River Dog – Mark Shand

This book is Mark Shand’s tale of his walk along part the Brahmaputra river, which rises in the Himalayas and flows through Tibet before turning south into India and Bangladesh, where it flows out into the Bay of Bengal.

The tale takes you from the expedition’s the genesis in a meeting with one of his explorer/adventurer heros, Charles Allen, to suffering altitude sickness in the Himalayas and 2 years of working relentlessly through British and Indian bureaucracy… and that’s before he even starts his walk.

The epic is dented rather by the long Tibetan stretches of the river being made out of bounds to foreigners by the Chinese, but the tale changes tone and focus somewhat when the river walk does begin, high in the mountains of Assam, where Mark meets Bhaiti, who becomes his River Dog.

An enjoyable tale, with lots of characters and lovely photos in the centre section. Mark Shand does not mince his words or mask his emotions, particularly where bureaucrats or officials thwart his plans. At times he can come across as a rather arrogant, imperious Gentleman Traveller, but perhaps those are required characteristics if such travels in Asia are to succeed.

Buy it: Amazon link