Suvla Bay - Simpson Prize 2012
Today we took the time for another Simpson Prize First and another first for me. We made our way to Suvla Bay and walked the ridge on the northern side of the salt lake. It was a rugged climb upwards, our legs and arms being ripped at and grazed from the sharp foliage and thorns. Pulling our selves upwards over the rocks and pushing endlessly through the scrub we finally reached the ridge. It was every bit worth the cuts and grazes. The view was amazing in every direction. Hidden green meadows peeked through the scrub scarcely visible before, costal cliffs and ocean views, rocky outcrops and all dominated by the islands of Imbros and Samathrace rising out of the water on the horizon. Looking to the south we could see the site of the British landings, another element of the August offensive and as we walked along the ridge we passed trenches and guard posts. It was an interesting walk and for the whole 8kms there was new sights to see.
The afternoon is rest time as we prepare for the cold of the dawn service, we have all stolen moments of sleep, well most of us anyway and we are trying to decide just how cold it might get.
Today was a comparatively 'short' day consisting mainly of the long walk along the coastal ridge, however we also paid visits to a British and Turkish cemetery (Hill Green and Jandarm Memorial) before the hike and a mixed Commonwealth site (Hill 60) afterwards.The British and Commonwealth cemeteries were similar in appearance as they were all designed by the Commonwealth War Grave Comission, but the unfamiliar details of names and regiments gave me the distinct feeling that we were there more to respect than mourn the equally painful loss of other nations. As each one of these buried men were equal in nature as human beings it is comforting to know that they are all remembered and honoured, and are lying close together just as they fought together.
We were all eager for the hike that we had voted for the day before, spurred on by promises of undisrupted mountain areas perfossil for fossicking- which apparently is a legitimate alternative to the word prospecting (in our case for small historic remnants such as rum jug pieces and shrapnel). As usual, Ozgur's word delivered and particularly during the last length where we strayed off/completely lost the formal path and had to wander through the bush in a confused attempt to find our way down, we found quite a collection of broken rum jugs, suspected pieces of jam tin bombs and even a button. I had no clue what the army button said, but it looked very old and sometimes that's all that's necessary to be intriguing.
As Stuart mentioned the view was quite truly spectacular- there were no buildings in site to distract from the natural geen, blue and brown landscape of Gallipoli and its dramatic cliffs that we non-geographers are still bewildered by the formation of. However even the view could not counter the fact that we had walked for 4 whole hours and now that I come to think of it, the hilarious event that occurred afterwards may have been accounted to that.
Beforehand I must apologize for including yet another Phyllie-based source of laughter, however that is because we are all very grateful for the lovable Phyllie and all her memorable acts that have occurred so far that just couldn't go without being 'in the blog'. So as I mentioned, we were heading to Hill 60 through a path in between two tall fields of yellow and red flowers when Phyllie decided to prance into the fields (partly challenged by Stuart), however when Ozgur mentioned his previous sighting of a fox, she swiftly lept back towards us and disappeared into the ground doing so. She had fallen face down into a ditch(trench to be dramatic) and remained laughing into the ground for a good few minutes while we were partly concerned over her welfare while laughing our heads of at the same time.
Currently we are preparing for the big morning tomorrow and I can feel the fizzle of nervous and excited energy from everyone waiting for these last few 'calm before the storm' hours to pass by. Hopefully we all get through the next 12 hours without freezing, dehydrating, fainting or any combination of the three!