SOTA 5B/CY-014: Sella

This six-point peak is near the town of Omodos, known for its wine production, right along the Limassol-Paphos border. It is about an hour and a half drive from Nicosia whether you choose to go through the mountains or along the coast. However, although my GPS was able to plot a route right next to the peak, it took me two visits to reach the peak. Why? It looks like you can just pull over and then cut across a field, right? No. The dark line running along the edge of that field is the shadow cast by sheer stone cliffs a couple hundred meters high.

Google wasn’t wrong… it just wasn’t helpful.

Clearly, though, there is a road along the top of those cliffs. While I was pulled over to review the map for possible ways around the cliffs and up to that road, however, steam began to hiss from my car’s engine compartment. I had noticed that the temperature gauge was just a little north of center as I drove through the Tröodos mountains on the way to the summit, but attributed that to the summer weather (high 30s in the mountains, pushing 40C near this summit). So, I pulled over for a while and let engine fan run to dissipate the heat.

I spent some time talking to donkeys in a nearby field.

You might need to enlarge this to see the donkey. He wasn’t very friendly.

Eventually, the temperature gauge read normal, but I didn’t want to chance getting stuck on some remote dirt road with a broken down car, so I aborted the activation and took the coastal route back towards Nicosia. I got within about 30km of home before it boiled over again, and I was able to pull into a service station and top off the radiator.

Two weeks later after flushing the radiator and changing the hoses, I set out again, this time plotting a new course up from the village of Arsos, and driving along a series of trails that looked promising – but turned out not to be. Some time after the aerial photos were taken, crops were planted in what used to be a road bed. I didn’t want to drive the car over the newly planted seedlings, so I went back the way I came and plotted another way up.

It looks like there should be some route through the circled area, but there isn’t. I parked the car and explored by foot a few times before concluding that there was no way to get to the summit without traversing planted areas.

After a bit of trial by error, I found a route that worked (below).

See table below for longitude, latitude of waypoints.

Starting at Arsos (yellow), follow the markers from bottom left to top right. From the blue marker to the summit, the route is apparent and the road is in pretty good condition. The coordinates of those intermediate waypoints are (in rainbow order):

RedTown of ArsosStart Here
Orange34.84546,32.77425Take the right fork, downhill a bit
Yellow34.84781,32.77881Go straight
Green34.8487,32.7806Bear left rather than plunge down
Blue34.8497,32.78349Straight across

The bit of road between the green and blue markers was a bit steep and loose. I had to put the car into four-wheel drive and pick up speed to get up it. From there to the summit is easy going, however.

Sorry this is blurry. Even my cell phone was sweating profusely from the heat.

I ended parking on the road that parallels the cliff and then hiked to a bush offering a little shade to setup my fiberglass pole. None of the trees up there are very tall, so best to bring some kind of self-supporting antenna.

Looking down the cliff, you can understand why my first attempt failed — it is a long way down and almost vertical.

I did not see anyone else from the time I left the town of Arsos until I returned to it. There a couple signs here and there that indicated that the area was a wildlife conservancy area so hunting was prohibited, but I did not see any signs warning about private property, so I assume the road is meant to be publicly accessible.

The temperature at the summit was 42C. I didn’t have much choice about operating in the heat of the day as it had taken me a while to find the right road to the summit and I was trying to get the activation in before the IARU contest started because 20m is my best band. I had coated myself in sunscreen before I left, so I did not burn, but I was sopping wet after about a half hour of operation.

The activation was a success with 8 QSOs on 20m, plus two summit-to-summit contacts with England and Switzerland, and one 10m contact (thanks OK2PDT). Background noise was elevated on 40m and I didn’t expect much of that band in the middle of the day, so no surprise there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.