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PATH CLEARING: 19 May – 1 June 2024

17 - 30 September 2023

Hello Footpath Warriors and Friends old and new!


Only a month or so since returning from the 2023 pilgrimage, it is our great pleasure to announce
that the 2024 trip has provisionally been scheduled for the last two weeks of May – this represents a
return to our traditional spring departure for the first time since 2019.

The Plan


We plan to arrive on the Holy Mountain on Sunday 19th May and leave on Saturday 1 June 2024. To
make these dates work, those travelling from the United Kingdom will depart on a very early flight
on Saturday 18th May and return on Sunday 2nd June. Please note that these dates are still
provisional and may have to move slightly either way to allow for flight times and ticket costs.

Covid-19


At the time of writing, negative Covid tests are no longer required in order to be granted a
Diamonitirion (permission) to travel to the Holy Mountain from mainland Greece. However, matters
may be subject to changes which are outside of our control. We shall continue to monitor the
situation and advise you if any changes have to be made to the Pilgrimage as a result.

More about the Pilgrimage


Coming to the mountain with us is not purely a spiritual retreat or a holiday, but nor is it a
commando training fortnight! A good level of fitness is required however, as the peninsula has steep
slopes and stony paths, plus many uneven surfaces and lots of stairs inside the monasteries. But we
really are a mixed, inclusive bunch and each group works hard to accommodate the capabilities of all
of its members.


We realise that many of you, especially younger ones, have family and work commitments that
make it difficult to spend a full two weeks on the Holy Mountain, and so once again there will be a
small number of one-week places available for both the first and the second weeks.

Travel and accommodation


Our travel will once again be generously supported by The John Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, a
Greek Charitable Trust. Our flights from and to London will therefore be paid for, as well as hotels
and transfers in Greece (except for one-week pilgrims, see next para).
Path clearers travelling from other countries and continents for both weeks often travel via London,
but some may find it more convenient or less expensive to meet up with the Team in Thessaloniki. In
those cases they will have to pay their own travel expenses to Thessaloniki, but hotels and transfers
in Greece will be paid for. Our accommodation and meals on the Holy Mountain are provided free by
the monasteries that host us.
Please note that, in order to benefit from the free flights kindly provided by our sponsor you must:

  • if joining us for Week 1, travel with the group in week 1 and depart the mountain on the middle
    Sunday – this is likely to mean travelling onwards from Thessaloniki on the Monday;
  • if joining us for Week 2, arrive on the mountain on the middle Sunday and depart with the group
    on the final Saturday.
    In addition, if applying for one week only, you will be responsible for arranging your own travel
    between Thessaloniki and the mountain and for your hotel when not with the team.
    NB You will be responsible for arranging your own travel and health insurance as a condition of your
    acceptance on the Path Clearing Pilgrimage.
    Applying to join the Pilgrimage

We are looking for a mix of experienced footpath warriors and first-timers with a reasonable
sprinkling of Greek speakers and people with current first-aid qualifications. All footpath warriors
have to be at least 18-years old at the time of the pilgrimage.


Over the years, we have received more applications to join the pilgrimage than we have had spaces.
In 2024 this is also likely to be the case and, regrettably, some applicants may be unsuccessful this
time. If you find yourself in this position, please don’t be discouraged; we can add you to our waiting
list and you are encouraged to apply again in future years.


If your application is successful, we will ask for a non-refundable payment of £150 towards the
project costs, mainly to cover equipment and tools, plus ferries and incidental expenses. One final
requirement is that you must be a current paid-up member of the Friends of Mount Athos.

WHAT YOU MUST DO NOW


If you’d like to be considered for the 2024 team, please use this Google online form and tick the
relevant boxes: (you’ll have to sign in to Google to do this). Remember to press ‘Submit’ when
you’ve finished! If you are unsure whether this is for you, need further information, have any
questions or encounter any problems with the form, please contact us at
fomafootpaths@gmail.com.


You can also put your questions directly to the organising team by joining our Zoom Q&A which will
take place on Sunday 3 December at 6pm UK time – please click below to register:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMode6vrDktG9KcQOEGJKb-ILxaTQMPeZa2
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the
meeting. We are limited to 100 participants for this call, so please contact us if you are having
trouble registering and we will make appropriate arrangements to increase the capacity.
We look forward to hearing from you, perhaps seeing you on the Zoom Q&A and hopefully on the
Holy Mountain in May.


Please note that the deadline for applications is Sunday 10 December 2023 and we hope to let you
know by the end of the year whether you have been included on the 2024 team.

Contact: Peter Desmond by emailing – peterbriandesmond@icloud.com

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