Manaslu & Tsum: Mini Update

Two months before I go to Nepal, this story blows up and major travel insurers threaten to pull their cover unless Nepal puts a stop to helicopter rescue insurance fraud.

First on twitter:

(Excellent summary from Alan Arnette there)

Then in the wider press:

Here’s the original story, by Annabel Symington, AFP’s Nepal Bureau Chief:

and some of follow up coverage:


All of  which brings back memories of our enforced helicopter ride from unlovely Lukla to KTM back in 2011 which marred the end of the otherwise wonderful Three High Passes to Everest trek. A different scam, but still a scam involving trekking tourists and helicopters.

It looks like a scene from Apocalypse Now. It felt like one.
It looks like a scene from Apocalypse Now. It felt like one.

In the meantime (and looking ahead!) I’m starting on my kitlist spreadsheet, checking Air India’s baggage allowance (2 x 23kg – should be plenty!!) and gradually getting my USD from Thomas Exchange Global. Turns out they can provide Nepalese Rupees too.

Oh, and starting to plan next year’s Nepal trek with Val: Mera Peak 6,476 metres (21,247 ft) – Amphu Labsta Pass 5,845 metres (19,177 ft) – Island Peak / Imja Tse 6,189 m (20,305 ft).

Update – 18 September 2018

Annabel Symington’s blogpost on her investigation into helicopter rescue fraud in Nepal:

Home from our eleven day stay at 40A

Phil and I are back from a super eleven day stay in Herefordshire.

Walked a bit, read a lot.

15 jars of August Apple Chutney – various varieties – made from Train Set Red Delicious Windfalls.

Learned how to use the sit on mower and cut all the grass. Perfected the three point turn at the grass cuttings escarpment.

Me and my mower
Me and my mower

Failed to find the lost tortoise, and marvelled at the range of the Lost! poster locations.

Lost Tortoise poster - Kerrys Gate
Lost Tortoise poster – Kerrys Gate

Caught the bus into Hereford and made friends with Dominic, the bus driver. In town, Sensory & Rye provide such a hit for morning coffee that we went back for lunch. Yum.

The local buzzard quartet provided regular afternoon displays, and one blue sky morning we received a visit from what looked like all of Herefordshire’s house martins, sitting along the wires strung out over the sheep field.

Buzzard in the blue sky
Buzzard in the blue sky

We started our holiday with a slap up Sunday lunch with dad and Jean and had a local food-tastic Friday evening meal with them at The Temple Inn, Ewyas Harold – AA Friendliest B&B of the Year Winner 2018-2019!

A leisurely mooch around Dore Abbey, and a last lunch at Abbey Dore Court Gardens….

Dore Abbey
Dore Abbey

Bargain bird’s eye chilis and ginger from the Allensmore Aladdin’s Cave that is Lock’s Garage, and the best Raisin and Cherry Tiffin this side of Offa’s Dyke helped pass the time on the three hour train journey home.

Sunrise over Grey Valley
Sunrise over Grey Valley

My photos are in this Flickr Album: Forty Acres, August 2018.

The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World has been on my reading list for a long time.

It’s Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account of the 1910-13 Nova Terra Expedition to Antarctica, where he was part of a three-man scientific research team that undertook the harrowing Winter Journey to collect the first specimens of Emperor Penguin eggs. This is The Worst Journey in the World of the title.

However the Nova Terra expedition is better known for the explorations undertaken by its leader, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, together with Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates, and Edgar Evans, who succeeded in reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. All five men died on their journey back from the pole.

I had hesitated to embark upon The Worst Journey in the World, fearing that Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s autobiographical  analysis of the expedition would be a heavy going account reflecting the attitudes of Empire and the Edwardian era.

Sara Wheeler‘s introduction to the Vintage Classic edition I read dissolved my concerns, and I found this to be a fascinating and heart breaking read.

I’ve added Sara Wheeler’s biography of Apsley Cherry-Garrard – Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard – to my reading list.

Publisher page: The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Riddle and The Knight – Giles Milton

The Riddle and The Knight - Giles Milton
The Riddle and The Knight – Giles Milton

Giles Milton always tells a good story and The Riddle and The Knight is no exception.

Part travelogue, part history, part biography, The Riddle and The Knight explores the life and times of medieval traveller (two of my loves combined!) Sir John de Mandeville, who spent 34 years on an extended pilgrimage tour of the near east and beyond, and wrote them up in The Travels of Sir John Mandeville on his return. His account became a Medieval best seller. In it he claimed to have circumnavigated the globe.

But, having finished the book relaxing on the sofa at 40A as the rain tipped down outside, I really, REALLY want to know how his wife spent those 34 years.

She get this one tantalising mention on page 110 (my emphasis added):

“Yet in 1321 – just months before the author of The Travels claimed to have left England – he sold everything he owned and disappears from all records for the next 37 years. According to one of the few surviving land registries from that year, a ‘John de Mandeville and Agnes his wife‘ sold ten acres of land to Richard and Emma Filliol. Furthermore, ‘John atte Tye of Teryling and Alice his wife had a settlement with John Mandeville of Borham and Agnes his wife by which the former secured twenty marks of silver one messuage, sixteen acres of land, and one and a half acres of wood in Borham.’ Men didn’t dispose of land in the Middle Ages unless they had an extremely good reason. But it is entirely possible that Sir John did have a good reason. He was going abroad for a very long time, and needed a huge amount of cash to find his voyage.”

Author’s page: The Riddle and The Knight – Giles Milton

P.S. I also like the fact the Sir John was liege man to Sir Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex. Those two counties loom large in this Loosemore’s life!

And look what popped up in my Twitter feed two days later: