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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Wednesday 27 September 2017

Environmental vandalism - Greek style

One of my lasting memories of our 2017 Kefalonian holiday experience is the deliberate torching of the hillsides around Lourdas. Sammy (the resident DJ and general dog's body) had posted some images on Facebook, prior to us leaving, depicting huge areas of scrub and Olive groves ablaze on the lower slopes of Mt. Ainos. To witness these mindless acts, being conducted under the cover of darkness, was all rather sad. What are the perpetrators hoping to achieve?

The hillside above Lourdas, well ablaze, as viewed from the mount of St. George's Castle.
Absolutely no way that a fire engine is going up there!
One direct consequence of this stupidity was the closure of the road up to the National Park area, of which Mt. Ainos is central; thus a major tourist attraction. The fires were allowed to burn, uncontrolled, during the hours of darkness and we watched new fires started by persons unknown, as their flame sticks were carried around the lower slopes.

The best that the Greek authorities were able to summons

The morning after the night before - flames on the hillside above Lourdas

Fire fighting with a Greek twist
Fire Engines and planes were able to tackle the blazes during the hours of daylight, but it was very much a case of too little, too late! The local police made token appearances, but the culprits had already moved on to other areas. These were not the actions of isolated individuals, seeking building permission for farmland. Oh no, this was a coordinated demonstration of contempt. Fires were started simultaneously on Kefalonia, Zante and mainland Greece - no chance of coincidence when it happened repeatedly.

I have to make it very clear that at no time did I ever feel threatened by these actions, although access to the peak of Mt. Ainos was prohibited for much of our stay (I did get up there and that's for another post!) I just feel rather sorry for the ordinary folk of Kefalonia. All those honest, and hard working, people whose livelihoods depend upon tourism. Dead tortoises and charred hillsides do nothing to assist the efforts of those who depend upon the visitor's money to earn a living.


  1. Perhaps some Greek person has visited a grouse moor in this country and been persuaded that such burning improves the habitat.

    1. Derek, the burning of old heather is proven to accelerate the growth of new shoots; those which sustain newly hatched Red Grouse chicks. The situation in Kefalonia is just wanton arson for the fact that they can get away with it. This arid habitat is a fragile ecosystem which has adapted to the lack of rainfall - a prime target for pyromaniacs and idiots alike! - Dyl

  2. Replies
    1. I have absolutely no idea - maybe they just enjoy watching the planes putting out the fires? Thanks for commenting - Dylan

  3. I've walked on the same Kefalonian hillsides as you on holiday, although that was about 20-odd years ago and clearly before they bred local arsonists, so I can imagine how gutted you must be. I also enjoyed the tins of honey that I brought back home from the herb laden hillsides there and as someone who has tortoises in his garden would be devastated to see them perishing in such a way.

    1. Hi Derek,
      The scent of herbs was somewhat tainted by that of smoke, such was the scale of this ridiculous demonstration of contempt. It remains a fabulous island and a wonderful holiday destination, so sad that a few mindless individuals are able to wreak such havoc with their thoughtless behavior. Tortoises won't be the only casualties, that's for sure - Dyl