The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
The Wady Kelt
The Wady Kelt.
Of all the rivers I have seen in my rambles in various parts of the world, none remains in such tender memory as the Wady Kelt. The Brook of Cheroth or Elisha's Brook, as the Wady is called locally, has many historical associations. Apart from these, it has a special charm for one who loves nature's beauties; and for the angler it is easily the finest stream in the East.
It is seven years since I made the journey to the Wady Kelt. Leaving Jerusalem before dawn, I took the road leading to the Garden of Gethsemane, then past the Mount of Olives on to Bethany. I travelled along the stone road until I came to a little inn, which used to be looked after by a convivial Greek, who kept good wine and a rake for anglers and sportsmen (I hope he is still there).
A little below the inn, I left the road, and dived down along a sheep track, into the gorges on the left. It is to this narrow and precipitous track that nature lovers owe the preservation of this lovely spot. Mules are much to be preferred to horses here; for though they stumble often, they never fall, and they will deliver you safe and sound at a little water-driven mill. The miller (in my time) was a genial fellow, who welcomed me with open arms.
After a breakfast of wheaten bread and "kabobs," leaving my mount to crop patiently around the mill, I wandered upstream for a mile or so, in Paradise. Pool after pool, shaded by lichen-covered rocks and spreading branches, with hundreds of birds and butterflies flitting about; pools full of hungry fish that take the hook as fast as you please. A grey dun or a stone-fly would keep you busy until your arm ached; but bread, dough, worms, caterpillars or "gentles" will give good sport as well; and if you are unable to use the rod, owing to the trees and bushes, just strip, plunge in, and tickle fishes to your heart's content.
I wish to christen that lovely stretch of river "Paradise Valley." The whole length of the river is beautiful; but this is the best of it, and I feel sure that if anyone spent a week's leave there instead of in Cairo, he would admit that my claims are justified.
Fairly large freshwater crabs, and about four kinds of fish, are to be caught. The best sport is that given by the Capolla Damasciana, a silvery opalescent-tinted fish of which I have taken many baskets; the largest I caught must have weighed I 1/4 lbs. When hooked these fishes feel very like a trout; they rise continually, but seldom leap from the water. They are game little chaps, and if a very light 12 foot rod, with fine tackle, is used, one gets all the pleasure of trout fishing.