Time to call it a day!

It was one of those trips where fate deals not such a good deck of cards: didn’t allow enough time to traverse the Kom to Emine trail across the Great Balkan mountains, lost in round one with a car, pigeons conspired to assassinate me whilst on a horse (but failed), the dog from Hades took a liking for my calf muscle and… oh yes, the weather… but then every cloud has a silver lining! For me the best day was when we rode to the Eho hut as the weather was changing- very atmospheric and though worrying, absolutely amazing. After Kozja Stena it really was pointless to spend the next three days riding along the ridge mainly due to the fact that we had to drop down into the valley (and so a whole day would have been taken up going down then back up to the ridge to bypass Kozja Stena) and then we had to find a pick up point after two days- not possible. Time to call it a day. So, we rode down through the forest and got down to a small village. Here we waited to get picked up and… there was a shop that sold BEEEEEER! From there we went back to Marian’s village. I was a little disappointed that we hadn’t at least get through the national park but seventeen days is a long time riding in the mountains in the saddle. Hadn’t seen too much of Bulgarian rural life but back in Marian’s village that all changed… in fact it was extremely interesting especially watching the gypsies horse logging. This was how we did it in England a hundred years ago- a gang of all ages from children to old men, ten strong, worked all day with each horse pulling up to three, five metre long and quarter of a metre in diameter, Scots pine down a hill along a deeply worn logging track (and sometimes down slopes as steep as 45 degrees). At the end of the day when all were worn out a timber lorry would come and pick up a full 20 ton load. Oh, did I mention that it took fifteen minutes to get back up to the logging site (almost a kilometre away) and nearly half an hour to pull the timber down?!!! Bulgaria is impressive but its forests- forest as far as your eye can see- are magic! Wood seems to be the energy source for most people and there is a huge amount of wood taken to the capital-Sofia. A wood economy… but I suppose that’ll change to fossil fuel in the next decade. Seven million people with far more wood per capita than in the UK – apparently in the UK each person has 47 trees; God knows how many trees Bulgarians have each. I for one can cut between 10-50 trees a day, God help us in the UK if fossil fuel becomes scarce. Six million medieval people in England  felled most of the trees!!!!!! If that happened now we would be a bigger Easter Island… not one single tree in the whole of the UK- doesn’t bear thinking about! Hmmmmmm… Bulgaria or Romania seem a far safer bet and I dare say their economy will eventually reach parity with the Western ones, it’s inevitable.

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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