East above Mestia
Gt Caucasus, Svaneti, Georgia
William Mackesy’s account of this walk
We arrive in Mestia in the late afternoon; after a long day travelling, we are gagging for a walk, but don’t have that long, so make this upliftingly beautiful shorter walk.
We set off from just beyond the airport, at the base of the hill over the river from town. We follow a dirt track up the hillside above the river, then turn directly uphill for some while, joining a deep old farm track which emerges out to steep, beautiful meadows divided by ancient lines of little hornbeam and other trees on old dykes, now with glorious views out over the Mestia bowl and, more importantly, north up the wide upper Mestiachola valley to the wild confusion of spikes and madly broken ridges above churning glaciers that constitute the high border ridge.
We swing right (south), and continue to climb, more gently now, up to a knoll, where we indulge in a leisurely admiration of the huge circle of peaks, forested slopes and deep valleys around us, all gilded and shadowed by the late sun.
We could follow the contours round along the mid-flanks of these eastern hills, then drop back to Mestia, but that would take some 2 hrs, and we don’t have time; we retrace our steps in the delightfully fading light. 1.5 hours in total.