Troodos – Atalanti walk: Sunday 8 November

promoOur walk of Sunday 8 November 2015 takes place in the Troodos forest area. Troodos is the highest mountain of the island, with its highest peak (Hionistra) at 1950 metres altitude. Troodos is covered by a variety of pine trees, junipers, cedars and fir trees, and also presents the majestic golden oak, an endemic species to Cyprus, as well as a rich variety of bushes and wild flowers. Troodos is also a rare geological phenomenon.

The walk starts at 11:30 am. Ian is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call Ian on 99067451.

On the initiative of the walk leader, each participant is requested to bring along a bag, and participate in picking up any piece of litter we spot along our path, as we walk.

The Atalanti trail starts opposite the car park on Troodos Square. It is the most fascinating circular trail on Troodos, at an altitude of around 1750 m. It is a relatively easy walk because there are only very small elevation changes en route. The whole route is 14 km, however, on this occasion the Cyprus Strollers will only walk the initial 9 ½ km, until we reach the trail’s crossing with the Troodos – Prodromos paved road. At this point, we shall board the cars which we will have earlier parked here, to return to Troodos square.

To make this possible, we will need to drive half the cars to the hike’s end and park them there, before we set off. One further requirement is that we drive 2 per car; all cars will have to drive to the hike’s end, where half the cars will park, and the other half will take all passengers to the walk start. Correspondingly, at the hike finish, all Strollers will board the cars parked there, to drive to Troodos square, and pick up those cars parked at the hike start.

The hike will take close to 3 ½ hours (including breaks) and is classified medium for difficulty. We follow well marked paths, which offer some of the most spectacular views in Cyprus. We shall also walk past the entrance of a chromium mine, abandoned since 1982.

At the end of the walk we shall sit down for a good lunch at a nearby taverna. Instructions will be announced at the start of the walk. We shall drive to the taverna in a convoy.

You have the choice of meeting the group at the start of the walk at Troodos Square, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions.

Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is the very large church named Theou Sophias (also referred to as Agia Sophia) in Strovolos, which offers ample parking space on its side street. The car trip starts at 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.

How to get to the walk start:

From Nicosia take the A9 motorway towards Troodos. The A9 smoothly becomes the B9 highway towards Troodos, when the motorway ends, near Kokkinotrimithia. On the B9 you drive past the villages of Akaki, then Peristerona and then you reach the village of Astromeritis. At the Astromeritis traffic lights, where most cars turn left towards Troodos, zero your odometer and turn left. Drive along the main road. After 25 km you pass the village of Kakopetria. Continue to drive along the main road, in the direction of Troodos. At the 33 km reading, you reach a crossroads (no traffic lights), named Karvounas. Do not turn left (this takes you to Kyperounda village and Madari mountain). Do not go straight. Turn right towards Troodos square. At the 41.6 km reading turn left into Troodos square, and get into the car park on your left. We meet inside the car park.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip:

From Nicosia go to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and turn left. At the 0.3 km reading you see Lidl supermarket on your right. At the 0.8 km reading you reach traffic lights. Turn left into Elaionon street. Immediately after you observe the very large church of tis Theou Sophias, with its green dome, on your right. Just past the church (1.0 km reading) take the first turning to the right into Kastellas street. This side street offers ample parking space. Park here.

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the church of tis Theou Sophias http://tiny-url.org/zu5ijAJn  

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace to the church of tis Theou Sophias:  http://tiny-url.org/hEk7ggCF

About the geology of Cyprus: The more widely accepted theory describing the geological formation of Cyprus refers to the subduction and plate collision of two separate tectonic domains, the northern Alpine orogenic belt, and the southern Eastern Mediterranean basin. The process is believed to have taken place in the Mesozoic Tethyan Ocean period (roughly, 90 million years ago). Key evidence in favour of this theory is the juxtaposed series of fragments of oceanic and continental crust, with oceanic crustal fragments preserved as ophiolite sequences, seen in various localities.

About the geology of Troodos: Cyprus was created at a convergent ocean-continent boundary. Troodos was created when the African plate subducted under the Eurasian plate, partial melt took place and magma rose from deep inside the Earth (a volcanic eruption). Troodos is an ophiolite formed above a subduction zone. The crustal sequence of Troodos consists of plutonic complex, sheeted dyke complex and pillow lavas. Troodos is rich in several minerals, including copper, umbers, ochres, chromite and the lethal asbestos deposits. Copper is the predominant mineral and has been mined and exported since ancient times. Its chemical name in Latin (Cuprum) is said to be related to the name of the island (Cuprus).

The Troodos Ophiolite Stratigraphy and subdivisions, from lower to top, are as follows.

The Troodos ophiolite consists of 3 subdivided units: the structurally deepest but topographically highest Plutonic Complex; the overlying and surrounding Sheeted Dyke Complex; the stratigraphically highest Pillow Lava Series, which forms a discontinuous ring around the Troodos massif. On top of the ophiolite, we find the Umbers unit. Described in a 2-sequence division, the Troodos ophiolite is made up of the lower Mantle sequence and the upper Crustal sequence.

See table for a schematic representation. Note that stratigraphy shows layers from sea-level downwards, into the earth; the diagram must be reversed, to depict the order in which one may find the layers on Troodos massif, given the way in which Troodos was formed.

Table: Generalised schematic stratigraphy of the Troodos ophiolite

In Situ Sedimentary Cover
Umbers
Crustal Sequence Pillow Lavas Upper Pillow Lavas
Lower Pillow Lavas
Sheeted Dyke Complex Basal Group
Plutonic Complex Plagiogranites
Mantle Sequence Gabbros
Ultramafics

About Atalanti: In Greek mythology she was a virgin huntress who promised to marry the man who could win a running race against her; Atalanti lost to Hippomenes when she stopped to pick up three golden apples that he dropped in her path.

Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.