While staying on the beach of Borsh, a very nice beach by the way and -so they say- with 7km the longest on the Albanian Riviera, I had to go for a bike ride. Borsh is also one of the least developed areas along the Riviera and in general that is a good thing because it means easy going in terms of wild camping. In case anybody is wondering if wild camping is allowed: the answer is yes. More specific: “wild camping is a part of the adventure while discovering Albania”, it is one of the last unexplored areas in Europe. Now that the summer season is on it’s end and the beaches are empty, means we have a nice place on the beach all for ourselves. (On a side note, this brings some music in my mind: The boys of summer – Don Henley).
back to mountain biking: despite Borsh being the least developed area, there is internet connection available which allows searching for a nice route suggestion. I find some in a nice digital booklet. I decide to choose the “Hidden Circle”. It sounds mysterious enough to give it a try.
Conveniently, it starts in Borsh, so right away it is a climb for altitude along the remains of the Borsh castle and straight into the interior, through the small villages of Hori and Fterrë. the road starts with freshly laid asphalt, but at the castle this changes into the expected 4×4 gravel track. The climb continues until Fterrë. From there the track goes up and down in height intervals of about 100-200m. Also, the surface now becomes more degraded. It is still a 4×4 track, since it is the primary road to Kuç, but parts of it have the character of a demanding single track climb. It continues like this until the end valley.
At that point there is a saddle where this track connects to two other “roads”. One goes down to Kuç, the other goes back to Borsh on the other side of the valley. I choose to go back on the other side, making the hidden circle, since going down to Kuç would mean to ride the same way back up again. That would mean a total of 2200m of gained altitude during the ride. I don’t feel up to it, as it is the middle of the day with a temperature of 31 degrees C. Going back here still makes a distance of 40kms and about 1100hm.
As is usually the case here, the side of the hill that catches most of the sun during the day, has the less lush vegetation, so in this case the way back is more barren, at least initially. Nevertheless it is a nice ride with beautiful views. Especially the end, when the track winds down through several hairpins into a small gorge before hitting the main road to Borsh again.