Very readable account of the life (and death) of Victorian explorer, George Hayward, with lots of “probably”s thrown into a history of The Great Game in the far west of China and the Princely States that the British Empire ceded to Pakistan and India, combined with a whodunnit murder mystery.
After a short biography covering George Hayward’s childhood, his time in the army and arrival in India, we’re off following his adventures in Ladakh, crossing the Karakoram and the Kun Lun mountain ranges to get to Yarkhand, arriving shortly after Robert Shaw who laid claim to being the first Englishman to reach that Central Asian oasis-kingdom. Lots of unauthorised exploration and mapping en route – but prevented from continuing on to his true objective, the Pamir Mountains, by wily warlord Yakub Beg. And this expedition encompasses some of the places I’ve visited in this last year’s Autumn in Ladakh, 2008’s Central Asia Overland trip and 2010’s Himalayan Journey from Lhasa to Kashgar
With funding from the RGS, and kit from the the Indian Army, George Hayward set of again a year later, still in search of The Pamirs, travelling from Srinagar to Gilgit and the remote valleys-kingdoms beyond on an expedition that reminded me of the many amazing places I saw and the gentle people I met on my Hindu Kush Adventure in 2006.
How I would love to do that (now impossible) old Silk Road journey from Leh to Yarkand!
Author’s webpage: Murder in the Hindu Kush: George Hayward and the Great Game – Tim Hannigan