Imbros Gorge, Crete. 14th May 2007
It would be tempting to dismiss the Imbros Gorge as ‘the same as Irini’. True, there are the same wildflowers, the same sheer cliffs and the same narrow ‘gates’ … even the lengths are about the same. But, there’s history here. For a long time, the Imbros Gorge was the only way to the south-coast port of Hora Sfakion by land, hence the cobbled and stepped lengths of path that appear in some places.
At the mouth, Turkish invaders were held off, and, in more recent years, it was used by Commonwealth soldiers during WWII during the battle of Crete, on their way to Hora Sfakion and evacuation.
You can access both ends by public transport, but your timing has to be spot on. However, if you leave a car at Imbros village, you will find taxi-drivers at the other end almost fighting for your custom! I was offered a ride back to Imbros for €20 … ‘ … if we go now! If you don’t mind waiting for other walkers to fill my cab, it’ll only cost you €5’
The first thing you notice is there’s no surface water, although there are more watering points. And, there are more people. That could be because the walk is less strenuous; at Irini, the path climbs the hill for a considerable distance to avoid an impassable choke point.
Where Imbros scores for me is the ‘gates’; narrow passages flanked on each side by towering cliffs, almost like entering a tunnel! The thing it reminded me of most was pictures I’ve seen of the ‘slot canyons’ in Arizona.
I’d read of the narrowest passage of all, and thought ‘This must be it’ at least three times. But, a little further on, I came upon one even narrower.
Near the end, there’s a feature probably unique in Crete. A rock arch, about eight metres high, in the cliff face. At this point, there’s a definite touch of red in the cliff face … probably the same strata as the Iron Gates in Samaria.
Another big difference … at the end, the café was open, and doing a roaring trade! And, there were more cafés only a little further on.
Next week, the Travel Diary moves on to Spain …