The following stages are affected: 1,4,10,11,14,15,16A,22-25,26.
1) UPDATE 1 (August 2022)
Stage 1 Ámfissa to Víniani and Reka, replacing pp102-105
Kria Vrisi 3hr
Prosilio 6hr 50min
Viniani 8hr 15min
The route will eventually begin at Delphi. For the moment it still begins from the main square in Amfissa. The whole stage as far as Viniani has been cleared and waymarked with what will now be the standard marking for The Pindos Way and The Pindus Trail: a red and yellow strip.
Follow the waymarks N from the square, past the two churches and along narrow back streets (Delmouzos) until you come to the last houses (20mins). Cross the bridge on your R by the last house and head diagonally L into the olive grove on the other bank. Following the signs you reach a narrow tarmac road (30mins). Cross and continue up the dry scrubby slope above the rubble and rubbish pushed down from the construction of the road. The path follows the R flank of the scrub-filled gully that opens ahead of you to reach a series of tin-roofed goat pens and a hut (1hr 5min). The tarmac road crosses your gully again here. The path continues by a large fibre-glass water tank right in the angle of the hairpin bend.
It broadly follows the bottom of the gully, climbing at a gentle gradient over the crumbling walls of long-abandoned fields. There is a conspicuous clump of firs ahead to your R and another on a low shoulder L above your gully. From this latter clump, a clear path leads uphill to rejoin the tarmac on a sharp R bend by a tin shrine (1hr 45min). Turn L up the road. Just past the shrine, the path turns up L into juniper scrub. To your R are the remains of fields still neatly terraced with big stones. The path follows the L edge of these terraces. The road is visible to your R. In 20mins you rejoin it, turning L and following it up towards a row of conspicuous tooth-like rocks on the ridge ahead (2hr 10min). Immediately over the col, between two shrines, descend R on a track that quickly doubles back L into and across a stream gully. Climb the opposite flank on a section of old kalderími to join a further track running across the slope above you. Bear L and rejoin the tarmac on the edge of a fenced walnut grove (2hr 20min). 100m later you come to the beautiful spring of Áyios Nikólaos under a plane tree beside the road (2hr 45min). Out of sight just behind it is a small chapel: a possible campsite. If the spring is dry, the powerful year-round Kría Vrísi is just below the road L 200m further up.
Kría Vrísi makes an even better campsite. There is abundant water all year round. Best to pitch your tents 50m or so beyond the spring as people come to fill up with water until quite late in the evening. The ground is flat and grassy.
For Prosilio, you can continue by the route described in the guidebook or escape the tarmac altogether by following a brand new path, described below.
From Kría Vrísi, continue up the gully following the stream, sometimes on the R, sometimes on the L. Regular red and yellow waymarks. The vegetation either side is scattered poornârya scrub. After 15min you encounter the first fir trees (élata). The gully narrows. At 35min bear up L towards a big rock and wind steeply up among boulders until the path levels off and you can see a dirt track ahead. On the track (40min) turn R and as you reach the bend turn L up a gully below big rocks. At 46min cross the gully to L and bear back R up across abandoned terraces. At 53min you pass a small cattle trough fed by a spring (dries in summer) and continue bearing L-ward to reach the ridge (1hr) and turn R into the fir trees. Keep going more or less straight along a grassy rounded ridge among the firs to reach a path junction (1hr 30min) with a signpost indicating dhasikó khorió (a sort of holiday village of log cabins) to the L. Keep going ahead into the forest. There are waymarks but no clear path. 10min winding and climbing among the firs brings you to the edge of a grassy slope (1hr 40min) scattered with juniper bushes. Head up the slope bearing slightly R and then north. At the top of the slope (1hr 50min) you can see a red-roofed chapel in the trees on the other side of a gully opening to your R. Keep along the slope in front of you to reach a grassy track (2hr) and turn R. The track climbs gently. Ignore a track descending R and continue to a sharp L bend, with views over Amfissa and the sea and the mountains of the Peloponnese beyond (2hr 5min). 5min later turn R on a waymarked path. Cross a grassy gully among scattered firs and bearing R on the far side you come to Stavrós (2hr 15min). stavrós is the Greek for ‘cross.’ This is a white cross in a fenced rocky enclosure, on the edge of the steep rocky scarp looking out over the villages of Prosílio and Víniani lying in the flat-bottomed hollow way below you and the slopes of Mt Parnassós beyond. It would be a great place to camp if you are carrying sufficient water (there is none nearby).
