John and I enjoyed meeting Yasin, who runs Indus Experiences, when we were down in Milton Keynes for an OU meeting at the end of last week. It was good to hear his enthusiasm for our idea of a trip to Kashmir and Ladakh which would embrace all aspects ot the environment, how it is changing, and how this affects the people who live there. We collected our tickets and passports too, complete with their shiny new Indian visas and felt all ready to go.
Yasin did mention that there had been heavy monsoon rain in Kashmir, but it wasn’t until after the weekend that it became clear the scale of the problems this has caused in Srinagar, particularly. Fortunately, we all came up with the same idea and Yasin has been able to reverse our itinerary. Instead of flying straight to Srinagar from Delhi, we’ll be spending a day in Delhi and setting off (very) early the following morning to fly to Leh. This is less than ideal as we will be completely unacclimatised to the altitude, but needs must. We’ll need to take it very easy for the first couple of days. After that, we will visit Pangong Tso and other parts of Ladakh, before heading back by road towards Srinigar, conditions permitting. It is great to have had the backup provided by Indus Experiences when things don’t go quite according to plan!
Now we’re really on our way! I get to start travelling first, as I’m staying with John and Helen tonight before we fly from Glasgow tomorrow. At least that means I’ve done all my last minute packing and repacking, wondering whether I have the balance of clothes for different temperatures right, and can now relax a bit. The train to Motherwell is packed. People travelling home for the referendum, perhaps?
The poor guard sounds distinctly frazzled when someone tries to get on with a bike at Newcastle, only to find that the bike space is full of suitcases. His annoyance at another bike, laid flat rather than hanging up, turns to wry humour when he announces that the owner got off the train at Newcastle but forgot to collect his bike! Otherwise, the journey passes smoothly, the North-east coast looking as lovely as ever in the sunshine.