Our Trustee Ian Crighton sets off to Nepal. Here is his blog of how he got here, if you are inspired by his story please donate to the Trust & support Ian! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-crighton4
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Ian’s blogs will be updated throughout his Journey!
The trek begins
Early start with alarm at5-15 am
Bus picked us up at 6am and a packed breakfast was also waiting.
The plane to Pokhara was delayed for a half hour. We flew with Yeti Air – as well as the name printed on it there was a big foot on the tail plane.
The flight was 25 minutes with the Himalaya in view out our windows to the right, a real treat.
Our Sherpas met us at Pokhara and we set off on the bus . We didn’t start in our planned start position but in Kandy. There was a walk uphill to Australia Camp. This was a stone staircase up over 900 feet. We had a nice lunch of dhal baat, first of many. Washed down with a delightful ginger tea.
As we approached Australian Camp – Machapuchare hoved into view above the clouds to provide today’s photo opportunity.
The morning walk was only one hour 15minutes.
Tea is at 4pm and dinner thereafter.
An easy days treking to start our journey
Afternoon was only 20minutes walk until we reached Heavens Gate Guest House, Pothana where we are staying for the night.
Our guide tells us we have a seven hour day tomorrow. We were due to be woken at 6am but I was awake earlier and was up taking photos when our tea and hot water arrived, Breakfast was honey and porridge with toast and jam. Not the best but . We left camp at 7-15. The trail was busy and noisy. A gentle first 5 minutes was followed by severe up and down on stone steps for the next 45 minutes. We supposed at the near foot of the descent for a drinks and toilet break. I had a hot spot on my heel so administered competed. After another half hour we stopped for another brink break and I bought a necklace from the locals I only wanted a mars bar. The trail continued on gently down until New Bridge where we lunched on spaghetti and potato. We lunched at 11-45 . At around 1pm we set out again At one point the path had been washed away and we had to scramble up and down on loose ground for 15 minutes and then the trail again went back to fairly gentle up and down beside the river. We stopped for a drinks break and then crossed the river on a bridge. On the far bank we began a steep ascent which went on for over an hour. Very tiring. We reached a ravine and had to cross on a bridge with a 300 metre span and a drop of over 100 feet. Very scary I just looked ahead and walked quickly until I reached the far bank. On the other side we continued our climb up stone stairs until reaching our night stop about 4-45. Our room is a twin with en suite – luxury indeed except I don’t have a towel. A Ghurka beer, some ginger tea a couple of biscuits then back to the room to get ready for tomorrow. Tea is dhal baat with lemon pancakesWe have to pre order. It was very nice especially the pancake. Main discussion over tea was the hot shower it’s funny how quickly priorities can change. I had a hot shower, luxury indeed, although didn’t have a towel to dry myself. The micro towel is crap. Everyone is tired and as we were late to camp we are going to the hot spring tomorrow morning before breakfast. It is half hour walk away. It is 8-45 and we are in bed, there is a group with a drum dancing and singing to celebrate a birthday keeping us awake. The swimming is now down to 2 people Lindsay and I. The walk tomorrow is shorter in distance but we still need to gain 1,000 metres in height to get to 2,600.
Woken with a black tea at 6 am. Dressed and then Lindsay and I headed down to the hot Spring 20 minutes down steps and 30 minutes back . Very comfortable dip in hot Spring which sat down by the river. Stayed 15 minutes massaging tired legs.
Breakfast at 8 – porridge with banana and more ginger tea. All packed up we left at 9am. I bought a t shirt yellow from a Tibetan at our guest house.
The trek started with a steep uphill on stone steps. A couple of stops but the whole 2 hours was the same apart from a brief section before lunch. The morning was interrupted numerous times with donkey trains carrying everything from beer to building materials We lunched at Chomrong on chips cheese and pasta seasoned with chilli sauce. A leisurely lunch we headed off around 1-30. This time we went downhill for about 20 minutes until we reached the river where a bridge crossing awaited but this time fairly short and not much of a drop to the river below.
Then an ascent on steps started up to Sinewa. It was very steep and was taken very slowly. We reached overnight stop around 4pm.
Ginger tea to revive us.
We are sharing a bedroom between 4. It is cramped and damp and very not nice.
Tea tonight is Dahl baat again followed by sugar and lemon pancakes.
The low cloud is stopping us see any of the hills.
