Saturday, 26 January 2013

Top Of The World Ma, Top Of The World

Thinking back to round about September/October time last year and there were reports about how harsh this winter was going to be. I think that we can safely say that they managed to get that wrong. So we have had a few evenings where the temperature has dropped to about -15C, but that has been nothing compared to other years. It is also true that we have had part of the Cresta Run going outside our house. That has been largely thanks to the village children and their bits of board. We have been able to get out and about this winter, so to my mind that indicates that it has been a lot milder than normal. I have only caught the bus into town once, so that in itself has been an added bonus. So here we are not quite the end of January and it is snowing again. Will it be the final flurries of winter? That remains to be seen.

This last week has found us in town meeting up with friends, which even in itself is nice for this time of year. Even the temperature was hitting round about 18C and it felt like a late Spring early Summer's day. After having something to eat we decided that the weather was too good to be wasted, and we all agreed that a walk would be a good idea. Now for those who know Gorna Oriahovitsa you will have noticed the big stone cliff face that overlooks the town. To the locals it is simply known as 'The Stone'. It is a popular walk with the locals but not something that we have really done, but even though we weren't really dressed for it we decided to give it a go.

I was surprised to see just how many others were doing the walk too as it was midweek, but there were the elderly, family groups and dog walkers all enjoying the unusually warm weather. They all seemed to be heading for the hut/cafe at the top and then turning round and going back to the bottom. The road and paths wend their way through woodland and even in the summer it would be quite a pleasant walk. Where everyone else continued straight on we headed in the direction of a sign saying 'Panorama'. This put us on the Ecotrail for The Stone, we decided that we might as well try it seeing as how we were there. The first bit of the trail was easy enough to follow as it had been marked with red and yellow paint, although this did seem to peter out and we were left to our own devices. Following a slight detour we found ourselves at the base of the Stone, so we back tracked slightly and found a way up. Others had been there before us as there was evidence that wine connoisseurs had been having one of their meetings there. That to me is one of the main disappointments, this is such a scenic country but rubbish just gets dumped or left.

We scrabbled over mossy rocks and slowly made our way to the summit. We even managed to find the paint marks again so we knew that we were back on the right track. On getting to the top the whole of Gorna Oriahovitsa was spread out at our feet. Wow, what a view! Sod's Law of course dictated that between the four of us none of us had a camera with us. We were able to spot various villages and landmarks as we stood up there , we even spotted another couple of potential walks. If anyone had told me back in the autumn that in the middle of January I would be stood up on top of the Stone looking over Gorna Oriahovitsa I would have thought that they had gone mad. We have all decided that we are going to do the walk again and next time we are going to take cameras with us. So maybe our walking season has arrived a wee bit early but we don't mind.

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