A few metres to the L of Stavrós a good path slopes L and descends sharply down the rocky face of the scarp by a narrow ‘stair,’ thickly shaded by firs. At the foot of the rocks is a small clearing where the path is neatly bordered with stones (2hr 30min). Follow it sharply round to the R and back into the trees. For 15min you follow the lower edge of the rocky outcrop that forms the rim of the scarp, all hollowed out into overhangs that again on a summer night make a superlative camping spot (if you have water). Keep an eye out for the entrance to the kreefó skholéeyo, the secret school; these were places where during the long centuries of Turkish occupation many rural communities, led by their priests, kept a modicum of literacy and religious learning alive.
The cliffs peter out and at 2hr 45min you turn down L and then R along a flattish stony ridge among bushes and scattered firs. After about 7min, bear down L again, then sharp L and down among firs. Along the top of a grassy slope, the path begins to zigzag down R and then back L (3hr). Into the woods again, through a wooden gate and down on to old terraces, heading L to join the dirt road and the first scattered villas (3hr 15min). Turn R down the road to a junction with the road to Prosílio (3hr 20min).
On the left is the wall of a modern monastery. The path for Prosílio continues straight ahead (waymarks), downhill all the way to meet a dirt road by the first houses of Prosilio (3hr40min). Turn L for 50 metres and come to an open concrete space by a copious walled spring shaded by big plane trees. Immediately after this space a rough track goes down R to a ruined house and broken walls. Turn R, then sharp L down a bank to another dirt track (3hr 45min). After a few paces L, turn down R again along an old fence and the wall of a house to meet the road. There are some new houses to the L (3hr 50min). You are on the edge of Prosilio village here.
(To enter the village and find the magazi, turn R here and downhill to the L after 30m. In 50m you come to a cement road. Turn R and follow it down to the magazi visible below with the plane-shaded village square just beyond. The village is really only inhabited between June and September.)
To continue to Viniani village, plainly visible in the wide flat-bottomed hollow below, turn L on the track past the new houses mentioned above and follow it round a R-hand bend encircling a collapsed wire enclosure. The pink roof of the chapel of Ayios Yioryios, your next landmark, is visible below. After 150m a grassy path doubles back L from the track, through scattered trees and brings you to a clump of firs (4hr 10min). Turn down R on a newly cleared path that works its way into the upper edge of a beautifully shaded and rocky gully. At 4hr 30min you emerge from the gully into overgrown and broken terraces which bring you in another 10min to a well-worn track where you bear L and a few moments later R, to reach a PW signpost close to the tarmac road (4hr 45min). A few paces in front of you is the chapel of Ayios Yioryios, where you can sleep on the porch or camp on the flat grassy ground behind. If you do choose to stop here for the night, be sure to bring water from Prosilio. The chapel’s own supply is not reliable.
To continue down to Viniani, turn L at the signpost, down across friable fairly open ground to reach the first of Viniani’s largely abandoned fields in the flat ground below. The entrance to the Reka ravine is smack in front of you. For the village, bear R across the fields (5hr 15min).
We have been given the use of the old school building in a grassy enclosure next to the church, with washing and cooking facilities.
2) UPDATE 2
Stage 4 Sikiá to Athanásios Dhiákos
Page 112 (bottom)
TO REPLACE EXISTING ‘ROUTE FOLLOWING THE RIVERBED’ ON PAGE 112:
Route following the riverbed
A much more interesting and perfectly do-able route, it requires four short river crossings in water no more than two feet deep in summer.
Head N out of Sikiá on the tarmac. At the second L turn, just after a big concrete water tank on the R and a flat grassy area with benches on the L, turn down a zigzagging track to the village cemetery (45min). The track continues for another few hundred metres (ignore a R turn to a farm) and ends on the edge of the plane-covered shingle banks of the river Mórnos (1hr).