Woken at 6am by Captain Chaptain with black tea . We had the usual packing scramble getting sleeping bag back in its condom, remembering to pack everything and get everything you need for the day in the back pack. It gets lighter everyday as you refine what is necessary and what may be desirable. Breakfast was porridge We started downhill through the rhododendron forest . The rhododendrons are not in flower. Neither are the orchids which festoon the trees. Downhill again turned to uphill and we soon made Dovan . The surroundings turned to bamboo forest and the path was crossed on regular occasions by streams and landslides. We crossed many small iron and bamboo bridges. I felt a bit light headed and started to eat jelly babies and drink fluids . I eventually took a couple of Ibuprofen which seemed to solve the situation. The next village was Babmboo On the way out of Bamboo we saw a snake slither away at the side of the path. I also saw a very small lizard. The going was very steep uphill with lots of uneven steps. Some four hours after leaving we made lunch stop at Himalaya. We had a couple of river crossings over boulders and one over a bridge of logs. Everyone was looking a bit frazzled after the long uphill section and the hot weather. Lunch was Dahl baat with veg curry and rice. Very tasty. I had a can of coke as well as 2 cups of ginger and lemon tea. Trying desperately to keep up my fluid intake As we left Himalaya after a n hour and a half break we were soon heading up steps again through bamboo forest. The track was arduous and we took frequent stops. One was at a viewing point for a bhudist temple. An hour and a half later we emerged from the forest as the valley through which our trail led widened and the vegetation turned from forest to scrub. We could see the buildings at Deurali above us at the end of the valley. We continued to climb along an uneven rocky path. A couple of waterfalls turned into streams which crossed the path forcing us onto bridges of bamboo. There were enormous stone cliffs towering over the path to our right and. River on the left which was in turn bordered by towering cliffs, tree covered then scrub them bare rock. Really dramatic scenery. We reached Deurali around 4pm. There were only 3 bedrooms for the 8 of us – 2 threes nd a two. . The ladies Rattray and Cath took the two beds and the six men split the other two. I shared with Lindsay and Dave. Tony, Martin and other Dave took the other room. There is no meat on the menu , protein is egg cheese or pulses. Showers are 250 rupees so staying dirty. The temperature at 3,200 metres is a lot colder so after stopping walking it was on with sub layer and trousers and fleece. There is a power cut as I write this and Lindsay and I are sitting* up in our beds adsorbed with a head torch each. Tea tonight is veg curry and rice with a papadum each then it will be a cup of tea and bed. Tomorrow is a walk to Machapuchare base camp – MBC – a two hour walk reachIng 3,600 feet. The walk today was varied and spectacular I felt I was sampling the Himalaya I had been dreaming of for all these months and years. More to come hopefully. Our Sherpas are exceptionally patient with us and are instrumental in allowing us all to make this trek. We have a range of fitness and a range of ages though most if not all are over 65. They wake us feed us make sure we have water tea and safeguard us through every waking minute of the day. Our favourite is Chaptan who we call Captain Chaptain, he now seems quite happy to be addressed as Captain. My diet has been vegetarian since leaving Kathmandu with most meals being Daal Bhat. Breakfast is porridge . Today we are cutting out alcohol as the effects are not beneficial at 3,000 metres.
A late start today but I am awake at normal 5-30 – so time to reflect. I have listened to Nick Caves Ghosteen properly for the first time no distractions no interruptions. What a sad and beautiful outpouring of his grief and reflection on how transient our lives are and how small we are in the scheme of things. A plea from Nick that he may encounter his son Adam in some future experience. A holiday is for rest and change. This one fails on the rest front but change well Walking all day with nothing but the walking to achieve No coffee for the coffee fiend , replaced with lemon and ginger tea No meat eating for the carnivore replaced with curry and rice No driving cars no golf no computer ( well ignoring the iPad) The phone is packed away and the internet banished As we have climbed higher daily the changes slowly overtake us No free hot showers wifi no longer offer or not worth having. Though many walkers still seem to be talking on mobile phones and taking selfies ignoring the wonder around them There are a huge number of people from Korea and Japan on the treks. The rest of the world liberally represented. There are people of all ages and sizes. Some look like they might die here but continue doggedly up or down clearly in great discomfort, maybe a tribute to the magic of Himalaya. Glass and plastic bottles disappear everything now in cans due to weight and the fear of unsightly waste, Meat no longer