Trinity Rocks Massiv
Peering upwards to take a photo, a wave of giddiness comes over me and I have to hold on to a nearby rock to steady myself. Despite being surrounded by trees, there is a feeling of precariousness as we walk along the narrow path which sometimes seems to disappear entirely before you realise it continues as normal further down. I’m beginning to think we should have taken the well-worn and signposted path rather than the adventurous ‘off-road’ one!
We’re only a few kilometres out of the city of Veliko Tarnovo but you would never know given the natural surroundings we’re walking through. We drove up as far as the small Trinity Nunnery which is so nestled amongst the trees on the cliff it can barely be seen. To reach the cliff face and caves, the path takes you around the front walls of the nunnery and then upwards, except we chose the alternative path and so spend our time scrabbling along the way instead of strolling through the woodland.
Above us, large rock formations jut out where years of erosion have given away to create various crevices and jagged edges which overhang along the cliff face. If you look up for too long, you might think they’d fall on you as they appear to protrude out so much – the evidence is on the ground where you can see huge boulders that have already plummeted off the side of the rocks.
Since 1989, Trinity Rocks Massiv has fast become a favourite climbing spot in this part of the Balkans and its limestone cliff reaches 80m in height and one kilometre in length. There are more than two hundred bolted routes over five sections and this is growing as more people set out different routes. Many of the caves, dotted throughout the sides of the cliff, date as far back as the Middle Ages and were used to house hermits from the nearby Trinity Monastery.
At our final destination, we can see firsthand a group of climbers coming to the end of their descend and watch as they deftly hoist themselves downwards off the cliff’s front. Having driven past the embedded caves from the opposite side of the valley for a number of years, I have finally managed to actually see them close up and it doesn’t disappoint: the views are fabulous and stretch out right across the valley below. Next time, I’ll venture higher…