Friday, 3 November 2017

Pootling about the Peleponnese

Sampatiki - a great place to stay
Colin on another classy 6a+
An easy journey got us from Kalymnos to Athens where we collected Andy and Colin for the three hour drive to Leonidio, the current climbing 'Hot Spot' for the whole of the Peleponnese peninsula.
Through bad timing and bad planning we ended up arriving during the week of European Half Term holidays AND the date of second climbing festival to be held here. We were surprised and rather disappointed to see just how busy places were - the crowds were the very reason we had left Kalymnos!
First thoughts on Leonidio - well as many people have said - "It isn't Kalymnos" and I understand exactly what they are getting at.
 Positives - It has to be said first of all - the climbing is great, well bolted, good rock and with stacks to go at and with many really big pitches. The grade spread is good and the fixed geqr is all in excellent condition.
Negatives - The approaches are almost always quite long and steep - which can be a chore in the full sun. Also there isn't currently too much on offer in the shade, many of the decent cliffs face due south so would make great winter venues.
Leonidio is a typical Greek working town, dusty and noisy, with narrow streets and lots of traffic. It is a few miles from the sea and is surrounded by fields of fruit, vegetables and plastic tunnels - currently it isn't really set up for tourists, though climbing and coffee shops, plus assorted accomodations is becoming available gradually.
The locals are super-friendly, though they do seem slightly bemused by all the pale lanky strangers in their midst.
We stopped a short way up the coast from Leonidio in the small port of Sampatiki - which felt much more like the the 'typical Greek' holiday experience.
We are visiting Kyparissi and Napflio next so will report back in due course.

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