I Love To Go A-Wandering

Along the mountain track, and as I go I love to . . tra-la-la! I know what you’re thinking – ‘what is going on here?’ After a desultory one or two posts each week or ten days this bloke is spewing them out like the pubs after a bad night on Sauchiehall Street. Trouble is, without I ‘spew’ this Beauty of Nature stuff a bit quick, you’ll miss it and that would be a shame. It all happens so fast you see.

Okçular is not like a lot of other places – Okçular has an awful lot of amazing stuff to see. Okçular is worth taking the time and trouble to get yourself here and worth putting your walking clogs on and wandering about a bit. Take this morning for example:

Fritillaria acmopetala (and in the background)


Fritillaria sibthorpiana (endangered endemic)
Papaver argemone – Prickly Poppy
Valeria asarifolia – Valerian
Bellevalia trifoliata
Mauremys caspia – Stripe-necked Terrapin
Ranunculus ficaria – Lesser Celandine

. . below, one of the rarest plants you will ever lay eyes upon . .

Alkanna mughlae – critically endangered endemic
Ornithogalum umbellatum – Star of Bethlehem
Laurus nobilis – Laurel or Sweet Bay

. . and finally, to show I have nothing against orchids . .

Orchis anatolica – Anatolian Orchid

. . and there’s so much more – better you come and see for yourself. Remember your copy of the Okçular Village Guide – Happy Wandering!

Alan Fenn, Okçular

Back Roads and Tracks – to Ulu Dağ and İznik

Taking the less used pathway from A to B; getting out of the car and venturing into the unknown usually brings rewards far beyond the anxiety of arriving on time or the risk of wondering exactly where you are. There is only one road to Ulu Dağ, so it doesn’t really count as a back road; getting out of the car and wandering off along animal tracks into the forest does.

Some Snail!

In a similar spirit, J and I went many miles out of our way to take a back road on our journey from Bursa to İznik. I don’t know if wild flowers and wild snails turn you on, but they certainly do me! The forests of Ulu Dağ are splendid, in direct contrast to the ghastly ski resort at the top. If this is Turkey’s premier ski resort it is a bloody disgrace! Getting off the road led to the discovery of thousands of Fritillaria pontica, three different crocus, scilla, great swathes of Muscari latifolium and a

‘you forriners is a rum old lot!’

number of, as yet, unidentified flowers along with one of the finest snails it has been my privilege to meet!

Turning off on to a back road to İznik we drove through countryside festooned with wild dog rose; met an old man, his son and grandson who farm pears and peppers. The old fellow was amazed that I wanted to photograph ‘weeds’ and told his son that foreigners were very odd (or words to that effect). Stopping to find a bush for a pee, led to the discovery of beautiful clumps of Iris germanicus and a solitary Orchis lactea.

A few photos to be going on with:


Fritillaria pontica
yellow crocus
yellow crocus
white crocus
white crocus
Muscari latifolium
Orchis lactea

Enough, already! Alan in İznik