Category Archives: Purely Practical

Not the E4: routes and waymarks

“All too often the European paths are a figment of the imagination. They simply don’t exist on the ground. And where they do, they follow boring routes along tarred roads.” In theory, the E4 trans-European footpath was just what we wanted, … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Not the E4: routes and waymarks

Look, no blisters!

“There are no emergency services, so do not have an accident.” So ran the warning in the Mountains of Greece guide. That spooked me a little, so I insisted that both Alan and I did an outdoor first aid course. … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Look, no blisters!

Food

“We only have fish,” said the owner of the little pavement cafe on the outskirts of Kalamata. We’d reached the sea at last, and collapsed at a table in the shade of some mulberry trees. It was mid-afternoon on a … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Food

Overnight

One of the delights of walking was the excitement of finding a good place to stay overnight. We carried a tent, so we always knew we’d have shelter of some sort, though it could be hard to find somewhere flat. … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Overnight

My favourite hiking gear

In the long dark winter evenings, buying hiking gear over the internet is a sort of retail therapy, as you dream of peaks and alpine pastures. The trick, though, is not to buy too much, remembering that the lightest kit … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on My favourite hiking gear

Travelling light

Most stories of long distance hikes start with tales of vast packs almost too heavy to lift and the agonies of blisters: an endurance test enough to put anyone off. No, it doesn’t have to be like that.  Neither of … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Travelling light

Water

Finding water was never really a problem. We carried up to two litres, or less if we knew there was plenty of water en route. Both the Anavasi maps and the Greek Mountains guide show water sources. Of course, they … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Water

How fit do you have to be?

Well, we weren’t particularly fit when we started, and certainly hadn’t been serious about training beforehand.  I walked the three or four miles back from my office carrying a backpack with laptop and files once or twice a week for … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on How fit do you have to be?

Learning Greek: The Mills and Boone approach

Many years ago, before gap years were invented, I spent my gap year in Greece. There were few foreigners around, and I either spoke Greek or not at all. It took me about 6 months to get the hang of … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Learning Greek: The Mills and Boone approach

Greek maps, guides and GPS

Years ago, when we first went hiking in Greece, there were no maps. Or rather the maps were jealously guarded by the army as a matter of national security. The only maps we could find were medieval in style: roughly … Continue reading

Posted in Purely Practical | Comments Off on Greek maps, guides and GPS