Push through the first band of trees and head 320ºNW, following the sandy stretches between the small scrubby planes for about 10min. Emerge on to open shingle and cross the river at the N tip of a small shingle island. Climb out on the opposite bank (E00344281/N04280594) and turn R for 60m. At the plane-lined gully of a tributary stream coming down from the L, cross over and climb diagonally up a stony path into an open “field.”
Continue across the field keeping close to the river bank. In 5 or 6min a clear path close above the river bank funnels you down into a large flat field with walnut trees (E00344120/N04280335). Cross it keeping to the foot of the slope L. At the end you are squeezed down through dead broom to the water’s edge (E00344213/N04280408). You cannot continue on this bank; the way is blocked by a couple of rock outcrops. Cross the river and continue upstream on the shingle opposite until it is possible to cross back to the true R bank. Again continue upstream on the shingle, keeping to as straight a line as you can, and through the scrub and dwarf planes that back the shingle. You will see the low, broken remains of a wall; keep on the river side of it (E00344257/N04280639). I have placed some streamers and red paint marks. The path, while quite clear much of the time, has become more a cow than human path. After 5 or 6min the path draws nearer to an earth bank L bordering the flat bottom of the riverbed. At E00344319/N04280923 clamber steeply up L and R into an open grassy “field.” After a short barrier of kermes oak trees (E00344399/N04281436) you cross another stretch of “field” (5min), keeping on the contour, and enter a stretch of scrub on a clear path. The river all the while is only 40-50m below R. Cross a further patch of “fields” (2hr), keeping along the top edge. At the end on the R is a big rock (E00344082/N04281570; 597m). Enter the scrub and a few paces later cross a stream gully. A moment later, on what looks like the remains of a path (00344075/N04281605; 597m; 2hr 10min), leave the clear path you have been following and bear R down towards the river. You have to push through the trees the last few metres to reach the river bank (E00344074/N04281692; 588m).
Cross and turn upstream for 80 metres. Just before you get to a conspicuously big rock jutting out and blocking the way ahead, on the R by a plane tree…(CONTINUE AS ON PAGE 114 OF THE BOOK TEXT)
NB Sikiá has a ksenónas but it is invariably closed. If you want food or any kind of help, ask Vasílis Békos at the magazeé right on the road in the middle of the village by the church (mobile 6974810642; he can manage a bit of English and is extremely helpful).
3) UPDATE 3
Stage 10 Kerasokhóri to Varvariádha
NB 100 metres past the turning to Sélo on the R on top of the earth bank there is a spring (E0294437/N0432569).
4) UPDATE 4
Stage 11 Varvariádha to Epinianà
Page 143 top
To replace the first paragraph at the top of page 143 and following paragraphs to the top of page 144: path from Anifóra bridge towards Epinianá.
…Cross the bridge (E0029860/N04331591; 441m; it is incidentally possible to get here by walking up the Agrafiótis riverbed in about one hour from the road bridge at Karvasarás). Ignore what appears to be a clear path heading upstream L on the stream bank. Instead turn R off the bridge and hard L round the end of the rocky spur barring the way ahead. Immediately on the L you will see the start of a beautifully graded cobbled path zigzagging up the spur. Higher up it crosses L of the spur and begins to level out along the slope above R bank of the Ftéris stream through poornáryascrub and oak. At E00292857/N04331774 (480m) you pass a first ruined cottage beneath plane trees and shortly after a second one (4hr). These are the ruins of the settlement of Anifóra, the last of them abandoned only about twenty years ago. Hard to believe today, but there were once enough children to warrant a primary school.
Shortly after, by a third ruin (4hr), turn sharply R and up into the woods, mercifully in the shade – for the climb is steep – following a long series of zigzags where the path is still clear and the cobbles visible in many places, until you come to a bit of open grassy clearing close to the edge of the near vertical slopes dropping down to the Agrafiótis. Here the path peters out, obscured by the red gritty earth of a small landslip (E00292855/N04332020; 596m). The old path swings R across the top of the first gritty red patch, round to the R and back L to cross the lower edge of the higher patch of grit, where you soon pick up the clear line of the old zigzags.
