Hiking the Pirin Mountains 8 – 19 September, 2012
So many memories of this holiday, so little space to tell it all… so I will share my highlights with you, to show the spirit of a trip with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays.
A memorable day for me was spent at Mount Vihren. After a large breakfast at our comfortable hotel in the ski resort of Bansko, we piled into our transport to travel to the Vihren hut (our base camp). We arrived like shaken peas in a pod by the roads, which were a touch rough on the van’s suspension, not to mention the occupants!
Unfortunately the weather forecast was poor, overcast and misty. Being Ramblers, however, we remained optimistic and prepared for the climb. There are two routes to the summit: the south one, with no scrambling, and the north one for more experienced hikers. Because of the conditions, it was the south route for all – nobody was upset.
I had been looking forward to this walk but was feeling slightly apprehensive. However, even 7-year-old children climb Mt Vihren.
At just after 09:00 we started out from the Vihren hut, at 1950m. I found theclimb quite tough, a hard D+, but within my capabilities; after two and a half hours I arrived at the summit of Mt Vihren (2914m). The view from the summit was poor as the weather hadn’t lifted.
At the summit
To show you what we might have seen with better weather here are two pictures from a previous trip (courtesy of Nigel).
Descending the summit
The North Route
After a quick lunch and a whimsical laugh at our experiences it was time to descend. After even more adventures our intrepid group was all back at the hut by 15:00. The muscles in my legs hurt somewhat but I was very happy with the day. A short journey from the hut for a drink was an excellent thought – no dissenters!
Two other highlights were the Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the walk to the Chairi Lakes.
The sheep arrive for water
One of the Chairi lakes
I really enjoyed this holiday. I found it interesting seeing the country and having three bases over the holiday made the walks more accessible and gave me a more varied insight into Bulgaria. The walking was excellent and the group, our leader Nigel, and mountain guide Ivan made my trip truly memorable.