This was to be our sixth Tuesday Walk of the season and the date was the 5th November. Would it be a walk to remember and would there be any explosions in the tradition of Guy Fawkes? The answer to the first question was definitely “yes” whilst the answer to the second was “a few rumblings if not quite explosions”. Read on.
The plan was to drive to Pydnai Castle at the western extremity of Patara Beach in an area known as Karadere. The route would follow the Lycian Way up the side of a low hill, into pine forests and down to a stunning headland with panoramic views across the Med and along the full length of Patara Beach. Then it would follow a local road back to the cars.
So a party of 26 – note the numbers are reducing – set out from Kalkan Otogar in a convoy of seven cars. The route took us along the D400 highway to Kınık then on local roads to Kumluova and onwards to Karadere. With one minor, self-inflicted diversion we were soon at our destination.
Finding the start of this walk has always been a bit of a test. There is no Lycian Way signpost showing where the path leaves the road. After a bit of exploration we found the first waymark at the roadside. The only problem was that there had been some erosion and climbing up to the path was going to be fairly hazardous and we didn’t know what state the path would be in. We knew that once we got onto the path it would be a steep and rocky climb and the clear majority was for a rethink of the route. And then a brainwave struck – let’s do the route in reverse. And so we all set out up the road towards the headland.
It was easy walking if a little steep but we had to share the road with a succession of construction vehicles that were large enough to force us off the road at regular intervals. The compensation was the beautiful view along Patara Beach and the ever-widening panorama of the Med with its sprinkling of boats. Once past the headland the road started to enter an area of forestry and to descend towards the sea.
One problem with a big group of walkers is keeping everyone to the same route. And so the inevitable happened. The front group didn’t notice – or chose to ignore – the Lycian Way markers turning to the right up a forestry road. Those of us who did notice stopped to have a rethink. In the end, the redoubtable Keith – of whom more later – volunteered to catch up with the front group and lead them back to the route we were trying to follow. The main group started to follow the “official” trail on the waymarked forestry road. It was not too long before “shepherd” Keith appeared with his “flock” and we were all together again.
Although this stretch of the route is on a well-defined forestry road, it is nevertheless rather steep. We took a breather about two thirds of the way up at a forestry reservoir for emergency water. This water often contains frogs but there were none about today. And then, after a final uphill slog, we reached the highest point of the walk where we planned to have our snacks.
Incongruously, a man appeared ahead of us completely dressed in an apiarists outfit – designed to keep the bees out. Through the trees we could see a tent-like structure and a row of beehives along with some other beekeepers. Our intrepid photographer Roy went for the close up. See his photo record of the day. The rest of us found a good area to sit down at a safe distance from the hives.
The place had a particularly good view over the whole length of Patara Beach. We could make out the route we had followed the previous week as described in The Optimists Walk. As we had walked through the forest and especially around our picnic site, there were plenty of pink cyclamen. Some of the party were on tiptoes to avoid trampling on them.
From here on it was all downhill. Part of the time we were following a single-file trail between the trees and then we rejoined the tractor track of earlier. The final decision of the day had to made when we came to the point where the Lycian Way turned off to the right and proceeded to descend steeply back to the road. This was the path that people had wanted to avoid at the start of the walk and the consensus was to stick to the road even though it would be a longer walk.
The path continued its descent, passing a small farm on the way, until we reached a recently cobbled road and a number of houses. It was about this point in the walk that the rumblings that I mentioned at the beginning, started. We were now about 1.5 – 2 kilometres from the cars. Only the drivers really need to get to their cars as the road back joined the cobbled road at this point. In the end about 2/3rds of the party decided to walk whilst the rest waited in the shade at the roadside.
And so another walk came to an end. We had seen some excellent scenery, had many and varied conversations and even met some beekeepers. The total walk, thanks to a GPS system, turned out to be a little under 9km. Not a bad stretch. And although it seemed at times that we were quite high up, the recorded maximum height was barely 300 metres (approx 900 ft).
When we got to Evimiz, only the girl who helps was there. Gurcel and Eser had gone off to sort out some business. A quick phone call was made and within 5 minutes our host and hostess were back at the café and normal service resumed. And that “normal service” included the helper jumping on to her scooter at least three times to get emergency supplies for the thirsty walkers.
I shall really miss these walks over the coming weeks as we head back to the UK for some grand-parenting time. We have been so lucky with the weather. Six weeks and not a waterproof in sight. Whilst the temperatures were high – in the mid 30C’s – at the start of the season, even now, in early November, we are basking in the mid 20C’s. And we’ve seen a dramatic growth in the numbers wanting to walk from 10-15 to nearly 40 on one occasion. The aforementioned redoubtable Keith will be taking over from next week. I will be watching from afar, eager to see Roy’s photographs and to read Keith’s words of wisdom. Happy strolling to all.