Troodos – Fylagra-Moni hike and Loumata Aeton hike: Saturday 14 May

Our excursion of Saturday 14 May 2016 takes place at Troodos forest range, and involves two hikes in the Amiantos area, each offering distinct and different thrills. The 1st hike starts at 11:00 am. Xenophon is leading this double outing, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97613720.

The 1st hike, named Fylagra-Moni is linear, follows a narrow path east, climbing the Moni forest and is all uphill. The return leg is all downhill. The hike is rated 2 for difficulty, on a scale from 1 easy to 3 difficult. The total distance to cover is about 6 km (3 km each way), and the time required is under 2 hours. The hike crosses a stream (a branch of river Kourris) on a wooden bridge, just as it starts; it then follows an area of low vegetation, mainly rock-rose; as we climb, we shall experience bushes and some trees, notably sumach, and a couple of viewpoints. Altitude at start is about 750 m, rising to about 950 m at the other end, near the Trimiklini-Pelentri paved road. Importantly, because the path has not been maintained, for part of the hike we shall be stepping on low plants. This makes it imperative that you do NOT wear shorts, nor short sleeves.

The 2nd hike is estimated to start at 13:15 hrs approximately and the start point is a distance of 5.6 km from the start of the Fylagra hike. The 2nd hike is named Loumata ton Aeton, which means the location where eagles used to bathe. This hike is perfect for river romantics, since it takes us down to the river bed, which we follow for a large part of the trail; further, it involves crossing the river stepping on stones at several points. The river flows all year round, and you should not attempt to cross it in winter, when the water level is high. The 2nd hike is also linear, expected to take under 2 hours, and degree of difficulty is 2 (medium). The intention is to allow time near the end of the return leg, to admire and play by the river.

You have the choice of skipping the 1st hike, and joining us at the start of the 2nd hike. Only in this case, please make sure you find yourself at the start of Loumata Aeton in good time: it is better to be there ahead of the Strollers taking part in the 1st hike, than be late.

About lunch: Lunch will be (weather permitting) a picnic near the end of Loumata Aeton, by the river, so bring along what you choose to eat and drink, which you will need to carry in your rucksack while hiking.

Meeting: You have the choice of meeting the group at the 1st walk start, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions. Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is the very large church named tis Theou Sophias (also referred to as Agia Sophia) in Strovolos, which offers ample parking space on its side street. The car trip starts at 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.

How to get to the 1st walk start, from Nicosia:

From Nicosia take the A9 motorway towards Troodos. The A9 smoothly becomes the B9 highway towards Troodos, when the motorway ends, near Kokkinotrimithia. On the B9 you drive past the villages of Akaki, then Peristerona and then you reach the village of Astromeritis. At the Astromeritis traffic lights, where most cars turn left towards Troodos, zero your odometer and turn left. Drive along the main road. After 25 km you pass the village of Kakopetria. Continue to drive along the main road, in the direction of Troodos. At the 33 km reading, you reach a crossroads (no traffic lights), named Karvounas. Do not turn left (this takes you to Kyperounda village and Madari mountain). Do not turn right (this takes you to Troodos square). Go straight, downhill. Exactly 7.2 km downhill after the crossroads, you reach the walk start, on your left; there is no sign at all, just a side road, so it is crucial that you count km. We meet here. Park your car on the side of the main road, or at the parking of two tavernas facing each other some 200 m further along the main road.

How to get to the 1st walk start, from Limassol:

Take the main road towards Trimiklini, then Saittas. Get to the principal junction at Saittas, where you have the options of going straight to Platres or left to Pera Pedi, or right to Amiantos. Zero your odometer and turn right. At the 2.9 km reading you enter the tiny village of Fylagra. At the 3.3 km reading you drive past two tavernas, facing each other (and usually closed or not very busy). The road bends left after the tavernas and at the 3.6 km reading reaches our meeting point, on your right; there is no sign at all, just a side road, so it is crucial that you count km. We meet here. Park your car on the side of the main road, or at the parking of the tavernas just before.

How to get to the 2nd walk start:

From Nicosia take the A9 motorway towards Troodos. The A9 smoothly becomes the B9 highway towards Troodos, when the motorway ends, near Kokkinotrimithia. On the B9 you drive past the villages of Akaki, then Peristerona and then you reach the village of Astromeritis. At the Astromeritis traffic lights, where most cars turn left towards Troodos, zero your odometer and turn left. Drive along the main road. After 25 km you pass the village of Kakopetria. Continue to drive along the main road, in the direction of Troodos. At the 33 km reading, you reach a crossroads (no traffic lights), named Karvounas. Do not turn left (this takes you to Kyperounda village and Madari mountain). Do not turn right (this takes you to the Amiantos Botanical Garden and then Troodos square). Zero your odometer and go straight, downhill. Exactly 2.7 km downhill after the Karvounas crossroads, you pass a statue on your right, immediately after you pass a bridge, and you turn right (at the 2.8 km reading), following a sign in Greek ‘Αναπαυτήρια ΣΕΚ’. Drive uphill on this side road for the next 500 m; at the 3.3 km reading you reach a junction: do not continue straight; turn right, following again a sign in Greek ‘Αναπαυτήρια ΣΕΚ’. At the 4.0 km reading you reach the start of the trail, noted with a usual wooden sign on your right. Park your car on the side. We meet here.

How to get to the 2nd walk start, starting from the 1st walk finish:

Zero your odometer and drive uphill. At the 4.4 km reading turn left, following a sign in Greek ‘Αναπαυτήρια ΣΕΚ’. Caution: if you have passed a bridge, with a statue on your left on the other side of the bridge (the odometer would show 4.5), you have gone too far. Drive uphill on this side road for the next 500 m; at the 4.9 km reading you reach a junction: do not continue straight; turn right, following again a sign in Greek ‘Αναπαυτήρια ΣΕΚ’. At the 5.6 km reading you reach the start of the trail, noted with a usual wooden sign on your right. Park your car on the side. We meet here.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip:

From Nicosia go to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and turn left. At the 0.3 km reading you see Lidl supermarket on your right. At the 0.8 km reading you reach traffic lights. Turn left into Elaionon street. Immediately after you observe the very large church of tis Theou Sophias, with its green dome, on your right. Just past the church (1.0 km reading) take the first turning to the right into Kastellas street. This side street offers ample parking space. Park here.

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the church of tis Theou Sophias http://tiny-url.org/zu5ijAJn

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace to the church of tis Theou Sophias: http://tiny-url.org/hEk7ggCF

About Amiantos: Amiantos is the Greek name for asbestos. Asbestos has been extracted from the eastern slopes of Troodos from 1904 up to 1988, when the undisputed association of the substance with incidents of cancer put an end to its commercial exploitation. Regrettably, the village of Kato Amiantos, where we start our hike, paid a heavy death toll, during the years of asbestos mining, since many of its inhabitants worked at the mine.

About Troodos: Troodos is the highest mountain of the island, with its highest peak (Hionistra) at 1950 metres altitude. Troodos is covered by a variety of pine trees, junipers, cedars and fir trees, and also presents the majestic golden oak, an endemic species to Cyprus, as well as a rich variety of bushes and wild flowers.

Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.

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