available after Dovan The mule trains all stop there and everything to sustain trekkers is now carried on the backs of porters in woven baskets. This includes gas bottles , building materials, cans of beer – you name it they carry it. The last farm I saw was below Bamboo and the last garden at Himalaya where they were still planting vegetables. The terraced fields produce mainly rice and millet or are set to grass for livestock. This varies chickens, goats buffalo mules horses no Yak or pigs and few sheep. The trinkets and t shirts have gone since Dovan and bottled water ceased at Jihno Danda Now only tea houses and trekkers. The only locals are there to serve the tourists. We are here in the autumn before the snow arrives and temperatures plummet. When the sun comes out it is hot , when the cloud bubbles up late afternoon t shirts are replaced with layers of fleece and jackets. We are lucky so far as there has been no significant wind chill. We are approaching the tree line and rock is now more prevalent than the lush vegetation we walked through only 300 metres below us. The scale of the mountains that awed us on our first flight into Pokhara now surround us and the cliffs are just wonderful and scary. We have wound our way into a gorge and are slowly climbing out of it to where the mountain over twice the height we are now at start to rise above us. Today we go to the base camp of Machapuchare the mountain that has religious significance for Buddhists and which it is forbidden to climb. It has mesmerised me since first sighting on day one of this trek. Canna wait. Tea in bed at 7am was interrupted when Lindsay discovered a tick at the top of his leg. After confirming it was indeed a tick I was charged with its removal which I achieved without mishap. Breakfast porridge was with apple and fruit jam and went down well. I had two cups of ginger and lemon tea before we headed off at 9am. It was cold as we set off but the sun soon found its way into our gorge and the shorts and tee shirt plan paid off. The progress is very slow with Old David leading us out. I am largely unconcerned as the scenery is delightful. We are climbing to the end of the gorge sun is casting shadows and light over the trees and rocks. The river is to our right rushing it’s way down with waterfalls joining from the far bank. We pass the remains of an avalanche which has melted from the inside and a cave has been formed. Passang tells us that 1 boy was killed and two injured when they went into the cave and it collapsed on them. As we approach the top of the gorge we can see a number of snow covered peaks appearing above us. Three hours after leaving we reach base camp – Machapuchare – lunch of DB and at 2 pm we go for an acclimatisation walk to 4,000 metres and back down. The mountains were appearing and disappearing from the clouds – every afternoon we get mist cloud rising up to the peaks – it makes it cold and obscures the views . By 9 is clears. Now back in base and drinking lemon and ginger . Tea is macca cheese and lemon sugar pancake. Night will be over by 7-30 and then it is sleeping bag and headphones.
Another late start as it is a short hop up to ABP ( that’s what us veteran trekkers call Annapurna Base Camp). The night has been cold and musical sharing with 6 people all of whom , me included snore intermittently. The temperature is around zero and the room has no heating or insulation. There is cold running water down the windows. We are a tough breed as we extract ourselves from liner sleeping bag long johns hat etc. The outside of the sleeping bag is wet with condensation. Acas and Captain Chaptain deliver the tea to thaw our bones Goodness knows how the campers survive. Break fast of porridge and apple with two cups of lemon and ginger tea , a visit to the loo and we are off to ABC. It is still in the shade so the temperature is near zero I am under dressed in shorts and T-shirt but as soon as the sun hits us I am fine. The first stop is to strip off all the coats and hats. I take the opportunity to photo the stream to our right which has ice and icicles to show how cold it has been overnight. We are warmed when Lindsay managed to get internet access and discover the result from last night. Much celebrations from the two of us and also our new Nepal Fan Club – first and only member Acas one of our guides. Later in the day I gave him a DFC Toubkal shirt . Acas plays futsal and wondered if I could arrange a trial with DFC – I advised him this would not be possible. Acas lives at home after a failed marriage. He has a brother and parents and his other brother died he didn’t elaborate and I didn’t ask. He plays in a band to boost his earnings when he isn’t acting as a guide. We are now over 4,000 feet so movement is slow while we acclimatise – speed means breathlessness. It is relatively easy walking very similar to walking in Scotland’s Glens. We have 2 David’s in our merry band slow David – 65 and very slow David – 73. Our leader today is the Captain and even at our slow pace VSD is struggling far behind, fortunately we have a short hop and he got to ABC half an hour behind us. He was very emotional when