Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Spend a day around Kalavasos Dam...with your dog

Kalavasos dam
This is one of my favourite walks so far in Cyprus. The main reason I liked this area so much is because there are no organised, sign-posted routes, just fields and hills and small pathways stretching as far as the foothills of the Troodos mountains in the distance. It has a very wild, unexplored feeling - which is quite hard to find in Cyprus.

We came here sometime in November and the weather was glorious. It was warm enough to hike just wearing a t-shirt, but no so hot that you have to carry gallons of water with you. There was very little shade, so this is not a walk to do in high summer.

We left the car just next to the dam, and headed off on what seemed, at first sight, to be a path (round to the left of the reservoir if you're facing the water from the dam).

The path soon ended, and we found ourselves sliding down loose scree towards the water - where the elusive path seemed to continue on its way.

In fact, the path did continue, but only as far as the next small outcrop, then again we had to go cross country to continue round. On each of these 'outcrops', which formed little man-made beaches all the way around the reservoir, people had set up fishing lines and were enjoying a Sunday by the dam fishing, having picnics, just sitting and  chatting with friends. I noticed that quite a few of them had driven to the spot where they were fishing, but I didn't see any access and don't know how they got there!

We walked for quite a while, scrambling up and down the banks, trying to circumnavigate the reservoir. We got about halfway. After edging our way round a particularly narrow path, over loose stones and scree, through brambles and spiky plants, we saw that the 'path' we were heading for was not a path. I'm sure we could have found a way to continue round, but we took another direction and headed off towards the hills trying to circle our way back towards the dam.

After a short while walking, we found ourselves on a small but asphalted road, near an army base. Following this road led us eventually back down to the dam (and our car).

So, I can't really recommend a particular route, but I do recommend this area for a hike for anyone keen on hiking and exploring. You should be prepared for a bit of scrambling (good shoes or hiking boots are a must) and carry water with you.

Alternatively, bring a cooler with beers (and a fishing line if you've got a license) and enjoy some time away from the noise and bustle of the towns and beaches.

This is a lovely place to walk with your dog, as there are few people around and plenty of space for everybody. There are no roads, so you don't have to worry about traffic. There are no organised picnic areas or parks with sign-posts forbidding dogs. Just a big wild space for running around.

A warning -  As we were scuttling around on non-existant paths and pushing our way through overgrown terrain, I did have a minor panic about snakes. There is only one snake in Cyprus that is a threat to humans, but several that could cause a nasty bite to a curious dog. It's a good idea to be aware of the possible dangers at all times of the year, but during their mating season (April-June in Cyprus) you should be particularly vigilant. I usually try to make noise and cause a disturbance when passing through undergrowth (or hit a stick on the ground when walking). I also keep Sage on her leash if we are walking through any area where I can't see all the terrain, or if I feel like she might stick her nose into a bush or snake-like home.

I wrote about the potential dangers to your dog in Cyprus, including snakes, in a previous post: http://bit.ly/1jtmd2z

I have also written a bit about this general area in a previous post, focusing more on the history and archaeological survey that was carried out in this area when the dam was constructed: http://bit.ly/MnSKLg

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