.
At last this route is open. It’s 9km and took us 3 hours to walk. It’s not in the Skopelos Trails book but can be downloaded via the Map App.
It’s taken over three months to complete and there is still a bit of work to do. Please note that just beyond the Prof. Ilias water tank there are some dogs, one of which is free. A bit of asphalt to walk once you get to the heliport area/Petraki cross roads but some lovely views over to Evia. It’s then down into the coolness of the forest and over our bridge. Going down Kimissia there’s an illegal fence across the trail but you can open it.
I’d like to thank all the volunteers who have worked on this route; David, Jenna, Nikos, Che, Hannah, Alexa, Dee, Jackie, Clive, Amy, Pamela and our chainsaw extraordinaire Manolis Palaiologos.
This trail runs between Pefkia and Kambos and was totally blocked. Hampered also by the fact that a neighbouring land owner has encroached onto the trail and taken half it but erecting a very stout fence. Crazy. Several years ago, he actually totally fenced off the trail head at the Pefkia end. We cut it and we will invite him to reposition or better still, remove his illegal fence before we do the same.
Current volunteers are Nicos from Canada, Hannah from Wales and Che from Scotland. They’re doing a great job in difficult conditions and full sun. I’m also so grateful to Paniotis P for his continual weekly help. I can hardly believe that after so many years I finally have the support, encouragement and understanding of a local.
Thanks also to Debbie and friends for supplying us with much needed, heavy duty gloves that withstand the dreaded Smilax.
this post somehow didn’t get published at the time
It’s been a pleasure having Debbi and Jay around. We got so much work done in a happy and enthusiastic atmosphere. Doesn’t get much better than that. We cleared just about all of the old calderimi that runs from the main road at Palio Clima up towards Ag Iannis. This is a beautiful, wide, well-made calderimi which was hardly visible when we started. Not only did we have to cut away the vegetation and vines, but we also had to dig down, loosen and then remove the top layer of sandy soil that was covering it.
Thanks also to Hotel Dionyssos for hosting them. Without the support of the hotels, this continuing project just wouldn’t be possible.
A working party recently cleared this lovely stretch of trail. Thanks to Paul Barrett and working party and also to Paul for providing the images. This section is now OPEN!