10-Mar-2007 -- As our last few Confluences had already been visited, it was nice once again to attempt to capture a virgin CP. However, this comes at a price as the number of unvisited land based points in Turkey is dwindling, and whilst 40N 37E is the closest to Ankara it is still a round trip in excess 900 km.
The winter weather had been relatively mild this year and as the forecast was good for the weekend, we left Ankara early on the Friday evening for the drive to Sivas via Kırıkkale and Yozgat. After an overnight stay in Sivas we decided to have a look around the city in the morning before attempting the point early in the afternoon.
Confluence hunting takes you to places you would not ordinarily visit; Sivas is one of those places. However, we were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed a few hours strolling around the town visiting the major sights, viz Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), Çifte Minare (Twin Minaret) Medrese, Gök (Blue) Medrese, and the Atatürk Congress & Ethnography Museum. The latter was the location of the Sivas Congress which convened on the 4 September 1919 when Atatürk summoned delegates from all over Turkey to cement earlier decisons which led to the War of Independence.
We then headed for the point but decided to drive a little way down the road to Erzincan to view the scenery and then turn off towards Beypınarı and then onto Olukman via Tokuş and Çeltek. Whilst the road to Tokuş was reasonable, we became stuck in the mud upon exiting the village and had to reverse back down the track to safety. If our 4-wheel drive had still not been under repair we would probably have attempted to continue, but it was too much for two-wheeled drive vehicles. We backtracked along the road to Sivas and then headed for Olukman via Çayboyu, Kolluca, Günören, and Çeltek. The roads are in good condition and were clear of snow that lay on the hills providing us with glorious scenery.
Our plan was to drive to about 40N and then walk the short distance to the point. We actually left the car at 39°59.895'N 36°59.889'E at an altitude of 1450 m. The point (altitude 1506 m) lay up a hill which was not too difficult to climb although keeping a good foothold at the point itself was not easy. As such, we only took the photo of the GPS at the exact spot and then climbed another 10/15 meters to take photographs of the surrounding area.
The point itself was not suitable for cultivation due to the hill being too steep and rocky, although the shelter a few hundred metres north indicated that the area was used for sheep to graze. The areas to the South and West look as though they are cultivated, although due to the absence of any farmers we could not determine what crops would be planted.
The view of the snow capped hills was one of the most picturesque we have seen during our confluence hunting. After spending a few minutes having a drink and enjoying the view, we made our way down the hill and on to visit Ballıca Cave which we missed on our previous visit to 40N 36E.
We had hoped to visit 40N 35E on our way back to Ankara but after spending more time than expected in Tokat and Amasya, it was dark when we approached the turn-off to the point and hence will have to arrange another visit.