Stok Kangri Expedition Day 1 – Arrival in Ladakh

We flew into Leh on the first day of our adventure aboard a very early morning flight out of Delhi. The approach to Leh airport is what could be termed interesting. 360 degrees of surrounding mountain ranges, a narrow valley and a dusty ex military airstrip to try to land on. It was a sick bags out and hold onto the seat of your pants kind of a landing!

Prayer Flags - LehAfter eventually clearing the never ending bureaucracy of the airport (which is in more or less lock-down mode due to volatile political tensions in the region) we finally emerged to grab lifts in a convoy of small taxi vans waiting outside which whisked us at speed through the labyrinth of dusty and bumpy roads to our local hotel.

View from my room - LehAfter a nail biting cab ride that only third world countries can deliver we arrived at our hotel/hostel where we were cordially greeted with traditional prayer scarves by the genial hotel staff.

Meet and GreetFollowing on from being fed and watered the rest of the day was spent just sleeping and gaining some much needed R&R. Later after awaking from barely enough sleep I had a quick walk into town.

Very dusty and muddy with potholes everywhere is the best way to describe the streets of Leh. The town is a strange fusion of Indian and Tibetan influenced cultures. Many Tibetan refugees have made the town their new home and Buddhist influence abounds through prayer flags, stupas and the Tibetan markets.

Ladakh House - LehI ended up wandering around one of the many Tibetan Bazaars that litter the town and made a timely investment in some prayer flags, (always good to have as much spiritual support as can be mustered when attempting to climb a 6000m peak).

Street Stalls - LehNothing else of much note happened for the rest of the day as this was just one of what would come to be all too familiar acclimatisation days.

Day two of the trip though would hold the hope of some much needed physical exertion by means of a trip to the very old and famous Alchi Monastery some distance away up the Indus Valley. Catch the next post to read all about our trip to the monastery.

Check out more photos from my adventures at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jameshandlon/albums

Jebel Toubkal Challenge – Day 1

I found myself sitting at a table overlooking the famous square of Djemaa El-Fna in Marrakech chatting to four people that I had just met a few seconds earlier while at the same time trying to wolf down a tasty chicken tagine that had promptly arrived in front of me! Continue reading “Jebel Toubkal Challenge – Day 1”

A Year of Travel and Adventure 2013

Another year draws towards its close and so ends another chapter in my ongoing collection of travel adventures.

It’s sometimes all too easy to feel that we may not have achieved even half of what we set out to do at the start of the year, trips that fell through, weather blighted days in the hills and mountains, places that did not live up to expectations etc, etc.

Continue reading “A Year of Travel and Adventure 2013”

High adventure in the Picos de Europa Mountains

On the summit of Torre de los Horcados de Rojos

I’m just back from northern Spain from what turned into a bit of an epiphany for me. I’d been longing to test my mettle in mountains over 2000m in height for some time now when the Picos range in northern Spain suddenly cropped up on my radar at just the right time. Continue reading “High adventure in the Picos de Europa Mountains”