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Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

The past couple of days we have been slowly orienting ourselves to the Faroe Islands and our next month as part of the Clipperton Project (TCP). At the moment we are based in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes.

Tórshavn is a really gorgeous place – lots of interesting things to photograph!

To give a little bit of a cultural context – the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. It has its own parliament and its own flag. The Visit Faroe Islands website has some great information about the history of the Faroes:

According to stories passed down for generations the Irish abbot St. Brendan in AD 565 went in search of The Promised Land of the Saints. One of the stories told of a visit to “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds” situated several days’ sailing distance from Scotland. Based on this story and archaeology excavations there is good reason to believe that Irish monks were the first settlers in the Faroe Islands.
In the 9th century Norse settlers came to the Faroe Islands. These were mainy farmers who fleed from Norway and ended up in the Faroe Islands in search of new land. The special constitutional status of the islands was originally founded on the ancient viking tradition from the 9th century AD (all free men convened at the Althing, later called Løgting, in the capital Tórshavn). From the latter half of the 12th century on – when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom – they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions, while at the same time adapting constitutionally to the surrounding political contexts of coming and going empires reaching out from the Scandinavian heartlands.
Little is known about Faroese history up until the 14th century. The main historical source for this period is the 13th century work Færeyinga Saga (Saga of the Faroese).

Anyway, we have only just started our journey with TCP – will share more soon!

Katmandu, Nepal – A Photo Essay

The recent earthquake in Nepal has bought back memories of an unforgettable trip I did the Nepal in late 2008, I hope most, if not all, of these places are still standing.

Also see my subsequent post Ama Dablam Trek, Nepal – A Photo Essay.

Central Anatolian Trek, or Büyük Anadolu Tür 2014

We were really pleased to receive this article from Mac about the Evliya Çelebi Way 2014 ride and to hear that other riders joined along the way to complete the journey. Hopefully we will have more stories from Mac and Donna this year about their forthcoming horse-riding adventures.
Tracey Benson

Picture of Evliya Çelebi Way Guidebook
Cover of Evliya Çelebi Way Guidebook

Central Anatolian Trek, or Büyük Anadolu Tür 2014, Completed Successfully!
Gerald Maclean (Mac)

Donna and I reported on the early days of the 2014 ride from Avanos across the Konya plain to join up with the Evliya Çelebi Way in Kutahya, and we’re delighted to report that the ride was successfully completed (almost on schedule). Caroline Finkel left the riders once they reached Kutahya, but Tim Grace arrived from Australia to join the group on the final leg of the journey, which picked up the Evliya Çelebi Way.

Image of 2014 Evliya Riders
Almost there! Riders completing the 2014 Central Anatolian Trek Jean, Tim Grace, Inci Mehmet, Jude, Susan and Ann.

What’s Next?
Plans are underway to develop a series of equestrian extensions to the existing Evliya Çelebi Way in the Bursa-Inegol area. Tugrul Avci has met with Caroline Finkel to discuss proposals being put before the local provincial mayors to open up routes suitable for horses and walkers that would extend the ECW to take in the villages of Cumalikizik and Oylat.

Picture of Cumalikizik
Cumalikizik, source http://www.eymentur.com/u-bursa–cumalikizik-koyu-turu-58.html
Image of Oylat
Oylat, source http://oylat.neredekal.com/otel-fiyatlari/

Cumalikizik has recently been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This unspoilt village in the foothills of Mount Uludag provides an amazing example of early Ottoman village design and architecture; just as it was in Evliya’s day.  Oylat is an ancient hot-spring ticked into a ravine which people continue to visit in pursuit of the beneficial effects of the mineral baths.

In addition to offering new possibilities for walkers trekking the ECW, the new route will provide new equestrian possibilities since the Cumalikizik-Oylat extensions would make for short-term riding expeditions of one to three days in the saddle. These shorter rides should suit anyone who cannot find the time to ride the Evliya Çelebi Way for the full two weeks from Kutahya to Iznik (or Yalova).

There are also hopes that the new equestrian route will be suitable for further development as a course for use in Equestrian Endurance Trials.  If all goes according to plan, there will be an initial horseback expedition to find the best ways in May.

Meanwhile, the ECW remains open for trekking and spring will soon be bringing the flowers in profusion! Despite the troubles hundreds of miles away to the south, this will be a great year to visit Turkey since tourist bookings are down, making deals available. The exchange rate makes Turkey excellent value. Equestrian enthusiasts should know that the horses used on the Evliya rides are in fine form at the Akhal Teke Ranch in Avanos, and there are spaces available on most of the scheduled rides (see: http://www.akhal-tekehorsecenter.com/en/index.html )