Craig is a proto-type engineer for Land Rover Jaguar and spends lengthy periods working (?) in Dubai or Sweden; sometimes even in England whilst development testing new bits for these vehicles. As a bi-product of this employment he is also a very capable and confident driver. Generally I am not a good passenger, but sitting in a car being driven by this guy was easy. All fortnight he had been speaking about taking me up to the peak of Mt Ainos. From the Saoulas complex we could look straight up to the highest point of Kefalonia, where there is a group of telecommunication masts and, therefore, a road to get the service vehicles/crews up to them.
|Looking up from the Saoulas poolside it is just possible to pick out the masts on the peak of Mt. Ainos|
A couple of years ago I had a thought, I would climb it - what a prick! The summit is 200 m higher than Ben Nevis and would entail some very serious climbing techniques if it were to be successful. I went off, headed ever upwards, and never got a quarter of the way before acknowledging the futility of my effort. Thus when Craig offered a lift, both Pauline and I jumped at the chance to accompany him to the dizzy heights. Our partners, Bev, Carrie Anne and Leon opted for lounging besides the pool and soaking up the rays - bloody wimps!
|Looking down towards Argostoli|
|The wonder of digital! Looking down, from the masts, at Saoulas - the pool is in the centre of the shot.|
Bev, Carrie-Anne and Leon are on the sun loungers at the top left of the image
In a straight line it is probably a couple of miles, or so, yet in the car it took us over an hour! But what a drive, passing through stunningly rugged terrain, along mile upon mile of meandering mountain tracks (they actually pass as roads on Kefalonia). It was a fantastic experience; Pauline and I running out of superlatives to describe the unfolding scenery as we progressed steadily upwards. It was Thursday 21st September; the first day that the road had been re-opened after the fires and, as such, the number of visitors was much higher than we'd anticipated. Can't say it detracted from my enjoyment, although it might have had some negative impact on the natural history we were to encounter. Down at Lourdas it was in the mid 30's, up on the mountain it was decidedly chilly, you might even say cold, with a brisk wind doing nothing to help.
|Pauline - suitably dressed for the mountain peak?|
|Craig similarly attired|
We wandered around for while, just absorbing the atmosphere and the spectacular vistas. A truly wonderful experience that I enjoyed with two very dear friends. Two cameras on the go and a pair of bins around my neck, it was a case of what do I do next? It was all very strange that there were more birds up on the peak than I'd seen anywhere else on the island in 2017. Very limited in variety, Coal Tit, Firecrest and Raven, I did at least manage to get a few birdie images. On our descent I glimpsed a huge raptor, very briefly through a gap in the pine forest. An eagle ? My gut feeling is a vulture, but it's not important, as it was over before it began and therefore just one of those things that makes life what it is.
|"Continental" Coal Tit|
|Firecrest - the best I could manage|
I've hardly scratched the surface of this beautiful island and am unable to put into words the 2017 holiday experience and how much it meant to Bev and I. My parting image is a sunset, taken from St. George's Castle (actually from a restaurant very close to it) where we'd gone to celebrate Leon & Pauline's 20th anniversary - special memories, of special people and times, indeed.
|Truly stunning - magical memories - "Yamass malakas" (It will only make sense if you were there!)|
Sometimes being there is more important than what's there Dyl...ReplyDelete
Amen to that Steve - it was a very humbling experience. DylDelete