It was a familiar performance trying to find the right path out of Selakano. T's map v T's GPS (didn't show the start) v LW's words. Together they made no real sense, because the map was saying that the footpath ran due west out of Selakano while LW’s suggested route was taking me north. In the end good old red paint splashes got me going westwards along a concrete path (starting beside a concrete structure) not far north of the junction between the bunkhouse square and Stella’s taverna. You have to follow your nose here as the paths stop and start a bit, but the GPS did clutch in quite quickly and, as ever, was reliable. Distance:22km Time: 9 hrs. Mov av 3.4 km/hr Height overnight: 824m.(max 2,148m.)
This was another delightful start to a day’s walking. Rather than tramping round the perimeter which is more or less where the E4 is supposed to go, it is quite possible to take a diagonal line from the south east corner to the north west corner by taking a right, then a left, then a right etc so you end up close to Kato Metochi. This way, you get to see close up the extent of the agricultural activity going on around the plateau in the morning sunshine. You also get to see the newly formed baby frogs – fresh from tadpole status – hopping happily in the sunshine in front of my big boots. Distance: 23.5 km Time: 7 hrs. Mov av 4.7 km/hr Height overnight: 335m.(max 824m.)
9th June- I rested for a day in the Kalliopi hotel, tended to my feet as best I could and tried to “carb-load” as instructed by my tri-athlete daughter...I made the decision to take as direct a route as I could towards Profitis Ilias in order to make my rendez-vous with Triantafyllos at Rouvas the following evening. This meant leaving the official E4 and bypassing Archanes and Ghiouktas and all the interesting historical stuff. Distance: 38.5 km Time: 11.5 hrs. Mov av 5 km/hr Height overnight: 175m.
10th June- I packed up the tent early after a noisy night of competing dogs and was on the road by 0615. After 3 or 4 kilometres on a mix of dirt roads and tarmac roads, I managed to find the concrete road which is the official E4 (marked with paint on a concrete watertank) up from Pirgos and a couple of hours later I was in Venerato having a frappe in the café by the turn to Kerasia.. Distance:35.8km Time: 13.75 hrs. Mov av 3.9 km/hr Height overnight: 945m. Max. height: 1600m
11th, 12th and 13th June- We had made camp in the yard beside the Aghios Ioannis chapel at Rouvas but, the following morning, it was quite clear that I wasn’t going to go any further on foot until the shin splint had settled down a bit. Minor surgery on the blisters exposed the full extent of those problems and I hung them out to dry in the sun while Triantafyllos went off looking for paths to put on his maps. I think I was lucky not to get infected blisters but Betadine is a great resource which I used extensively.
14th June- The walk up from Rouvas is quite straightforward; once you have walked back down the stream from the Rouvas picnic area and turned right (north) up the dry river bed for two hundred yards, you scramble up a short, easy rock section (well sign posted) before the path continues up through open oak woodland (the Rouvas Forest) heading first for the Duo Prinoi chapel, which has a water tap, and then later up and over a ridge, beyond which a small dry water course leads up a steep sided valley to the flat lands of the Nidha plateau. Distance:12 km Time: 4.75 hrs. Mov av 3.7 km/hr Height overnight: 1,360m.
15th June- The path up to the summit of Psiloritis is well-known and well-marked and does not need any further description from me. Fortunately for me, my pack was lighter by about 4 kg as I had handed over my camping equipment and extra food supplies to T who was going to catch the ferry back from Chania two days later and who could drop my gear at the flat en route. Distance:20.1 km Time: 8 hrs. Mov av 3.2 km/hr Height overnight: 427m. Max. height:2,454 m
26th August - You get to see Kedros close up and enjoy fabulous views back over the Amari Valley to Psiloritis and forwards over the high, little-visited plain above Spili. Once off dirt roads, the path is generally pretty clear on the ground but as ever the GPS helped me not to stray too far. As you come up out of Yerakari on the Spili road (a tempting ten kms) you take a left just after a fresh water fountain and immediately by a large cistern. There are many distracting side roads along here but you stay with the main dirt track as it winds close under Kedros before turning west. Distance:20km Mov av 4.6 km/hr Height overnight: 402m. Max. height:1,050 m Start at 680m
27th August - I set off from Spili at 0740 under a rather cloudy sky and with a cooling breeze to keep me feeling fresh. Today was always going to be a bit of a road slog and the first few kms to Mixourama was on the main road with cars flashing by. The GPS suggested that there was a road link between Koxare and Agouseliana even though there was nothing on the paper map so, after 6 or 7 kms, I cut across to Koxare. Distance: 32 km Time: 8 hrs. 25mins. Mov av 4.8 km/hr Height overnight: 272m.
28th August - Because we had researched this bit in May, it wasn't so daunting to leave the tarmac-bound E4 and to launch off uphill to make the old crossing (not yet on any map) between here and Askyfou. The first gully climb up to 3,300 ft was quite straight forward as we had done it before. Distance: 22.4 km Time: 8 hrs. 35mins. Mov av 3.7 km/hr Height overnight: 714m.