Saturday, 23 September 2017

PUNTA CAMPANELLA - the good and the bad

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather (after a period of storms which brought us some
much needed and long-awaited rain), I decided to take a day off work and go for a walk. My chosen destination was Punta Campanella, followed by the climb up the ridge towards Monte San Costanzo.
As anyone who follows my blog will know, the path down to the Punta was re-opened following renovations just over a year ago, having consumed an indecent amount of the European Community's funds and with the official aim (or dare I say it, excuse) of making the path suitable for the less mobile.
As soon as the work was completed (and to say "completed" is being  generous,  since it isn't), eyebrows were raised,since even then, newly re-opened, there was absolutely no way that a person in a wheelchair or with impaired walking abilities was going to make it to the tip or in fact  get much further down the path than before. As far as I know, the only less mobile that have ever made it right down, are one or two people (no more) who have literally been wheeled and carried down by volunteers in adapted trolleys (see photo).
Since the local Authorities had not thought that the "new" path would attract foot-shy day-trippers on their mopeds and even in their cars and that therefore a barrier might have been a good idea to stop them attempting to drive down, parts of the path fast degenerated. The rain over the winter did the rest.
Following protests, a barrier at long last appeared, but the damage had been done, and in any case for a long period it had no lock, so was pretty pointless. When a padlock finally appeared, it lasted days. Today for example the barrier was wide open. However being a Friday in September, I only came across 2 mopeds that had ventured down as far as they possibly could (far enough, but not to the very end, thanks to the state of the path!).
Enough of the negatives. Now for the good points.A lot of the path, whether you like it or not,  is in a good condition and has mellowed from its spanking new status.  The path is clean. I saw no litter at all. The information plaques are  still there, all intact apart from one which has broken/cracked plastic. Hopefully this will be repaired sooner rather than later. The views are as they always are: fantastic. It really is a delightful walk for anyone fairly fit (and mobile).
I set off fairly early, so apart from meeting an elderly gentleman with is dog walking in the opposite direction, the path was all my own. However as I started climbing the ridge, I looked back and there were 2 fairly large hiking groups approaching the tip, pausing to look at the plaques on their way. Behind them were a few more individual hikers and I met another couple descending as I went up. 
I have to say that this gladdened my heart. Our area has so much to offer the hiker and it is good to see that the path is being used. The fact that some stretches are in a pretty poor state and returning  to how they used to be may well actually be a mercy in disguise! 

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