The Footpath Clearing Project

Annual path-clearing expeditions…

The Friends of Mount Athos are committed to the ongoing project of clearing, restoring and maintaining the old Athonite footpaths, many of them are stone-paved (kaldirimi) tracks for transporting goods by mule and dating from late Byzantine times. The project was initiated with the active advocacy and support of His Majesty the King when he was Prince of Wales and who remains a supporter of the project.

Every year since 2001, FOMA has arranged a path-clearing expedition to Mount Athos and this has grown to become one of the most significant activities in which the Society engages. Typically, the expedition takes place each year in May and is restricted to some 25-30 team members each of whom participates for a period of 1 or 2 weeks.

Before you make plans

If you are interested in joining the footpaths team for the next expedition please contact the footpaths coordinator and remember that only men are permitted to visit Mount Athos (there are no exceptions to this rule).

Contact the Footpaths Coordinator

Clearing the Footpaths

“There are a number of reasons why this work is valuable and necessary. It is a work of charity for pilgrims travelling on foot between the monasteries and in slowing down or at least providing an alternative to the growing use of vehicles, we preserve an ancient element of the living history of the Mountain. The miles of kalderimi – cobblestone mule tracks – are monuments as much as the ancient buildings and we help to conserve them and keep them in use. On a personal level, I find the work spiritually uplifting and physically invigorating and it’s carried out with genial companions in extraordinarily beautiful surroundings”. Path Clearer John Mole

Get Pilgrims Map

For more details about the footpaths of Mount Athos see Following the Footpaths.