INTO THE IRANIAN DESERT – SWIMMING IN THE DESERT! 1976

THURSDAY 11TH NOVEMEBER, 1976

“In the daylight we could see quite dramatic cliffs behind us and a little village close to tents.  The usual crowd of spectators gathered (some on bicycles) to watch the morning ritual.

First stop was at a fabulous swimming pool, made from a fresh spring – beautifully blue and clear with trees round it.  Six of us decided to brave the cold water – me, Nikki, Chris, Mark, Rob and Diane.  Cold at first, but stayed in quite a bit because so refreshing.  Then sat around in the sun.  Talked about Rose Street [in Edinburgh, famous for its pubs]  Diane had worked for 6 months at the Tankard Lounge (Paddie’s Bar).
Next stop was in a little town – kids swarmed around bus – could hardly get away.  Mary [a very independent New Zealander] got left behind!  Apparently there’s always hassle there.  Had sandwiches (butties) outside town.
Saw Qanats

-outer signs of underground irrigation systems –
mounds of earth with deep shaft in the middle.

[Iranians have been digging these ingenious water tunnels for over 2000 years and this traditional method of water supply is still very important in these desert regions.  They also feature in my novel  THE VANISHING OF RUTH]

Scenery becoming more and more barren and dry.  Tried to shop in Neyriz but couldn’t even find any bread – must close down for siesta time.

Climbed up terrible mountain road, bit like Suardal [family home on Isle of Skye – see my memoir BEATLES & CHIEFS for tales of a 60s childhood] track in places  (except the hairpin bend variety!)
Great view over a lake; mountains spectacular too – sheer rock faces and jagged peaks.  On other side, road riddled with channels and some under pools of water.  Got stuck in one channel!  Back of bus wedged into bank – all got out and pushed.

Came across group of people sitting by side of the road – women swathed in black – obviously a bus stop!

Camped on rocky ground again – inside of tent like a series of mole hills – so many bushes under tent!”

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