above the island, Mount Aenos is the highest point on Kefalonia,
its peak "Megas Soros" can only be reached
on foot, once there you are standing 1,627 metres above sea
level. During the winter months the mountain is covered with
a blanket of deep snow and often ice can still be found completely
blocking the roads in the spring and early summer.
The range is covered by 'Abies Cephalonica', a rare
species of fir trees found only on the Aenos Mountain in Kefalonia.
In the distant past, the woods were so thick and dark that
the Venetians called the mountain 'Monte Nero' (Black
Mountain). In medieval period and when the island was under
the firs were used for shipbuilding,
these unique trees are now protected for their rareness and
In ancient times there was a temple devoted to Zeus
at the top of Aenos, but unfortunately due to many earthquakes
that the island has experienced over the years, nothing remains
of it today.
National Park was established in 1962, Mount Aenos, higher
than any mountain in the British Isles, looks down
through thick pine forests to a luxuriant landscape of olive,
cypress, orange, lemon, grape, corn and wild lavender. The
mountain attracts many birds such as the Golden Eagle, a
large number of Ravens, Hoopoes, Kestrels and Warblers.
The lower slopes of the National Park creates a refuge for
the endangered wild horses, species 'Equus cabalus',
who only survive by feeding in a wider area than the park
endangered free-roaming horses (from the ancient Pindos
breed) have a narrow body and have an
expressive head with a rich mane and tail. Although they are
difficult to find,
some have been killed or captured. Unfortunately
most local farmers consider them as pests. It is essential
that they be protected from capture and harassment, as there
are now only 18 left and although still successfully breeding
they are virtually extinct.
A tarmac road winds it way up
the mountain. As I stopped for a spectacular view of the
Omala Valley, I could see clearly far below the old ruins
of Valsamata village and St. Gerasimos Monastery.
I was so high that I could actually make out the distinctive
Both the West and East side of the island can be seen as you wind your way up the mountain with wonderful views of Sami and Ithaca in the distance. Beyond
station, which can be seen when looking up to the summit
from below - the road deteriorates into an often dangerous
and sometimes impassable track that winds its way around
Aenos, this then stretches as far down as
the slopes behind the hamlet of Arginia in the south of the
entering the park the road is actually a very rough chalk track,
a four-wheel drive vehicle is really the only suitable
form of transport here and it is then a very slow 12km drive
up to the summit. However, although a difficult journey
it is certainly worth the effort, as from the summit above
the clouds, at over a mile above
breathtaking views of the island
that for most can only be experienced from inside an aircraft.
As I stood on the mountaintop looking down on some
soft white clouds, one just slowly enveloped me, then past
on . . .
. . . an experience I will always remember on
this truly magical island!
my return to the mountain in 2011 I discovered that the
tarmac road has now been extended all the way up to the
summit. Although it has made it easier to drive to the
top of the mountain. In my opinion it has changed the
atmosphere that I had experienced here in the past and
taken away the remoteness and ruggedness of the mountain.
I believe the authorities of the island need to consider
very carefully any major changes made that could be irreversible
to this amazing island.