he arrived as it has been a major struggle for him every step of the way. The rest of us stopped at the entrance to base camp and did the usual photo session. It has taken us about 2 hours and we are all in good shape. Martin has developed a knee issue and is on 4 hourly Ibuprofen. Our walk today has been punctuated with the arrival and departure of helicopter flights. They come in and land disgorge their passengers take on new ones then fly back giving everyone on board close ups of the mountains. The disgorged passengers have a chance to look around base camp. This place is awesome to use a cliche.It is difficult in words or photos to give a true impression of the scale of everything. Just looking around makes me realise how insignificant I am. We have a reviving cuppa and then head out to look over the back of the refuge where the mountains Annapurna South, Annapurna One and the others dwarf us. In front we still see Machapuchare. There are memorials to the many climbers from round the world who have perished on the slopes of these snowy giants. The memorials are on a stony outcrop bordered by cliffs on the left and a 50 foot drop into a trench left by The Annapurna glacier.The trench is a real manifestation of the climate change that has already occurred. Makes you think, Trump walk up here and have a look. It is not an attractive sight but I have photographed it. After lunch of DB and more tea we head of under guidance of the Captain to explore behind base camp towards Annapurna South. We went maybe another 100 metres higher and got Nearer the peaks and the damaged glacier remains. We all took more photos including one of 3 of us in Dundee sport shirts. The sleeping arrangements tonight are a bit more civilised and we are in two rooms of 3 and one of two. As you walk higher facilities disappear, missing today are Sitting down toilets Showers unless you want a bucket shower Wifi Battery Charging facilities . At four pm we place dinner orders and drink tea (again). There is no electric in the rooms until 6pm Tea tonight for me macca cheese and chocolate pudding. Chocolate pudding turns out to be chocolate custard, voluminous and a dark brown unappetising colour but tastes ok. I am building up a carb store for tomorrow which is a big walk. Here to Himalaya for lunch and then onto Dovan. Lights came on in the tea house at 6pm – the outside temperature has dropped dramatically and is thought to be around minus 5. The sunset was spectacular and I couldn’t resist taking some more photos. I am sorry I am going to bore everyone silly – think I am at around 500 photos and counting. Post tea around 7:30 Chief comes and takes breakfast orders, gives us our timeline for tomorrow. As always we sit and drink tea. Everyone is healthy as we look forward to the second half of the trek. By 8 we are in bed, wrapped in layers of clothes a sleeping bag liner , down sleeping bag and woolly hat. By 8:30 lights are off.
After going to sleep around 10am last night – the whole place was woken by a dog barking around 1am. This was the pattern for the night. I got up around 5-30 as I needed the toilet again, that must have been about my 3rd nocturnal visit. Outside the dog was again barking, this time at the plethora of head torches heading towards ABC to see the sun come up on Annapurna. It was a grand sight and warranted a couple more shots to add to the hundreds already taken. Morning tea arrived at 6am and the washing bowl at 6-15. Next in the routine is to pack the sleeping bag and then pack the Red bag. Breakfast of porridge and apple with ginger and lemon tea completes the rigmarole. I then have to negotiate the hole in the ground before the trek to Dovan some 1,500 metres below ABC. At 7am helicopters start their ferry service from Pokhara to ABC. People get dropped off left for a while and then picked up later. The flight seem to run until around midday and then stop. Probably weather driven as after 12 mist and cloud form in the gorge and drift up to the peaks. After a couple of hours we seem to have split into two groups. VSD isn’t too happy and wants everyone to go slower. Today VSD is actually faster then SD. We have set off in sub zero temperatures but as the sun reaches the gorge it rises to somewhere around twenty degrees. Everyone needs to shed layers before proceeding. The next two and a half hours are steeply downhill. The ground is uneven and every footstep has to be carefully selected to prevent accidents. The best analogy I can come up with is it resembles a walk down the Kilbo Path before is was restored but with twice the steepness. The calves and thigh muscles are burning as I approach Himalaya for the lunch stop at one o’clock. Lunch is DB with ginger and lemon tea. We take an hour for lunch and then head of for Dovan our night stop. I take a couple of Ibuprofen before heading off as I felt some discomfort in my right thigh. Martin has a swollen knee and is Ibuprofen powered and Lindsay has his bursitis and a sore knee. It is fairly easy walking steadily downhill and we reach the destination around 3-20. Everyone is relaxed and happy to have got down. Some of the party Lindsay Tony