The Friends of Mount Athos are committed to the ongoing project of clearing, restoring and maintaining the old Athonite footpaths, many of them stone-paved (kaldirimi) tracks for transporting goods by mule and dating from late Byzantine times. The project was undertaken with the active advocacy and support of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, who continues to be an active, working member of the footpaths team. This is an important mission statement of the Friends of Mount Athos, found on their website.
FoMA is also placing new signs to help the pilgrims to find their way on the Holy Mountain. These are on the, so called, Way of the Bey; the footpath from Chilandariou or Esfigmenou to Karyes over the hills in the middle of the peninsula.When we walked this path coming from Esfigmenou and after passing the crossing at Chera we encountered members of the the FoMA footpaths team actually clearing the path from branches and overhanging leaves with their garden tools. We had a nice conversation and thanked them for their good work. They had permission to work the paths in the Vatopedi region. This short video shows the condition of the paths without maintenance.
The overgrown path near the Chera crossing is difficult to walk. But after Chera were the members of the footpaths team had done their work it was a lot easier to make your way.
View on Vatopedi and the exit to Konstamonitou. I will end this post with a call from the FoMA website:
New recruits to the Footpaths Team are very welcome. If you’re interested, and would like to know more about our next Path-clearing Pilgrimage, please contact The FoMA Footpaths Team.
We met the same team a few days later, cleaning the path from Chilandariou to Chera. Here are more FoMA-heroes who maintain the Athos monopati and kaldirimi:and here are the results of their excellent work:Wim Voogd, 8/6
Very many thanks, Herman, for your recognition of our work – and for walking the wonderful paths of the Holy Mountain. As noted on our website we welcome able volunteers to apply to join our annual path-clearing pilgrimage which takes place soon after Orthodox Easter. We also maintain a record (in English and Greek) of the state of, and detailed descriptions of, many footpaths which can be accesses via http://www.athosfriends.org/footpaths/footpaths_chart/.
Hi,Wim. I was one of your FoMA “heroes” working on the footpath from Hilandar towards Chera. The unsettled weather this year did not dampen our enthusiasm too much. We managed to remove quite a few obstacles between Koutloumousiou and Kaliagra. New recruits to the ranks are always welcome, especially volunteers like you who have an impressive knowledge of the footpaths and who actually use them with relish. Keep up the good work on the blog as well. See you on the Mountain? I wouldn’t miss it for the world…