If you cannot find this, it might be easier to bear diagonally L towards the upper edge of the clearing, avoiding the red grit, on a faint path that climbs through the trees to another small grassy clearing in three or four minutes. Here you bear 90º R and up and keep bearing R until you come once more, in just a few metres, to the old path on a clear R-hand zigzag (E00292874/N04332125; 651m; red paint and streamers). At E00292916/N04332095 (684m) you emerge in the open on the outer edge of the spur you have been climbing with a clear view down to the Agrafiótis. A few minutes later you come once more to terrace walls and ruins – the former settlement of Foukariátsa (E00293035/N04332181; 758m; 4hr 45min). The path climbs at a gentle angle following below these walls to reach the edge of open, grassy, fairly level ground that once was fields (E00293062/N04332320; 786m).
At the uphill end of these “fields” is a steep rocky spur up which the old path climbs. From the cairn in the middle of the slope before the trees (E00293094/N04332419; 818m) you can see an old wooden telephone pole with the insulators still in place. The stony path climbs up here, switches back and forth among scattered kermes oak (E00293015/N04332219) before finally bearing R to pass just above a small white chapel at the spot known as Élatos (E00293158/N04332296; 5hr 30min).
[PROTEST IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE!
There is a terrible plan afoot to build a line of 200 or so wind turbines all along the eastern ridge of the Ágrafa facing Epinianá. PROTEST LOUDLY. It is an act of sacrilege, just like the now-abandoned scheme to divert the waters of the river Akhelóös, see page 154. There are plenty of other places to build wind turbines, places which do not have the historical associations of Ágrafa or the exceptionally beautiful topography. Wind turbines will not bring money to the dying villages. Sustainable tourism, like hiking the Pindos Way and other outdoor activities, will.]
5) UPDATE 5
Stage 14 Petrotó to Kalí Kómi
TO REPLACE EXISTING FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS
It is roughly 3hr to Kalí Kómi, including unavoidably – for the moment, at least – 7km of tarmac. There is next to no traffic and the road is narrow and getting narrower as bits of tarmac fall into the ravine below every year. The consolation is some wonderful views into the deepest and narrowest ravine in all the course of the Akhelóös.
The first half hour is on the old path. It starts just uphill from the magazeé,To Monopólio. Go up the stone steps beside a newly restored cottage and L round the back of it. In a moment you come out on a dirt track by a wooden electricity pole among the last houses. To the L is a new house. A narrow overgrown path runs up the R side of it. At the top clamber up over a ruined wall towards a big tree to join a not very clear stony path which heads diagonally L uphill beside a crumbling terrace wall through what is at first fairly open ground. It then tunnels into patches of poornáreescrub. The line is pretty much straight (just N of W) and fairly obvious all the way (red streamers). Do not lose height towards the L. You are heading towards a low saddle with a tiny bus-stop-like chapel close to an electricity pole on the top – Ái Vlási. From here head diagonally L and down to join the tarmac, where you turn R for Kalí Kómi.
The road winds in and out of various re-entrants, past a few still-occupied smallholdings clinging to the steep slopes of the Akhelóös gorge. As you wind up the last slopes before Kalí Kómi you will see a number of primitive old stable buildings under the trees. Right on the col, on the R, is a whitewashed chapel. Leave the tarmac here and turn R across a patch of ground messed up by road construction. 40m in on the L under overhanging branches you will find the clear line of the old path descending the slope towards Kalí Kómi in a more or less straight line. When you first see the road again, do not go down on to it, but follow the stony path where it bends clearly R and down along a wire fence. The second time you hit the road, follow it down R for a few metres to the next hairpin where you turn off R on a clear line beside a metal water pipe. It brings you out among the first houses (about 20min from the col) where the road levels out and leads to the church and magazeé(5min). For the magazeéturn R up the stone steps beside the church. The magazeéis on the terrace above overlooking the surprisingly lush valley, whose ancient fields have now been largely swallowed by encroaching nature. The centre of village social life, it opens around 7pm, serving drinks, souvlákiaand salads. Vasílis Kotsónis, who runs it, is a friend; show him this book and he will be only too pleased to help you.
