We’ve made our way over to the west coast, on the way to our Patras ferry, and one of the consolations is our first sunset in almost two months (we’ve had plenty of spectacular sunrises)

We’re checking out the cragging at Kalogria on the way. The Araxos Lagoon is part of the Strofylia National Park, a protected area of land on the north western coast of the Peloponnese, near the resort of Kalogria about an hour from Patras. It’s chock full of resident and migratory birds (350 species!), as well as a pretty impressive set of crags.

There are about half a dozen sectors here, each with a couple of dozen routes, but room for hundreds more. The impressive escarpment sloping up leftwards in the picture above is Aeolus Wall, which has mostly been developed as a trad crag. Further right there’s a series of walls and caves giving a huge variety of styles and grades. We decided to explore Ourliachto Cave

… or rather the wall to the left of the cave itself (which has a bunch of 8s in it). This gives a dozen routes from 6a to 7a, around 30m long on vertical grey and orange rock. The quality is excellent with really interesting, textured rock where flakes abound.

We did Kamari, 6a, and Lachesis, 6b+, which gets the šŸŽ¶ accolade from Aris which is well deserved. Both would probably merit an extra + grade in Leonidio. Here’s a rather posed shot of me starting up Lachesis, so you can get an idea of the backdrop.

… and a panorama from the top of the crag:

I then had a go at Klotho, 6c+/7a, which gives exhilarating but not too desperate moves through a couple of bulges before a very crimpy exit to the lower-off (especially if you miss the jug under a shrub!)

For once, the climbing is a sideshow to a spectacular display of nature. Whist the view down to the lagoon (over sector Spadones Wall) is stunning,

… the overriding memory is of the overwhelming cacophony of noise. The air is filled with tweets, squawks, clucks and croaks from the lake, set against a continual background buzz of insect life. Happily, none of these are mosquitos (whose ferocity is legendary hereabouts!) and we escape the whole visit without a single bite. Anyway, it was too hot for comfortable climbing now, so we headed for the beach.

The long strip of sand that forms the seaward boundary of the lagoon is another largely unspoilt ecosystem – home to nesting turtles apparently, and one very discreet campervan.

Time for a last sundowner (until the next trip!)

… and a final sunset…

… before heading to Italy.

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