Walking around Lefke reservoir
By Chris Elliott
Having been to Lefke twice now, I thought I would return and explore more of this fascinating town so I drove back to the town and followed the road past the police station and post office and turned off as I did before, to park near the Karadag school and from here it was a short walk to the turning on the right of the school grounds where our walk starts.
From here the road starts to go uphill between rows of tall trees and set back on the left side are a number of bungalows and as you continue to ascend the hill there are a number of good places to take panoramic pictures on the right. As you reach the crest of the hill you get great views westward to the sea at Guzelyurt bay and there is a castle style house on the right.
Follow the road to the left and there is on the left a number of properties nestling around a small hill on which there are a number of radio masts and other transmission aerials and you will see this landmark as you re-enter the town at the end of your walk. On the right I passed an area on the side of the hill that was being cultivated, before I reached two benches where there were even more fantastic views which included the silhouette of Ataturk on a hill which can be seen from whichever direction when you travel towards Lefke.
The road descends now through a small village with varying styles of bungalows, some with well cared for gardens with a profusion of flowers that were worth stopping for to take photographs and many of the locals smiled and called out greetings as I passed. Soon you come to the bottom of the hill and as you walk between the last of the bungalows you will see a track leading off to the left but you will follow the road up another rise in the landscape and again you will see fine views to the right including the Atatürk silhouette and again its worth stopping to take more photographs.
Reaching the brow of the hill there is a brown & white coloured house surrounded by a white wall on the right and to the left high on the hillside another house with a white wall. From here we have two tracks and we take the right hand unmade track which leads steeply downhill into the valley and as you wander down with care you will see, depending on the time of your visit, many flowers growing at the side of the track. Continue on down this track and soon you will see a track on the right but do go forward until you reach a fine viewing point where you can see the reservoir.
Return now to that turning on the right and go down here with care as it is fairly steep with loose gravel and again depending on the time of year you will be greeted to a fine display of wild flowers on either side. As you reach the bottom of the track you will see on your right hand side the ruins of two small buildings, one of them will be white and large areas of fenced cultivated land and now you should follow the track to the left when it will reach the flat valley bottom and join a wide unmade road that will take you off again to the left up an incline towards the direction of the dam.
Soon you will see the dam overflow sluice and beyond that of course the dam and as you follow the track upward as it twists and winds you will see even more of the dam as it comes into view with a very impressive array of boulders forming the inner face of the dam wall but sadly the water level is now very low and has probably been like this since the dam and other works were abandoned so many years ago.
Now you can see signs of the desolation with various remains of workings on the dam floor with vast areas of red mud and near the waters edge I saw what seemed to be teenagers just sitting and walking by the water’s edge. Perhaps the most thought provoking sight was the ruin of a very strange building which clearly had a motor house with a chimney but it looked a little like a flying saucer shape with a central feature which was perhaps an exhaust and surrounding this on the roof were rows of what were probably air intakes. If I had been a few years younger perhaps I would have scrambled down the side of the valley to explore this building and try to learn more.
Walking on from here up the sloping track I soon saw on the right a very large Turkish cemetery which was built right up to the edge of the hillside surrounding the dam. From here it was a short walk to a road and just before reaching this on the left are the remains of a mountain stream and pool which was full of clear green and probably lifeless water, which looked very unhealthy, surrounded by red mud and other debris.
Now it was time to take the road to the left and away from the entrance to the cemetery and all you could see on either side was rock or earth tinged with green or red colour and eventually into view on the left were huge barren slag heaps of workings from the CMC plant from many years ago.
Reaching the end of this road you turn left onto another road which approaches a junction where on the left you will see a stadium and a large flat parking area. The way ahead is fairly obvious as you can see the house surrounding a small hill with the radio aerials we saw when we started our walk. Continue now as the road curves to the right and downhill and you will pass the ‘Terminal’ café which looked as if it was no longer open and ahead there is a large bus terminal on your right, opposite some more bungalows on the left. Beyond this we pass a few cafes and shops on the right where I spotted a couple of old cars wanting some TLC and further on you see some older buildings on the right which were workshops and was the location where Ismet Üstüner was taken prisoner with the other villagers in those sad days in 1974 (click here for more information).
Our walk is almost complete and as we walk towards an old coffee shop on the left I hear the sound of rushing water that was filling up a cistern which then fed the culverts with rushing water that I noticed on my last visit to the town. Just beyond here you will see the bus stop near which you will have parked your car.
This walk I found fascinating and although these days I don’t have opportunities to take a lot of exercise I found that after a good night’s sleep I was fully recovered and the aches of the previous day had gone and I was ready to go walking again and will bring you news of my next adventure very soon.
To read more and walk around Lefke town click here