International Mountain Day Celebration – Kapedes 10 Dec.

A truly international group, including new friends from Japan, Egypt and Syria, gathered for the hike to Agios Onoufrios on the Mahairas mountains. And what a fitting celebration of International Mountain Day this was!

As Xenophon reminded us mountains are under threat. He informed us of a global meeting in Rome taking place this week to consider the problem, and of our response and responsibilities to the sustainability of mountains.

There are no easy solutions. Yet our being on this hike and similar walks, enjoying the fresh air and the centuries-old trees, marvelling at the fecundity of nature, its abundance of plant and animal life, is in itself a way of ensuring sustainability. The more we love the mountains and the more time we spend in them, the more we are likely to protect them.

We delighted in the views of mountain peaks, autumnal colours, in finding wild mushrooms and mosfila. We were also saddened to see discarded plastic rubbish and hunters’ cartridges.

Our small international group at least is fully aware of the benefits and challenges. Mountains live long after us. Let’s continue to treasure them and do our part to preserve them. A small first step is to get out there, rejoice and be uplifted by their unrivalled beauty and majesty. Compliments to Mary for this write-up, and to Patrick and Clara for the photos. Join us on 16 Dec. at Pedieos

pine tree bowing



Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger and migration

The Cyprus Strollers celebrated the International Mountain Day with a gathering on 10 Dec., in which the following message was shared with all.

The UN declared 2002 the International Year of Mountains. From 2003 onwards, 11 December, is celebrated as “International Mountain Day”.

Mountains cover 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, and 915 million people live in mountain areas. 90% of these 915 million mountain dwellers live in developing countries, and ~ 1/3 of these people are poor and vulnerable to food shortage and insecurity.

Our mountains are threatened by their population abandoning their homes, moving to urban environments. Another serious threat is climate change; as temperatures rise, mountain glaciers are melting, and this affects our freshwater supplies. Hence the theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is climate, hunger and migration.

Some 30 years ago, while this writer was living in Switzerland, it was a shock to learn that snow was no longer falling at the time it was customarily expected, and the tourism industry was employing artificial means to create snow for skiing. One may wonder “how do these phenomena affect one living in Cyprus”. The answer is that the entire globe is no larger than a village, as far as the breadth of climate degradation goes. Recall, over 20 persons died in floods in Athens last month.

“What can one do about it”, comes another voice. There are no simple answers, and a Global Meeting is taking place from 11 – 13 Dec. 2017 in Rome, focusing on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development. This Global Meeting is expected to launch a framework to support concrete actions. It is not easy.

Having said this, at a personal, individual level, each one can continue acting responsibly, influencing others and, finally, not losing faith. As Jesus said to his disciples, in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 17: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as one grain of mustard, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

International Mountain Day Celebration – Petra Romiou Hike 11 Dec.

The Cyprus Strollers celebrated the 11 December International Mountain Day with an antithesis, a hike along the coast, in one of the prettiest places on earth: Petra tou Romiou, reputed as the birthplace of goddess Aphrodite. Nature was on our side, with temperature at 19 degrees, sunshine and just a slight breeze. Apart from the large turnout of Strollers, the club had a record turnout of 7 dogs, all carried by brave women members! The outing climaxed with a picnic, also godsent, considering that you don’t find many places in Europe where you can picnic outdoors in mid-December. Compliments to Koula, Marios and Zhinous for the photos. Join us on 17 December on a visit of all 11 bastions of Nicosia