Thank you Heather

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At last night’s award ceremony the Deputy Mayor presented an award to Heather for her work over many years protecting the kalderinas and footpaths on Skopelos and for establishing Skopelos Trails as a sustainable project enhancing the natural environment of the island. In her reply Heather gave thanks to the many volunteers from all over the world who have helped to clear the pathways with their hard work.They include an Evzones guard from Athens, a Japanese train driver and a winner of Masterchef! Thanks were also given to the local householders and hoteliers who help with accomodation for the volunteers. Over 80 people attended and well wishers from around the world sent messages of support. Lisa Manley and Keresia Tamouridou gave an interesting history of Skopelos Trails as well as an interesting ‘day in the life of Heather when hosting’. Heather was presented with an award, certificates and flowers.

Lisa Manley, Heather Parsons and Keresia Tamouridou ready to start their presentation on the Skopelos Trails story.

Award Ceremony

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At long last Heather will be receiving recognition for her years of hard work on the footpaths of Skopelos.Come along to the Orfea on Sunday evening at 8 oclock to cheer her on! I know many of the work away volunteers as well as local supporters of her work are really pleased for her. (Anne P)

End of our Season

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The last volunteer leaves today. We started this season on 13 February. Alex and Mitchell cleared away a fallen tree at Kimissia then worked very hard reopening a very old trail at Kyperisi, Pirgos from 14-18 February. It may have only been 225meters long but was utter jungle. On 19th February we moved on to Ag Ianni Skleri forest where 4 fallen trees were removed, then on 20th we worked at Moutero. On 25th and 26th we worked at Kangelia,Raches. Although three volunteers arrived on 9 March, we couldn’t work because of the snow until 15th!!! Together with an independent volunteer, we worked at Prof. Ilias and then Glysteri Monks trail part II until 17th (329m). On 19th we worked at Abuzali for a couple of days and on 24th at Polymistria Kambos to remove a fallen tree. Back to Abuzali on 25th and 26th. The girls left on 29th March. On 4 April we strimmed the Skalas Variola and on 7th/8th April Vromoneri. On 13th we worked on The Loop Vouno Klima until 16th. From 27th-29th April we cleared behind Episcopi . From 10th-13th May, with a new crew we continued the work at Klima and even installed some steps. 18th May Panormos valley towards Moutero and 19th and 22nd Retsina trail strim. That’s all folks! See you in September.

Kyperissi

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December drew to a close the eighth year of hosting volunteers via www.workaway.net.

Anne, a very fit 70 year old from America and Simon from South Africa were the last volunteers of 2021. During their month’s stay, we reopened a closed trail between Sotiros monastery and the lower mast road, carried out maintenance on part of The Retsina Trail in Pirgos and and made a start on reopening a long disused trail between Pirgos and Kyperissi spring.

Luckily there were no volunteers booked in for January. Luckily because the weather was so bad we wouldn’t have been able to work anyway. Just as the weather became drier (although sadly not warmer) two new volunteers arrived; Alexandra from France and Mitchell from Australia. Our first day straight in at the deep end was cutting a fallen tree from the Kimissia trail (see pic). It went surprising well, first cutting off the branches and then rolling the trunk away. Job done.

The following day we drove out to Kyperissi which is a little known area of Skopelos, nestling in a small valley in Pirgos. It has several houses and it’s own spring. It’s there that we have been working the last four days, reopening a disused ‘scalapaty’ (ladder path). Thankfully there aren’t too many of these scalapaties on the island; they’re extremely steep.

Continuing the work of December volunteers Anne and Simon, work out at Kyperisi has not been so straightforward as this trail has been abandoned for a very long time. No wonder. It is a straight slog up from the spring to the Pirgos hill. Still, it’s finished now, all 225m of it.

NEW TERRAIN MAP 2021

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Terrain_map_Skopelos_2021

The eagerly awaited updated Terrain Map is now available and I am so proud and pleased to have been able to contribute to it. The hikes and trails are now more clearly marked and there is info on the map about the View Ranger app.Printed on Polyart Technical material,a polymer with excellent mechanical strength i.e it does not rip and tear and is very lightweight.

Available now from the Shop – https://skopelos-walks.com/shop/

Where did the time go?

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.

BACK TO WORK!

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Our first volunteer since March arrived last week; Emanuel from Rumania. He can work with iron and so I asked if he could make me some gates. So he did, and drove them here! We will have the use of a forge on Wednesday when he’ll start making the frame from liberated iron rods we found at the scrapyard. The gates are for Kimissia where a farmer has erected an illegal fence across the trail. I don’t want to fight with people so its easier to just put in an easy use door for hikers (and the farmer) to use,

Emanuel from Romania

The Pera Karia – Sendoukia Adventure Trail

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!