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Saturday, 28 May 2016

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Some good news, after a series of more negative blogs. It seems that at long last the local administration and tourist bodies have woken  up to the fact that the area of Massa Lubrense is in fact an excellent centre for hiking and that this could even be used to promote tourism and entice more visitors to spend their holidays here.
Two interesting initiatives:
TREKKING FEST 2016 organised by the Proloco "Due Golfi" of Sant'Agata which will take place over 3 days, starting on 2nd June. Three days to discover and enjoy some of the best itineraries of the area including a walk through the villages,  the Athena Trail (Punta Campanella - Monte San Costanzo) and the Sirenuse Trail (Pizzetiello and Malacoccola), with the evenings dedicated to traditional music and stalls of local craftwork. To book and for more information, call 081 5330135. I would really have liked to take part in this,  but unfortunately work and family commitments make it impossible. Hopefully next year.
PASSEGGIATE DI PRIMAVERA (springtime walks) organised by the Proloco of Massa Lubrense.  I apologise for not having mentioned these earlier, but there are still 3 walks to go (the first having been postponed due to poor weather), and each at the modest price of 5 euros per person, including a visit to a farm or agriturismo where you can taste local produce.  More information and to book call 081 5339021 (9.30 to 13.00hrs).
Hopefully these will have the success they deserve!
 
 


Friday, 27 May 2016

PUNTA CAMPANELLA - NO SURPRISES...

In my blog dated 18th April regarding my impressions of the recently restored and re-opened path to Punta Campanella, I wrote:
"My remaining concern is what happens once the work is finished. Towards the start of the path is a road sign. It clearly states in 3 languages  "No Entry. (Footpath) - Nur Zu Fuss - Seul a Pied". Unfortunately it is not in Italian, and even before the transformation of the path, cars, Ape trucks and mopeds would venture down as far as they could.  Once it is a clear run straight down to the tip, I shudder to think what might happen, especially since the vast majority of Italians believe more in wheels than using their legs."
Unfortunately never was a forecast more true. Last Sunday, to all accounts, the path became a highway, invaded by mopeds and motorbikes, and any pleasure of a walk in tranquillity immersed in nature, was wiped out by the smell of petrol fumes and the noise of revving engines. So no surprises there.I cannot for the life of me think why the local authorities expected anything different and  can only hope that, now that their eyes have been opened, the necessary measures will be taken, and quickly. We really do not want another Regina Giovanna...
Meantime Giovanni Visetti has adapted his previous map of the area to create an "idiot's guide" (idiots being the appropriate term), showing exactly where access is limited. The idea is that this will be printed and posted at strategic points before the start of the trail, so that no one can claim ignorance to the fact that it is for pedestrians only. To be honest I have my doubts  that it will make any difference at all. The kind of people who ride their mopeds down to the tip of Punta Campanella are not ignorant, just bone idle and couldn't care less. The road signs have always been there forbidding motorised access. There was even a half hearted barrier pushed to one side. They are there to be ignored and it will take more than a poster or two to dissuade them.
Then this evening I read news of a new project to valorise Crapolla...  Whilst the conservation and protection of   ancient historical sites is of course to be welcomed, the mind frankly boggles at what this could entail, should the funds arrive.. 
  

Saturday, 21 May 2016

VIEWS, FLOWERS, BUTTERFLIES AND....RED PLASTIC RIBBONS

Yesterday I took myself off for a walk  along the CAI300 trail from Nerano to Monte San Costanzo.
It was a bright, sunny morning and as I came out of the woods and into the open , not only were the views down to Marina del Cantone and over the Amalfi coast as amazing as usual, but everywhere was bright with colour. Pink and white cistus flowers, yellow, sweet smelling gorse and purple thistles lined the path and covered the hillside.I continued along my way, stopping here and there to take photographs, trying to convince the butterflies to stay still long enough to immortalise them. All was good.
My crop of plastic red ribbons
Then the red and white plastic ribbons started to appear, tied to strategically located branches along the track, flapping in the wind. Believe me, red and white plastic does not look good in the midst of such natural beauty. Evidently these were an unpleasant legacy of the Jeranto-Campanella Trail race held nearly 2 weeks ago.
Quite frankly this is not the first time that such a race has been organised, leaving behind  a nasty reminder for anyone else following that route. Just a week ago, Giovanni Visetti had already reported finding (and removing) a multitude of ribbons along a different stretch of the same race. Surely the organisers should be responsible and accountable for leaving the area ribbon-free once the race is over? Is it so difficult to arrange for a couple of people to walk the route behind the last participant, removing them as they go? How many times have we heard that they will be removed "later", or "the next day" or "in a few days' time", but this never seems to happen, or if it does, it is partial and very rarely complete. Why not do it straight away, or at the latest the following day, but taking care to follow the entire route of the race from start to finish?
As far as I can tell, the plastic ribbons are not biodegradable and will be there forever unless the wind tears them from the branches and deposits them further afield, which of course does not  resolve the problem, just moves it elsewhere.
You may say "what do a few plastic ribbons matter?". However it is not only a question of protecting the planet (every little counts), but also a matter of courtesy. I for one would not walk through someone's garden leaving my rubbish behind.
  
 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

UPDATE ON THE FORESTALE TRAIL and not only

Back in late February I wrote a blog about the neglected state of the CAI00 trail between Santa Maria del Castello and the Forestale building.

I returned there last Sunday and was delighted to find that all but one of the tree trunks obstructing the path, (and that a very small one which anyone could get over), had been removed,  and that the terrace around the Forestale building had been cleaned and tidied. In fact there were even a few hikers sitting at the table enjoying their picnic lunch. So that is good news.
The entire trail was spectacular, the views embellished by a multitude of flowers to the sides of the path: an abundance of spontaneous orchids, bushes of pink and white cistus flowers and lovely scented broom. The vegetation has certainly bounced back with a vengeance since the fire a couple of years ago.


We had hiked to Santa Maria del Castello from Monte Pertuso, following the CAI131 trail up the Valle Pozzo. This was another path I hadn't frequented for some time, put off by reports that it had become impracticable. It hasn't. However someone seems to have taken it upon themselves to try and obliterate, or at least "mute", the red/white CAI sign indicating the turning at the base of the valley. The sign is now pale pink, easy to miss and in any case quite discouraging. Take no notice!  
All is well, and  although there were a couple of places where you had to watch your feet,  and one tiny stretch where the vegetation was invading (but not obliterating) the path, it was incredibly pleasant and more than feasible, so do not be put off.
We had one major surprise along the way: in a rock pool at the crossing of the valley we found a turtle. I have no idea how it came to be there and I am not sure who was more surprised, but there it was, and it even swam towards us as we were staring at it in disbelief.
 Click here for lots more photos of the hike.
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