In the pitch black of night four excited figures made their way along the bank of a dry riverbed into the wilderness, taking care not to stumble on the stony ground. Armed with a couple of torches and a speaker full of music to drown out the eerie quiet, we were ready for an adventure. Across the riverbed, we knew, lay a sheltered cave we had seen every morning but had failed to explore until now, and it seemed like the perfect time to check it out. It looked like someone’s secret lair, with bits of old furniture scattered around the place, barely visible behind the shrubbery.
We thought Leonidio was an undiscovered Greek climbing paradise, where we would have all the crags practically to ourselves the majority of the time, feeling ever so smug about how well we did to “discover” this place before anyone else…
…how wrong we were! Leonidio is absolutely teeming with climbers. They’re everywhere. Whenever you see a non-Greek person walking down the street of this tiny town, you can be nearly 100% positive it is a climber. And incidentally, I would say you can be around 70% positive they are German.
Whenever I take a break from climbing outdoors I feel like I’ve gone straight back to square one. Leading even an easy route can reduce me to a gibbering wreck if my bolt is a little bit too far away, or I’m not quite sure where to go, or my feet feel a little bit slippery. It seems to happen every time after a long break, no matter how confident I feel going into it.
We left England on the 6th March. Now, after two weeks, thousands of pounds spent on a breakdown and some of the most stressful days I have ever experienced in my life, we have finally made it to our destination – Leonidio, Greece.
And what a destination it is…
“Whose genius idea was it to come back to the UK in the middle of winter?” – I thought, as I watched the pellets of icy rain hitting the windscreen of our Transit van, waiting for the AA to come and fix it, or at least tow it off the road to safety.