6) UPDATE 6
Stage 15 Kalí Kómi to Moskhófito
TO REPLACE THE LAST THREE PARAGRAPHS:
Pass the magazeé which looks over the church and plateéya and follow the tarmac L out of the village. Almost immediately, a path turns up R between the last two houses. Past a stone cottage L, bear up slightly R beside a fenced enclosure to emerge on to a track. Turn L towards a new house. Just before it a path bears up diagonally R to come out by a fenced enclosure (5min) and, behind it, two concrete water tanks. A grassy track bears R and back L above them to join the main dirt road by a large map on a L-hand bend (10min) by a scooped-out earthy area. On the further edge of this area turn up 90º R and head up through the scrub – the line of the path fairly clear – to hit the dirt road again on a L bend in 15min (1hr 55min). Be careful not to go hard R on the dirt road to Katoúna, but continue diagonally up R on another dirt road for 40m or so. Immediately after the sharp L bend in front of you, head off R up a path across more open ground to reach the grassy col below the Mavrovoúni peak by a concrete trig point (2hr 5min).
Here you meet the dirt road to Valkáno again. The big peak across the ravine to the north is Mt Khadzí (2038m). At your feet the ground drops away into a grassy amphitheatre where the old path to Polinéri, the village you can see at the foot of Khadzí, began. Turn R and follow the dirt road round the head of this amphitheatre to the col opposite. The peak you can see to the north is Avgó (2148m). Stay on the road; it is a rough little-used track which winds down through beautiful fir forest for about 6.5km to the nearly deserted village of Valkáno. As you come to the beginning of tarmac again, bear up R to the village magazeé(3hr 30min).
To continue to Moskhófito you can either follow the tarmac down to the bridge below Valkáno and walk the tarmac all the way (6km; about 1hr 30min) or continue uphill past the magazeéto join a dirt track which will take you out to the main tarmac road (3km) connecting Moskhófito and Mesokhóra, where you turn L down the hill to reach Moskhófito in about 30min (3km on the tarmac; around 1hr 30min altogether; 5hr from Kalí Kómi). The friendly magazeé in Moskhófito can feed you and possibly arrange somewhere to sleep. There is plenty of room to camp.
7) UPDATE 7
Stage 16 Moskhófito to Mesokhóra
TO REPLACE EXISTING FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS:
From Moskhófito take the tarmac lane to the L just uphill from the magazeé. At first it follows the north bank of the river, crosses over at Platanákia(25min) and begins to climb through increasingly peaceful rustic scenery to reach the hamlet of Oriní(1hr). Follow the lane through the village. Towards the top it bears R and comes to a spring by the last house. From here on the track is rough and grassy, winding up into the firs (1hr 30min). You reach level ground on the col at about 1250m (2hr). Heading NW on the east-facing slope of a spur running down from Mt Khadzí, you cross meadows and abandoned fields. Ahead you can see the track winding up from the Mesokhóra road to the new-looking, mainly summertime, houses of Spítia. In about 30min you come to the crossroads by the shrine of Stavrós (2hr 30min), with a group of telephone masts on the knoll in front of you…
NB The Hotel Akhelóös in Mesokhóra is clean, pretty and friendly. Mikhális, the owner, is happy to drive people to Gardhíki or anywhere else within reason.
8) UPDATE 8
Stage 16A Mirófilo to Mesokhóra
TO REPLACE THE EXISTING FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS:
The route heads W from Mirófilo, then N up the ravine that leads to Alamáno where the Mirófilo flocks had their summer pastures and up over the Vromerí ridge, turning the west flank of Mt Khatzí, on the way down to Mesokhóra.
Leaving Mirófilo, follow the tarmac down W from the plateéya and bear up R at the fork shortly after. Continue for about 1.5km to a plane-shaded spot known as Neráki where a spring runs out of a pipe low down, close to the ground, on the R (25min). A concrete ramp forks R and uphill (E00268494/N04360881; 778m). The concrete gives way to dirt and this is now the shepherds’ track most of the way to Alamáno. The old path is however still findable and much shorter.