and Martin all had breathing problems overnight and weren’t feeling to great so it was a big effort to deal with the downhill section to the lunch stop. On arrival we all sat down and enjoyed our first beer for three days and it tasted sweet We have seen the last of the big hills for a couple of days. Our walk today covered ground walked by us previously, this is the same tomorrow, before we head off on a new route. The trail was very busy today both with people ascending and descending. The sleeping arrangements are one of four and two of two. Tea is veg curry and rice. The tea house is full of Korean guests so we all rushed to the showers before they arrived I was rewarded for my haste with a stone cold shower. A bit grumpy because of this. The Koreans have their own chef and kitchen tent. Annapurna seems to be a magnet for Koreans. The wifi is not working in the tea house so no blog being sent tonight tonight. An essential part of a trek is organisation of you kit . Packing the day bag packing the Red Bag the porters carry from Tea house to Tea House. Sorting out what you need to sleep in,what you need to wear during the day, washing kit, electrical chargers. Can I have fresh pants and socks for the next day, how many are left. The result of this need to be organised has meant that I have spent at least an hour a day with my head in the Red bag moving things about and then moving them again. Just when everything is sorted I discover something is missing and the whole moving stuff around starts again. Last night I spent 15 minutes on a search for my head torch just as I resigned myself to its loss I discover it in the iPad bag. Waaaghh!!! Oh and talking to yourself during the process is another feature of organising your kit. We eat tea get next day timescale from Passang and then English football comes on the TV – this is the first place we have been in that has had a TV – hit is Newcastle V Wolves I am not really interested
Usual start Routine at 6am – Martin delivered us tea to bed. We thought we had a leisurely start but apparently not. Dave made some startling revelations about pegging out washing with pegs that matched the colour of the clothes being hung!! Lindsay has left his sleeping bag liner up at ABC – we are hoping it might be brought down by Porters. Martin gave me a tip on replacing my boots to prevent bruised toes when descending.it seems to work. We shared our tea house with Koreans last night.Their pre walk exercise routine was very inspiring, think they must have nicked the huddle idea from Celtic. Another pre walk highlight was the two Asian girls with their camera, pictures of each holding Machapuchare in their hand, pointing at Machapuchare while also pointing feet and pouting, pointing at the hotel sign, pouting at the hotel sign and on and on. A reflection on porters. Up to Chumrung a lot of the heavy lifting goes by Mule train. Mules don’t go above that height. All onward transit is by porters using baskets on their backs. Today we saw three porters with metal beams taller than themselves being carried up for building work. The beams were snagging the ground and the trees as they ascended. The strength and fortitude of these people is astonishing. Our walk today was only 5 hours. We dropped from 2,600 to 2,100 metres but this ignores the up and down effect. The descent this time is mostly on good paths as opposed to yesterday when a lot was on uneven ground. We stopped at Sinewi for a cup of tea after three hours. The walk from there was down steps over a ravine bridge and then down some more steps before crossing a stream on stepping stones. The final part was an ascent to Chumrung on a staircase. The counts on the steps varied between 1756 and 1850 – lung busting. Slow Dave is now slower than very slow Dave thanks to a knee problem but everyone made it. The compensation was a nice cold beer brewed in the Yeti Brewery plus a Rolls Royce – DB. additional fresh green chilliest as required. It was made by the owners mum. The highlight of the walk today was our encounter with a group of Black Faced Monkeys. They were kind enough to sit while we photographed them for a few minutes. We also saw a green lizard, very small and a vole or some other vole like vermin which was eating a nut. My camera holder fell apart mid walk today, thought it was irreparable but managed to sort it Arriving at one o clock gave us a free afternoon to catch our breath do some souvenir shopping and generally rest our legs. My shower experiences continue to disappoint. This time I suffered at the hands of a gas shower that delivered only lukewarm water. This combined with my inability to dry myself properly, thanks to an insubstantial micro towel left me shivering while dressing , still wet. I think I will leave showering until we reach Pokhara.pp The tea house specialises I’m pizza so this is my choice for the evening. It doesn’t disappoint and is enhanced by raw green chillies to slice on top. Too long here and I would be putting on weight. Everyone stayed to chat after dinner and we were joined by a youth named Andrew from California who walked from ABC to here in one day, respect.
