Turkey, The Organized Way.

Early in the morning that we were to fly out I began to doubt that I/we would ever get there. I was supposed to phone Doug to let him know that I was on my way to Cartmel. I couldn’t get an answer. Arriving in the area of his home, his rough map seemed incomplete - Found it. Off to Jim at Lancaster, 6am and no bus - 6.20 and the bus was alleged to be on its way. 6.30 and we were just about to use cars to get to Manchester Airpcrt and the bus turned up.

Arriving at Manchester we found that we had plenty of time, and we met up with the rest of the expedition. The plane le-ft more or less on time.

Just over four hours later we walked into the oven that was Antalya Airport, and a further hour found us at our resort, Keymer.

The next morning the party split up, the more venerable members of the Red Rose electing to stay in Keymer and combine any caving with a good helping of the tourist bit. Owing to my youth, and Jim’s account of Pinagozu, I decided to join the LCCC contingent and we set off for those parts. Oh my misplaced faith!
Breakfastless and early (6.3Oam ish) we left Keymer by Dolmus, braving the chaos of the Antalya bus station we eventually found tickets and a bus to take us to Beysehir. There being some time to spare, our thoughts turned to Breakfast, I can particularly recommend the chilli stew. There followed an introduction to a turkish public convenience, a daunting experience!

On the bus and away, five of us were seated across the rear seat, a mistake, the engine was under, and we were soon to appreciate the term ‘blazing saddles’! With only one stop long enough to visit a toilet, we traveled some 200+ km.

Arriving at Beysehir, we found that we should have got off at the previous town Sarkikaraagac, luckily a bus was just about to depart and we retraced our steps. At Sarkikarasqac we enquired of a local about means of reaching Yenisarbademli, the nearest village to Pinagozu, soon we appeared to be surrounded by the entire male population all offering advice.

Out of this we met Ozman and his minibus. He agreed to take us on, and in fact took us to the cave area. Here we were met by our advance party who had two items of news for us the cave was flooded and our equipment and food had not arrived. Our immediate needs were met by a party of Turks who invited us to join them in their picnic. This ended with some of the local spirit, Raki. We were then invited to a round of Turkish dance.

After this four of us investigated a small cave passage to the right of Pinagozu, this by the light of a pen torch, it went for a hundred feet or so before becoming too tight.

The next morning still no sign of our supplies, so after a frugal breakfast of bread and tomato we set off to investigate the area above the cave. Athough we found several impressive shafts, some twenty to thirty feet in diameter they were only some twenty feet deep and completely blocked. Tiring of this someone suggested walking up a nearby peak. It seemed a good idea. It turned out to be one of those hills with re-occurring peaks, and we found out later that it was some nine thousand feet. (we were at five thousand -feet)

Returning to the camp site still no sign of our missing car and supplies. Again a party of Turks came to our assistance and we were fed The party split, four made their way back to Keymer that night. To set off to explore the surrounding country the next morning, 4hjle the rump made our way back to Keymer.

Back in Keymer we festered for two days, then in the evening our missing pair turned up round about midnight, despite our fears for them, they had merely been lost. A 1am meeting was called and it was decided that we would return to the Yenisarbademli area and investigate two caves that we had seen beside the road alongside Beysehir lake.

This time all went well, the two caves were investigated, the first proving to be a fifty foot pitch blocked at the bottom. The second was again some fifty foot deep, but contained a ‘lake’ at the bottom. This was twenty feet deep and some fifty foot wide and broad. It was also breathtakingly cold. At the far side there was a small but impressive crystal chamber.

The next day several of the party returned to Pinagozu, but found it still flooded., and so climbed up the mountain, Ruik Dag. (Jim where was your 100mph draught?)

The rest of us, using a local fisherman visited two islands in the lake, one covered with, Roman ruins, and the other with cave dwellings.

The next day we split up again, the rump starting our Turkey tour. By Bus and lifts we covered some 1000KM. We visited Goreme a town carved out of the pillars of (Ron Bliss informs me, Tuffa, solidified volcanic ash). An impressive sight, especially at 4am, with the sun just about to rise! 0f note was our brief stay in Nidge, here there was no beer to be found, and a 4am early call from the local mosque.

Eventually we arrived back in Keymer to hear of Jim’s finds, and only one day Left of our holiday! That night the whole expedition gathered for a meal. The results of which took the staff some half an hour to add up. The next day, after some route finding confusion, we visited the ‘bone cave’ and it‘s resident scorpions. Unfortunately there was no time to see Koca In. So there it was, a holiday I think was enjoyed by everyone. Lessons have been learned and hopefully we will return in 89.

We found the Turks to be extremely friendly and helpful, certainly a fortnight was not long enough to learn a great about this country, but long enough to instill a wish to revisit.
The vast areas of limestone must contain caves and systems that wait to be found, we now know that it is feasible tous package tours to get there cheaply. See you there next year.

Dick Wade.      

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