Walking the Gecitkoy reservoir in Cyprus


Losing a good walk is irritating both for walkers and authors, but it does happen – all too frequently. Recently this was the case with one of our favourite North Cyprus walks, the circuit at Geçitköy Reservoir in our guide ‘Walk & Eat North Cyprus’.

For once the walk wasn’t lost because of landslips, resistance from landowners or the inconsiderate use of bulldozers – but for a reason which delights the residents … water!

Cyprus is a dry island and suffers from water shortages virtually every summer (when, by the way, it’s too hot to walk, but you can use the guide to tour North Cyprus by car). In summer it’s normal, especially in the north, for the mains water to be switched on for only two days each week and even less after a very dry winter.

Turkey is stepping in to solve this perpetual problem. A project is underway to bring water from Turkey via an underwater pipeline. Construction of a dam high in the Taurus Mountains is well under way, and the water from here will be fed into Geçitköy Reservoir.

The existing reservoir is not large enough to hold it all, so they have started building a new dam wall 35 metres high (over 100 feet), to enlarge its capacity. The height difference between the reservoir in Turkey and the recipient Geçitköy Reservoir will provide all the energy needed to transfer the water from Turkey to North Cyprus. The project involves two pumping centres and almost 110km of pipeline.

So the reservoir walk is closed, and we will have to wait until the project is finished in March 2014 to find out if part or the whole of the walk can be re-established.

In the meantime, those walking in North Cyprus can enjoy a new hike in the Koruçam region, which is fully described on the update sheet for the book. It is a fairly challenging walk with some good ups and downs, but there are brilliant views along the island’s north coast.

Brian and Eileen