Kate Clow, pioneering waymarker and author of two walking guides to the Taurus Mountains, has now created a guide to trekking in the Kaçkars. Here she describes four breathtaking one-day walks.
The Kaçkar range is the lushest, most spectacular mountain area in Turkey, fronting the Black Sea to the north and the valley of the Çoruh River to the south. The area is now becoming better known, with Turkish tourists congregating at the hot springs and forests of Ayder, while foreign tourists head for the base-camp for Mount Kaçkar (3934m). But the opportunities for wonderful, lower-level, longer-season trekking on the old tracks that link tiny villages and yaylas are still largely unexplored. Here we offer four rewarding treks through flowery meadows and fir forests and along ridges that can be walked outside the high season and enjoyed in solitude.
For the English-speaking community of Istanbul the suggestion of aqueduct-hunting in Thrace strikes fear into the hearts of all but the foolhardy. Relentlessly cheerful, Prof James Crow of Edinburgh University would laugh off each misadventure and forge onward.
Robert Ousterhout is agog at the remarkable Georgian churches of the Tao-Klarjeti, the two medieval Georgian principalities between Kars and the Kaçkars
Leo Gough grew up in the hothouse atmosphere of Cold War Ankara, where his father was director of the British Institute of Archaeology. He recalls tales of derring-do from the larger-than-life visitors and scholars who passed through the institute’s doors
By whatever name it is known – whether Karataş Yayla (Black Rock Pasture) or ÇaGrankaya (Singing Rock) – this spur of the Kaçkars is full of drama. Andrew Byfield battled rain and fog to reach its riches
High in the apparently empty Kaçkars, the way of life is as old as the hills. Michael Hornsby joins in the fun at a village festival in remote summer pastures. Photographs by Giulio Rubino
Norman Stone unravels the history of Kars
Feyhaman and Güzin Duran at home, by Maureen Freely
The Turkic Uighurs of Western China have long chafed under Communist Chinese rule. Christian Tyler meets their formidable figurehead, Rebiya Kadeer, who spent five years in prison for protesting against her people’s treatment and now carries on her fight for their freedom from Washington