I woke early and doze awaiting the knock from Captain with tea and wash bowl. At 6 it comes and I am first up to greet him. We get our stuff packed breakfast and are off at 7-45. Slower Dave up front we head along following the count ours of the hill past farms and through trees. The descent stars down uneven steps and earth path. It is relentless and we reach a suspension bridge built by the Ghurka association. It is very high and I am last across after it stops wobbling. The descent continues to the valley floor where we cross another shorter suspension bridge built by the same association . After we cross the bridge we see some brown monkeys on the opposite bank. Captain points out a tall tree above us , this is the lunch stop Cuilli . It must be 600 metre up the hill. It is a very tough uphill and very slow as Slower Dave still leads. Slow Dave has fallen to the back and falls further and further back as we progress. At around one o clock we hit the lunch stop. A nice tea shop in a clearing with a flat grass area in front. It is sunny but we eat inside. The family running the tea house were shelling dried beans but stop on our arrival the children start painting the the boys as part of Dowalli with is underway here. We eat a fabulous DB washed down with tea and then head off uphill again through jungle forest. We spot some tree orchids, all the trees are covered in green moss which hangs from the branches. The climb is relentless but we eventually reach Tadapani by 3-20 . The hotel has great views out over the hill we have just climbed but the mist stops us seeing much. We are sharing two to a room . There is a hot shower available but I give it a miss. The rooms are cold so we head down to the terrace where the sun has come out and enjoy a cold beer. The sun soon disappears and we move into the dining room where a smoky old wood stove is heating things up. The smoke gets too bad at one stage and the door is opened to clear it Dinner is 6-30 so we retire to the rooms where I get inside my sleeping bag for some warmth. Dinner is veg curry and chocolate pudding for me. I enjoy it with a tin of beer Around 8-30 it is up to bed. The bar has emptied and the family start some Diwali celebrations which include incredibly loud firecrackers. I read for a bit and then it is lights out. After today’s performance I may need to swap the Dave’s nicknames as Dave lead throughout the day and Dave lagged behind for most of it as well.
Captain awoke us at 6-00with tea and hot water for washing. Lindsay is first up. I photo him wrestling his sleeping bag and he takes revenge as I wrestle the Red Bag. Some of the mist and clouds have cleared and we can see the red dawn and some of the high peaks as we get ready. Porridge and a couple of cups of tea Gorrapani is the destination we have a net 300 metre climb. The walk starts at 8am with a brief uphill followed by a long downhill to a river crossing. Thereafter we climb and climb to 3200 feet at Deurali. The walk is uphill through a narrow gorge and then steeply up beside a waterfall. The trees are predominantly rhododendron with a mix of maple and others. Leaves are turning as Autumn is well under way. A dog adopts us and provides an additional trip hazard for an hour or so. The lead for the first hour and a half if SD with Slower Dave just tucked in behind him. They fall by the wayside and the walk speeds up. We have a tea stop at Deurali and then hit the top of the hill shortly after. The last of the walk is downhill along a ridge sometime on earth track and sometime on steps. There are a large number of people trekking here and any feeling of remoteness has gone. Quite a few American trekkers and the usual predominance of Asians with Europeans making up the balance We arrive at one o clock. We have en suite rooms, luxury. A brief change of clothes and shoes then off for lunch in the restaurant overlooking the hills in front of us. Most of the view is obscured by clouds. Lindsay and I share a beer to accompany our DB. it was a nice meal and the company has an end of term feel. We are all relaxed knowing most of our job is done. Gorrapani is almost back in civilisation. After lunch we retire to our rooms. We can get tea at 4 or meet at 6-30 for dinner. Food has been ordered. The menu looks bigger and better but I decide to stick to vegetarian. Lindsay and I just got the score from last nights match so are having a beer – as if we need an excuse.
The last full day of our trek started early. We woke at 4-30 dressed and headed off at 4-45 to walk up Poon Hill . It was an hour uphill to watch the dawn on Annapurnas along with at least 300 others. At around 6-30 we headed back down for breakfast. After breakfast at 9-15 we headed for Hille, initially up we then started a gentle descent through a gorge with the river beside us. The walk was undulating and there were a lot of people around. We encountered a herd of goats. One of them took a fancy to Lindsay’s hiking pole and started to scratch an itch, very funny. Around 12-30 we started down a stone staircase heading to the foot of a gorge. At Ulleri we stopped for tea and then around 40 minutes later we stopped for DB. On leaving the tea house we saw a sign telling us there were 3,280 steps to the bottom where we were headed. As I descended with Acas I started to teach him Scottish. In particular “it’s a braw bricht moonlicht nicht tonicht och aye. It occupied at least 1500 steps. At the bottom we crossed a couple of bridges then started down the far bank on an undulating path for around 15 minutes before we reached our evening stop. We are in a very quiet agricultural village called Hille and in a very quaint tea house. A beer is the order of the day and we sit sipping ale and watching ladies cutting rice. Their cutting activity is interrupted from time to time as they answered their mobile phone. On our arrival our porters were sitting out side helping the tea house owners shelling dried beans. We saw the first motor vehicles for 8 days around lunch time which signalled our return to the 21st century. This is the last blog for this trip. Tomorrow is a short walk and then a bus ride to Pokhara and hotel living – time to reflect on an incredible 12 days.