200m up the concrete road there is a modern house on a R hairpin. Just past it the road bends L again. At or just after the bend, climb R up the eroded gritty bank on to a flat-topped stony spur. Bear L and up through open kermes oak (red paint and streamers). The way is reasonably clear, the direction between NNW and N. 10min bring you back to the road, now dirt, just above a second house (40min). Cross straight over and on up. Cross the track again in 10min and keep straight up. 10min later you meet it again. Turn R. Just round the next bend you come to a wide flat grassy space on the R known as Livádhi (meadow) with an ancient rotting orange Lada car and a big wood of fine plane trees behind it (1hr; E00268377/N04361234; 913m): a great campsite except there is no water to hand. The track bends R into the grove of planes. On the L the ground is thickly covered with bracken. Just round the R bend, where there is no longer thick bracken covering the ground, bear L off the track at 325º among the huge and widely spaced planes, passing two very large rounded boulders. After 100m, bear gradually L to come out on the edge of a grassy clearing (5min). Cross it and come to the eroded bank of a deepish gully. Make your way diagonally down R into the gully and L up the opposite bank. At the top of the slope turn nearly 90º R through bracken and open trees. Ahead you can see the old stone embankment supporting the path as it climbs L and then R to come out on a subsidiary dirt track. Go straight across and up to join the main track in 50m (1hr 25min).
You could either now keep on the track all the way to the end or follow the old path just below it as far as the locality Tsaoús. For the old path option, keep on the track until about 50m short of some plane trees shading a peculiar tin contraption protecting a water pipe. Bear off L on the contour on a fairly clear path which passes below this contraption. To your R are terrace walls topped with kermes oak and bordered by a wire fence. All this ground was terraced and cultivated within living memory. The path climbs gently. After about 10min you pass below a tin-roofed hut. You can either continue for another 10min or so on the same bearing until you come to the old terraces at Tsaoús (1hr 45min) where you can see into the start of the ravine that leads to Alamáno (fantastic view; great campsite; the track is about 80m above you here) or turn up 90º R immediately after the tin hut and climb up through the old fields, here wet with seepage, to the spring and water storage tank (E00267742/N04361796; 1095m; 1hr 35min) on the track above. There is a big old oak tree just before you reach the track which would make a good campsite. 10min further up, the track bends sharply R (1hr 45min) to follow the R flank of the Alamáno ravine. From the corner you can see two shepherds’ huts on the slopes at the head of the ravine.
Keep up the track for about 20min until it comes to an end at the base of a rocky side gully. Continue R up the gully and round the head of it (seepage and spring), bearing L to a small grassy saddle (E00268338/N04363459; 1453m; 2hr 15min) with a view ahead of the Alamáno huts. You are above the treeline here. There is a beautiful little ruined settlement of huts called Kombliá on the knoll just above on your R (fantastic campsite, with water from the seepage mentioned above)… CONTINUE WITH BOOK TEXT.
9) UPDATE 9
The whole route from Métsovo to Samarína 4-5 days to the north has been completely cleared and freshly waymarked (Ursa Trail and E6 red on yellow squares), making navigation of this beautiful section of the route a doddle.
10) UPDATE 10
Stage 25 Dhístrato to Samarína
TO REPLACE THE FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS:
As of July 2018 there is no need to leave Dhístrato by the tarmac road.
The E6 path starts right in front of the Pafilis’s Briáza magazeé. Go down the cobbled ramp and turn R at the bottom (50m), following the street and the E6 red and yellow squares round the side of the village and out across the eroded friable slopes of a big stream gully until you reach the tarmac by a fish farm. Turn L up the road for 200m. On the first R-hand hairpin the path starts again, leading up through the young pines to come out on the road once more after 1hr (from the village). Go straight across and into the pine forest on a very rough track (E00246439/N04436655; 1200m; frequent red and yellow squares). CONTINUE WITH BOOK TEXT: the dodgy places of course will have been sorted out by the new waymarking and clearing.
11) UPDATE 11
Stage 26 Samarína to Dhrakólimni
Page 221 paragraph 2
Keep a sharp look-out for the waymarks as you start the climb into the forest. As you pass one, it is often not possible immediately to see the next one and the line of the path is often half-buried in pine needles. Be careful, especially around the 35min mark, not to stray too far R or you will find yourself approaching a large stream gully with no sign of a path.