Gilly Cameron Cooper
THE CHALLENGE OF THE NAXOS STRADA
Be among the first to walk the Naxos Strada, a 50-kilometre trail that takes in a brilliant cross-section of Cycladic island landscape . It will be a socially distanced experience, as the path is newly opened and little known. Naxos is Greece in microcosm, with marble mountains plungeing to deep-cut green valleys, olive groves , terraces and meadows of wildflowers, vines and olives, and significant roles in mythology, ancient history and culture. The trail can be done in 5 roughly 10km sections.
As the author of Walking the Greek Islands, The Cyclades (www.cicerone.co.uk/C1009), the first gude book to publish the coast-to-coast Strada route, I'm reporting on the state of the paths after a year and more of lockdown. As the Strada becomes better known and walked, the more accessible it will become; meanwhile, the Naxos Dimos ( local authority) and the Prefecture of the Cyclades (area authority) have pledged to organise maintenance of the Strada and the island's network of old byways, so that they are accessible and safe. So, dear Dimos, I'm giving you a little nudge, to take action, as travel restrictions lift and the hikers take up the Naxos Strada challenge.
DAY ONE: The SW coast at the long strand of Plaka, up granite-bouldered hills to interior mountains and the steep-stacked village of Kato Potamia ('lower river'). Easy walking along bamboo-shaded farm tracks on the coastal plain, but as the route leaves the plain and starts to ascend the hillside, it hard to see.
ACTION for Dimos (council): Waymark path where it leaves the farm track to go to R of terraces and L along side of hill, and cut back dense vegetation.
Below Episcopi/Ag Theokepasti, Mount Zas fills the horizon: Dear Dimos, I hope you will landscape the roadworks connected with your new reservoir.