TFR Orchid Walk
As the season for finding wild orchids is very short in North Cyprus, The Foreign Residents in the TRNC decided to arrange a walk for its members to have an opportunity of locating some of this very shy flora which is there if you look hard enough.
Some of the group met up in Karaoğlanoğlu and others made their way to the meeting point at Buffavento Restaurant and from there we all drove to the car parking area in Alevkaya where the trails start from. There is a viewing platform at this point called “Lovers Leap” and from this you can see breathtaking views for miles around. With the variety of nationalities who are members of TFR, we were quite a mixed bunch of German, English, Irish and Scandinavian, together with an assortment of happy dogs, all ready to take to the trail and see what we could find.
We started off down a fairly steep track and soon we were deep into the Plataniotissa forest which was so quiet and peaceful. Birgitta Bergman from Sweden had a good knowledge of wild flowers so she was appointed as our guide. We soon discovered some tiny orchids hiding away in the foliage either side of the track and this was repeated all the way down but there is not an abundance of orchids and Willi Lindh, the organizer of the walk, had asked for the dogs to be kept on leads so there was no danger of the flowers being trodden on. In time let us hope that these plants which are native to Cyprus have a chance to multiply. Birgitta showed us a flower related to the orchid family which has petals resembling the frame of a naked man, which was quite amazing.
We trekked on seeing a good variety of wild flowers and plants and eventually came to a clearing where some of the more robust walkers decided to continue further and visit the ruins of the former Armenian Monastery Sourp Magar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sourp_Magar). The rest of us then went uphill and came to the tarmac road where we made our way back to the car park after what was a very enjoyable amble through the forest.
Most of the members made their way back to the restaurant where we had an enjoyable meal including stunning views of the Besparmak Mountain before going off in our different directions.
Many years ago I used to go out with a rambling group in Wales and would spend the whole of Sunday walking in the Welsh hills. I remembered my aching joints back then but also, after a hot bath when I got home, the feeling of well-being at the end of the day and on this walk in the Buffavento area I was conscious of the aches and pains but must say it was well worth it for the beautiful scenery, good company and seeing nature at its best.
By Margaret Sheard