UA-46324036-2

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Path of the Gods - time for a change?

This year there is even more talk than usual about the  Path of the Gods, the famous and very panoramic trail winding high above the Amalfi Coast attracting keen hikers, and not only,  from all over the world.
In two  posts from previous years "The Path of the Gods" and " The Path of the Gods - suitable for everyone?", I  had already raised my concerns about the fact that many people who turn up to walk this trail underestimate its difficulty, even to the point of expecting to find a gently meandering and level path through shady woods (honestly, this was what cruise ship customers had been told..). It is nothing of the kind, and whilst for someone reasonably fit and correctly shod it is more than feasible, it is not something to be undertaken lightly. For newcomers it is definitely advisable to go with an experienced guide (of which there are many).
I am not a guide but I am passionate about hiking in our area which is why I created my website. This year I have received an incredible number of requests for guided walks, (which I happily redirect), and inevitably the majority are for the Path of the Gods.
I haven't been there  for some time, and frankly have no desire to go. From all accounts it has become terribly overcrowded with queues forming along the narrower stretches where it is single file only.  What used to be a place of peace and sublime tranquility, the silence  broken only by the occasional bleating of the goats, has been transformed into a chattering, noisy mass of people busy taking selfies. Naturally the state of the path is also degenerating thanks to the passage of far too many feet and little or no maintenance.
The Path of the Gods has become the In Thing with local and foreign agencies busy selling guided walks, both private and in maxi groups, accompanied by any Tom, Dick or Harry, qualified or not. The other week, a young girl, sent by her agency and wearing plimsolls with no real grip,  was seen accompanying two much older and well-equipped hikers along the trail. She had never been before. She, the "guide" was the one in difficulty, not the couple she had been paid to take. This is asking for trouble. Accidents can happen at the best of times, but it is one thing to be with people who know what they are doing and are familiar with the path, it is quite another to be accompanied by people who haven't got a clue. 
As soon as the emergency services get called out, the news hits the press: "The Path is dangerous", "The Path should be closed", "Path of the Dead". 
It is not the path that is dangerous, but the lack of control and lack of information. Why not start by installing information points at either end of the path, where people in unsuitable footwear can be discouraged or even stopped from going? Why not start checking that the guides are actually authorised? Dare I even suggest that they start thinking about limiting the number of people allowed on the path at any one time? Just a few thoughts, before the Path becomes once again headline news.




UA-46324036-2