Chris Haigh & Georgina McFadyen
Whilst holidaying in Sardinia it seemed rude for two badgers not to try to find some caves to explore. We'd read with intrigue about the Nuraghic village of Tiscali and set out on the trail. The village was built in a cave which is now collapsed forming an impressive doline on top of a mountain. It was built by the Nuraghi and was inhabited up until the Roman invasion of Sardinia.
The previous day we had stopped at the nearby Tomba del Gigante which turned out to be a pile of not so neatly arranged stones and also the Grotto Corbeddu, home to the 19th Century bandit Giovanni Salis Corbeddu. The Grotto was surprisingly large with 3 main chambers reasonably well decorated with stals and flow stones. Although now dry the cave was well preserved especially considering the vast amount of digging that had taken place. The excavation was archaeological and extensive with several digs each 4-6m deep. Several bones had been found in the cave and once digging started they found a good number of bones including two human bones and the skeletons of some now extinct creature.
Once herded round and out the cave we were shown through a small gate told to walk through the trees and follow the path. We duly did so and found ourselves in another finely decorated cavern. This one was the Grotto sa Ohe. We followed the trail down inside the cave, rounded the first corner out of natural light and found several lights hidden in alcoves above. The path continued for about 20m before coming to a small drop which appeared to continue into the darkness. No more lighting continued and we'd left sten in the car just expecting the usual showcave format. Maybe another time.
As for Tiscali, we came back the following day with the intention of doing the hike up to the ancient village built in a cave and rediscovered a century ago. Each guide book we'd read had given different directions and walking times ranging from 1.5hrs to 4hrs, quite a difference. Our 1:30,000 map was a little sketchy but we thought we had a rough idea of where it was. We set off and after several minutes of uphill walking were dripping in sweat. We perspired our way up the hill reaching a scramble after 30mins. We scrambled upwards until we met a fine view over the surrounding karst landscape. The red arrows we had been following disappeared and were replaced by red and white striped markers. These went off into the undergrowth and were interspersed with small stone cairns on a not very well defined path. After an hour we had reached a clear path and followed it for a another 30 mins. Things were not looking good. We could see lots of nice karst with some stunning examples of clints and grykes but not a cave, doline or village in sight. After 2hrs we stopped for lunch before retracing our steps.A disappointing day for caving but some phenomenal scenery made up for it.