I purchased "Landscapes of Western Crete" by Sunflower Books following the decision to take 6 experienced ramblers to Crete on a walking holiday. The purchase was made several months ago and I now feel able to review the book following our holiday.
Firstly a little about our group. Six of us average age 69 and a little bit, includes 4 experienced leaders, all used to walking in the flat areas of South Essex. Two of us had been to Crete on several occasions but the other four had never been.
I took the opportunity to download the GPS data to use on two Garmin units that we would take with us. Walks were done in May 2012.
We walked walk numbers 11, part of 22, 24, 21, 6, 29 and part of 18.
Walk 11. Due to problems with one of our hire cars we made a late start and after 4.5 miles found ourselves in a massive hail storm and decided to turn back.
Second attempt was much more of a success. Walk was easy to follow from instructions given although I found it easy to follow the thin blue line on my GPS. At approx. 5miles decided to walk on the track rather than over the mountain (added about 1.2 miles to distance) and were rewarded by fantastic views to the West as we came through a mini gorge. At the 8 mile point of the original walk the track disappeared and we were on goat tracks which were sometimes tricky but well marked with cairns left by previous walkers and of course the thin blue line on the GPS. Verdict. 2 never again the rest of us fantastic.
Certainly learnt the meaning of the word "Taxing"
Part of walk 22 and walk 24. Initially we were going to get the boat from Hora Sfakion to Agia Roumeli but instead went only as far as Loutro. (A good decision as far as we were concerned). Walk was very easy to follow, with the sea one side and the mountains the other. We set off from Loutro in the direction of Agia Roumeli and walked for about an hour, had lunch and turned around to walk back to Hora Sfakion. Proved extremely difficult in places with recent rock falls. Verdict. probably not for our group.
Walk 21 Samaria Gorge. Hired a mini bus with driver to get us to and from the gorge.
Plenty of water at the bottom but a must do for any one who walks and goes to Crete. Verdict . Would all do it again.
Walk 6. I reversed this walk to make the distance to the lake longer than the return and used the GPS to take us all the way. Easy walk mainly on quiet roads and tracks with a great Sunday lunch overlooking the lake. Verdict. All would do it again.
Walk 29. Only four of us did this walk which although hilly for us was straight forward for us. Followed directions as far as Mourne where there was a difference between directions and my thin blue line. Followed the latter as could see that this would get us back. Verdict. Good for us would do again. (Directions would have taken us on different route through Mourne.)
Part of walk 18. Drove to Elafonisi (this was a day off) and walked for about one hour towards Paleohora had lunch and walked back. Verdict. Tricky for our group with some very sharp rocks would probably avoid in future.