posted in: Ancient sites | 1

It all began with Stafilos, who was probably a Cretan prince, sent to Skopelos by king Minos in the 16th century BC. He is believed to have been the son of Dionysos and Ariadni, brother to Oinopion, Thoas and Peparethos. Only Peparethos joined him in the colonisation of Skopelos and gave the island its name, which fell into disuse in the 2nd century AD. They brought with them vines and olive trees.

In 1936, contents of a rich grave were found by chance in the neck of the headland between the beaches now known as Stafilos and Valanio. They included a gold sword handle, the biggest ever to be found in Greece, plus many artefacts, including a double edged axe, the symbol of the Minoans. They can be found in the National Museum in Athens. It isn’t certain that the grave was that of Stafilos himself but it was undoubtedly that of royalty, as only a leader would have had such precious funeral offerings.

Believe it or not, there are the remains of a Mycenean wall at the end of Stafilos beach (1600-1100BC).

The remains of Roman defence walls can be found at Kastro (castle) Milos, *Panormos, Kanaka Laka and Loutraki (ancient Selinus). There’s also a very interesting looking wall next to the road to Moutero. It’s mentioned by archaeologist Diamantis Sampson, but no details documented.

Temples: Asclepius the demi-god, Artimis/Diana goddess of hunting (within the walls of private Episcope monastery), Eefastos/Vulcan god of fire and metal (Ag Konstantinos), Athene/Minerva, goddess of wisdom and war (Raches) to name but a few. Others existed, their remains having been recycled into the walls of the Christian churches that took their place.

Sarcophagi were also upcycled where possible and used in the building of Christian churches (eg. Ag Michalis Sinadon, *Panagia Eleftherotria). A complete sarcophagus is literally sticking out of the wall in the house of family Kosma. Even older are tombs honed into the rockface at Sendoukia, Aloupi, Alikias and Mavraki, Glossa.

*Roman Baths/Loutra at Katakalou, Loutraki.

A network of beacons/Phryctoria were built on hill-tops across the island, each visible to the next. A prearranged semaphore was used to convey messages. Ruins can be found at Mavrangi, Helenico, Cape Prionos, Mavraki, and Panormos. There must have been others in the Palouki area but none have been documented.

Who cares?

The last month’s have been spent removing cut down trees that have been abandoned thus blocking the trails. In this situation, we take pictures and GPS and send to the Forestry department. Not expecting a result I then tell them I will remove the blockage myself unless they contact me. I then get a message saying to go ahead. First all foliage is removed so we can see what we are dealing with. We remove with a chainsaw the branches facing upwards and outwards but leave the downward ones in case they are load-bearing. The owner is also contacted if possible to ascertain why the trees were cut in the first place and to inform them of the consequences of their actions. This has happened in Pera Karia, Potami, Vouno Glossa and Moutero.

Accounts for 2023

posted in: 2023, Uncategorized | 0

Whether you’ve made a donation or not or are just wondering how monies are spent, here is a spreadsheet of expenditures for the year 2023. The majority expense was petrol to get us to the trails to be cleared plus food for the volunteers. I conducted several hikes, boosted by two Austrian groups, which helped cover the outgoings.


Financial Support


You don’t need me to tell you how many apps and publications exist that help us identify the flora around us. We all have our favorites. Ours is iNaturalist. It is based at the California Academy of Sciences and is an independent nonprofit platform. Skopelos Trails is a donor, contributor and supporter. Confirming contributions, iNaturalist is used as a reference by study groups from all over the world. They can now suggest an astounding 80,000 species of plants, animals and fungi. I log our flora even when I know what I’m looking at. I do this for our records, for the use of others as well identifying unknown species.

It is through this platform that we were contacted by Spain’s department of Biogeographical Eco Botanical facility at the university of Savile who invited us to contribute towards their project on the study of the cytinus rock rose paracite. Over a period of a month, we collected samples of the female and male flowers (inflorescences) and dried them in bags of salt before sending them off in the post. For our efforts, we received a surprise donation which was about the same amount as the donation we had already made to iNaturalist!