Turkey 88.

It all started as a trip to Pinargozu and a feasibility study. After our last trip to Turkey by minibus, which took six days there and six days back, we were looking for something quicker and less tiring, so we decided to try a package holiday and see if we could
get around by public transport.

The main group arrived in Antalya and three keen lads set off immediately for Pinargozu, followed the next day, by six slightly less keen individuals. They were soon back with bad news, the entrance pool, which is a bit like Valley Entrance with a 100MPH wind blowing through it, was sumped up. Apparently some of the lads
climbed Dedegol Dag, the peak behind the cave, to find half a mile
of snow on the final ridge. As the temperature was in the 90’s, this
was now melting and filling the cave with meltwater.

This was a blow, but on the way to Pinargozu the party was shown two holes which had been exposed while a new road was blasted around lake Beysehir. Meanwhile two members, in a hire car, with all the tackle, carbide, and food had gone missing. They turned up three days later, after getting lost up the Turkish dirt roads. The search for them had reached vice-consul level.

Meanwhile the Red Rose geriatric division had a look at the results of some more road building exploits. The road building gang had opened up a twenty by twenty foot entrance alongside a new road and as one passed by on the bus, ten foot stals were there for all to see. It was beyond my wildest dreams. We soon organized a bus trip and in best Turkish caving attire (shorts and a T-shirt, plus a melon), we were on our way. Unfortunately, apart from a few well decorated, short passages, it ended at the bottom of a 5Oft. rift. The sandy gravel at the bottom showed where the water sank and was asking for a dig, in this country it would have had attenetion!

We then decided to widen our scope and headed for an area north of Antalya, described, in passing, by the Turkish caving bible. By dint of the ‘Camel Fund’, a grant obtained by Alan Thripleton from his club, we hired a 1953 Chevrolet and headed for the hills. Koca In, to be precise, translated this means ‘Big Caveand boy, was it! The only trouble was the walk to it in one hundred degrees temperature. Not understanding Turkish we were indebted to our driver, who chatted up a couple of farmers to show us where the cave was. They decided to come along with us. After an hour and three quarters walk we arrived.

The entrance was about two hundred foot wide and two hundred foot high! After a four hundred yards walk in we came to a row of stals 2Oft. to 5Oft. high, and passed through them into a chamber the size of G.G. The ‘passage’ split and we went to the right and down a slope of calcite for about eighty feet in a decorated rift. After three rows of stals it closed up in a gravel ‘floor?’. Returning to the big chamber we climbed about 1OOft. up the calcited boulders. With my Mickey Mouse Petzyl electric, everything above was black. However when John Mitch appeared with a big carbide, Oh boy!, a big stal about sixty foot, showed up. I had just taken a shot of this giant when Ron and Alan appeared about two hundred feet behind us screaming at me to set up my slave on the stals. When we did this we saw the next one in line. Over a hundred foot high! What a cracker!

The two Turks who had come into the cave with us, with no lights, started to point to something that we had missed. It was a water supply which came cut of a passage about fifty feet up the wall, There were three cisterns, built by the Romans, under the flow, and. when we climbed up the carved steps into the stream passage, there was a pool of clear water, about ten feet deep. It was delicious! On the other side of the passage, on a smooth wall, were carved niches and lettering to the various gods. This was only a flying visit, but I swore to tell the rest of the group to have a good look around, as I couldn’t believe that the cave could end there.

Our next trip was to look for Kirk Goz cave and visit the prehistoric cave, Kara In. As is usual with Turkish maps, we couldn’t find it. On taking a side road we spotted some water pipes coming out of a cliff, with binoculars we saw a cave about a hundred yards to the side. This turned out to be Guvercinlik Cave. A big entrance, then down a wide boulder slope, about seventy feet to a triple bridge over a thirty foot pitch. No ladder, so off we go. We then returned to the main road and past a large gate, with what looked like a triple lime kiln behind it. After searching the fields behind this we went in and met the manager who could speak a little English, and he got a young lad to show us to the entrance of Kirk Soc. I’m glad he did as I don’t think we would have found it in the surrounding scrubby landscape.

The entrance was blowing, nice and coal, and John Mitch and I slipped in for a quick look A big rift, heavily calcited, went down at seventy decrees for about seventy feet, then level for a hundred feet in Mevlanas Tomb so called after the leader of the Whirling
Dervishes. It was here that I ran out of film (not again!). From here it went down again for another seventy foot to a sump. This was in a 15ft. cross rift about 2ft. wide, lovely clear water with large stals entering the water for about three inches. John and I had been trying to trace the draught, which seemed to rise up the slope from the sump. I would like to see this sump when the water level drops, as my theory is it must go beyond the sump. On our way out we found some skulls and large bones and bits of pottery.

Later we visited the prehistoric cave and museum of Kara In, but the curator was not interested in our tale of bones. ‘There was a battle there in 1920” he said “and the bodies were thrown in.” If so, the skulls were held in the fastest forming calcite I’ve

The main lesson to be learned from this trip is timing. Although it was glorious in the sun, it was too hot. After talking to the locals it would seem that May (although showery) or late September, early October would be more suitable times. September/October would be better for caving as the water would have run off and the sumps would be lower. The temperature would also be more like an English summer (what’s one of those? Ed).


Carbide was obtainable in Antalya and camping gas cylinders were also available, though not English made, but produced in Greece.

Travel by bus services (both long and short distances), and food were very cheap. The turkish people could not have been more friendly and helpful.

Our base for the holiday was Kemer, as we wanted to -fly from Manchester, but a base further east in Side or Alanya would have given us more scope in the central caving areas

Jim Newton.

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