It was a cold grey Sunday morning when we set off from Vigla up through the beechwoods towards Anthovouni (Flower Mountain) and the Varnous range. A line of turbines snaked out of the mist along the range above us. There was little noise, and their outline was starkly beautiful, but this was right on the edge of the Prespa National Park. Local conservationists were worried about the impact on bats.
It was wild open country, scrubby with rocky outcrops, once again bright with flowers among the patches of melting snow. Down below we could see shepherds’ encampments, but it was still too early for the high pastures and they all lay abandoned since last year. Clear streams, bordered with kingcups, crossed the path.
Then as we came over the final ridge, there was the spectacular view of both Prespa lakes laid out below, encircled by the mountains of three countries. Further down through the beechwoods, warmer now away from the snow, there was a little church on a promontory: a great campsite.
We’d cheated a bit though and weren’t seeing the lakes for the first time. We’d fled from the rain in Pisoderi two days before – Kostas had given us a lift to Agios Germanos with its tavernas and guesthouses above the lake. Then we’d got another lift back to carry on the walk from where we’d stopped. We wanted to walk all the way to the south but we weren’t going to be purist or hairshirt about it. If it was wet and cold, we’d head for comfortable shelter if we could. The walk wasn’t an endurance test. We wanted to enjoy it.
The route: Mainly forestry tracks through the Varnous (Peristeri) range, with occasional E6 waymarking. From the mountain refuge, the E6 follows a footpath along the ridge, including the highest peak (Kirko, 2155m). However, we couldn’t find the path and instead took the forestry track, slightly lower and a little longer. At this height, it’s open country and it wouldn’t be hard to follow the ridge in fine weather. Kilometres: 21. Ascent: 836m. Descent: 1399m.Map: Anavasi 6.2. Prespa Vitsi Voras.