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Month: April 2019

Blisworth -> Nether Heyford

Blisworth -> Nether Heyford

Just moving the boat.

Last stop was Gayton, before I put it in the marina.

There’s one possible stop, near Anchor Farm, then straight through to Nether Heyford, because stopping at Bugbrooke isn’t an option.

Easter Weekend

It’s Easter Weekend, possibly the most busy time for hire boaters.

Began washing Bonnie yesterday – cleaning all the winter grime off with a scrubbing brush.

Took me 3 hours to do the roof.

Still got to do the cabin, gunwhales and decks.

Day 40: Tadopani -> Pokhara

Day 40: Tadopani -> Pokhara

The end of the Annapurna Circuit Trek, for me.

I didn’t want to walk back through Gorepani (Poon Hill), and Ullari. All stuff I’ve done before.

I cut my loses and took the bus back to Pokhara.

The bus from Tadopani to Pokhara

I’ve been around South America, europe and Asia on buses. Bumpy bus rides along precarious roads are nothing new to me, but this bus trip from Tadopani to Pokhara was 10 hours of travel HELL.

Just bumps, spine jarring bumps, corners, stops and starts right the way from Tadopani to Beni. About 5 hours.

It was actually very physically demanding.

About 3 hours in, we were stopped by roadworks.

These Nepalese roadworks are of a special variety.

They’re pictured above.

Pokhara

When I did get to Pokhara, I discovered my hotel had emailed me telling me my room had been overbooked and I had no-where to stay.

Happy days.

Day 38 – 39: Tadopani

Day 38 – 39: Tadopani

Took a couple of rest days at the bath town of Tadopani at Dhaulgiri Lodge.

Internet didn’t work, but it was fairly comfortable.

I had my own little hut, water wasn’t hot, but charger worked and I had enough space to spread my stuff out and kick back a bit.

Day 37: Kalopani -> Tadopani

Day 37: Kalopani -> Tadopani

Probably my last full day of walking, and a long day it was.

Should have halved the day by stopping in Ghansa, but didn’t. Didn’t really want to walk backwards and uphill.

I think this was a mistake.

Walking from Kalopani to Tadopani in one day is definitely too far. Even though it was downhill, it was nearly 20 miles, and there were no villages to stop for lunch, so it was a straight through job.

By the time it got to 5 o’clock, I’d stopped enjoying the countryside, and was more concerned about my feet.

Kalopani to Tadopani

The views walking from Kalopani to Tadopani were spectacular, and although the trail had been destroyed by landslides in places it was pretty, if a slightly dangerous walk through small villages, mountain valleys, through forests and ravines.

When I got to outside Tadopani, some heavy plant and engineers were in the process in of improving the road.

All the passengers had got out of their 4×4 and buses, and were congregated around the work-site, socialising at the road-side or waiting patiently, or impatiently inside their vehicles.

I passed these folk and carried on into the town. When I arrived, it was 5pm, and the only place I managed to get accommodation was called Dhaulagiri Lodge, which actually turned out to be quite good.

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Day 36: Muktinath to Kalopani

Day 36: Muktinath to Kalopani

After Muktinath, pretty much the whole of the Annapurna Circuit Trek follows the road.

This is a dusty and busy road.

Muktinath
Muktinath

Where the trail does continue away from the road is not clearly marked.

This and the fact that the landscape was fairly sparse and boring made me decide to take a bus.

Jomsom

Firstly, this was to Jomsom, where I thought I might hole-up for the night.

On checking the accommodation, much of it seemed to be overpriced, without amenities and Jomsom itself noisy and dusty.

I got a hotel for 400rps. When I sat in the room for 1/2 hour, I started getting asthma from all the dust floating around.

Not ideal.

I paid the hotelier for 1/2 stay and got on the next bus out.

To recommend it, there are plenty of banks in Jomsom to get that extra bit of cash to help you along the way.

Jomson -> Kalopani

There isn’t really much between these points of any interest.

Initially, I was going to stop 10km further up at somewhere called Kobang which was marked on the map.

When we went through it, it just seemed to be some loggers huts.

I didn’t see any signs of any trail anywhere, separate to the road, and as I’ve said previously, this side of Thalong La, the Circuit Trek seems mainly to consist of walking down the road through boring and dusty landscape.

Kalopani was the first place where the accommodation seemed nice, and the environment looked like somewhere I wanted to walk in.

I had some difficulty alerting the driver to the fact I wished to stop, eventually managed to do so and agree a price for the additional travel from where I had told him to drop me off, about 10km up the road.

Kalopani

Stayed at the ‘See you’ lodge. Prices are higher for accommodation this side, you’re paying 500rps. The other, you’re paying no more than 200rps.

Alternatively, the food is cheaper, the rooms have chargers and there is a free shower and drinking water, in this place. Although, in Jomsom, this was not the case. The prices were just higher.

Today, I’m going to walk down to Tatopani, where there are some hot springs.

It may be about 20km.

Kalopani
Kalopani

 

Day 33 – 35: Resting in Muktinath

Day 33 – 35: Resting in Muktinath

Went to the doctors at 9am next morning.

He said I had snow blindness and told me it would take 48hours rest to clear it up.

He gave me some tablets and eye drops. £4.

Snowblindness

Can be much worse than I experienced it.

My eyes were sensitive, no real pain.

For the next day, I couldn’t read or focus, make out objects etc. and every time I closed my eyelids, they would fill with water.

It’s now 4 days on.

My eyes are still red. I can read and focus.

They are still sensitive to the light, but they work.

For this whole period I was in the Budha Hotel Muktinath, where they took care of me right in the centre of Muktinath.

Muktinath

There are some religious temples here of significance for Hindus and Buddhists. Due to my ailments, I didn’t take any attention to them.

Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Day 32: Thalong La Phedi to Muktinath

Two words can sum this day up – ‘no joke’.

There are other two word phrases that fit also, perfectly adequately, but after the full day. I’d say crossing Thalong la Phedi to Muktinath is no joke.

10 hours of high altitude snow, sun, wet and cold.

The effects of UV were definitely under emphasised by every traveller, hiker, guide or source I’d come across.

You’ve got 360° reflective or direct sunlight coverage at 5,000m above sea level. At that level the UV is more than you’re going to experience anywhere on the planet.

Not something mentioned with any emphasis in Lonely Planet, my faithful guidebook. Just weak ramblings about how poorly you may be if you get AMS, how to check if you’ve got AMS. How to stop and sleep just in case may get AMS. AMS is not the only danger up there you know.

It took me 6 hours just to reach the pass.

I thank the gods for the weather, without it things would have been a lot more serious.

Ascending to the pass

All up hill.

2-4ft Snow coverage 80% of the way.

Ascending Thalong La - Himalayas
Ascending Thalong La – Himalayas

Path was clear enough to follow. There’d been enough travellers earlier on in the day. That wasn’t a problem.

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