19. Selia to Kanevos Walk and Cycle in Crete
via the mountain ridge
Seven kilometres, mostly paths, but with some rough ground with no paths at the top. This route is only for experienced and fit walkers. The only difficult walking is the climb from the cultivated plateau up and over the ridge itself. The limestone rock is very firm underfoot and affords a very good grip to Vibram soles. The rock has very sharp edges and leather boots are essential to protect your feet.
This area is very good for the spring flowers, and the ridge provides a strong updraught for the birds of prey circling above.
The school is on the east side of Selia. Take the concrete road that goes up to the east of the school and follow it round several hairpins until you are above the olive trees.
10 min. Then take a left fork which climbs gently round the hill to come out on a large flat expanse of grapevines and fields, almost circular in shape. There are drifts of wild tulips here in May.
15 min. Follow the track that runs north across this area heading towards the mountain ridge, cross the fence and then continue to follow the same approximate direction upwards. This is mostly very easy scrambling with goat paths to follow in places. The track across the flat ground below you should be pointing at you. You are heading towards the lowest point on the horizon above you with cliffs to the west and more broken slopes to the east.
45 min. You climb the first ridge through a region of larger boulders. There are no real views except of the sea in the direction you have come from.
55 min. Continue north-east and the land soon slopes down into a series of sink holes with the highest point of the ridge now visible to the east. The easiest route is to go down through each of the sink holes which have floors of smooth grass rather than clamber round them on the rocks. On the north side of the deepest a cleft in the rocks falls away into deep shafts in the limestone.
1 hr 5 min. When you reach the highest point to the east of these sink holes you are at the west end of a 100-metre-long ridge, narrow and rocky with a concrete pillar forming a survey point at its east end. There is a scattering of dwarf Holly, Oak and Cedar trees.
1 hr 15 min. You must locate the route onward from the survey point. It is the valley running due north from this that has a good goat path visible in the valley bottom. Follow this path until this valley opens out into a cross valley where stones have been gathered into small cairns.
1 hr 25 min. Continue on the goat path round to the left as it climbs slightly crossing the head of this second valley. The path then swings round to the right and to the north again before dropping down over old low terraces into an area under cultivation with a bulldozed vehicle track.
1 hr 35 min. Turn left on reaching this track and follow its turns until it drops steeply down into the small village of Kali Sikia.
1 hr 45 min. At the tarmac road turn right. This will take you to the
2 hr 15 min. crossroads of Kanevos at the top of the Kotsifas Gorge .