Nov 17 2009

Explore 2009 at the Royal Geographical Society


Rough Edge were fortunate enough to be at the RGS’s Explore weekend, which was fantastic. So many people with so many amazing and creative ideas, not just about their expeditions and journeys, but also how to tell people about them and how to make each of them have a positive impact.

More than one of the main speakers talked aout travelling with humility – this is what we try to do; from now we will ingrain it into the Rough Edge philosophy.

If anyone asks you to Explore another year and you are at all interested in the world, whether that is China, or anywhere – just GO!

While the rest of London walked or drove past the doors with the gloom of winter nights and global depression hanging over them, the RGS was a bright shining light of optimism, where anything was possible.

Thanks to all the wonderful people we met and we will be in touch to see how these brilliant new connections can evolve.

Rough Edge, Adventure, Logistics, Breathtaking, DofE Gold, Expedition, Wales,

Jul 19 2009

Marmite and washing

It is a beautiful sunny day. I wish I had loads more time, first to acclimatise to this place then to go exploring all around. I consider how many days I could possibly stay and it is clear there are not many. I am still at least 24 hours travelling time away from Kunming (that’s a lot of buses 🙂 On the other hand this is an incredible place. But again, I can always come back and it would be more fun with a few friends. But what about the views from the other mountains behind the town? Eventually I use marmite (that’s thinking man’s vegemite for any Ozzies reading) and reach a conclusion. (Deqin 19 July pm)

Rough Edge, Adventure, Logistics, Breathtaking, Wales,

DofE Gold, Expedition,

Jul 6 2009

High in the sacred mountain

As we hear the van driver disappear back down the mud road for his two hour trip to town a small man with a camouflage jacket appears with a small boy in tow. This, Xiao Bing tells me, is the mountain warden. We are to go with him to his house and have tea. We haven’t walked anywhere yet, it is now one o’clock so we have been travelling for 5 hours, but hey, everything is an experience, so we follow the man and his boy through the undergrowth, past his snarling dogs which he despatches with a loud grunt, to his homestead in the sky. He invites me in, we sit, he makes strong tea and offers me food – I say I have eaten. There are chickens, dogs and mushrooms drying on large trays in the sun. This is mushroom season and the Bai people and this region are famous for these mushrooms at this time of year. Xiao Bing tells me it is a good way for the farmers to make money while they are in season. A group of 8 locals arrives soon after, they bring food – fishes, vegetables, a crate of soft drinks and some see-through eels the size of whitebait. The mountain warden’s wife busies herself washing the food and putting it in bowls. Xiao Bing and I set off up the trail next to the warden’s house and up onto the mountain. There are stunning views this way and that through the thick vegetation. After one and a half hours we reach a wide open plateau and there is a house, some cow boys herding cows (odd that). In the house, Xiao Bing tells me, lives the Master; a monk who looks after the sacred mountain. He greets us and tells us to camp away from the cows somewhere they won’t bother us. After a time, one of the cow boys and Xiao Bing strike up conversation; the boy tells us of a cave, deserted for over a year by another monk who used to live there. There he says, we will be safe from the cows. He says he will take us there. (Mu Xiang Ping 4 July)

Rough Edge, Adventure, Logistics, mountain, navigation training, worldwide, trekking, Scotland,

DofE Gold, Expedition,

Jul 6 2009

Sacred mountain epic journey

Right, so I found a local guy – who is a martial arts instructor, but knows the mountains – he is called Xiao Bing. He and I set off for a sacred mountain on the opposite side of the Erhai Lake (40K long, north to south, with Dali on the western shore). We are heading for Mu Xiang Ping (otherwise known as Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain). At the start of the day he says he wants to save me money so we will take a bus, then find our transport into the mountain itself. All sounds fine so far, so we head off to the main road and find a public bus. It’s 8am and the bus is full of local people going to work. It is packed and there are lots of flies. It stops a lot, the road is a dirt track in many places. We are on the bus for an hour and fifteen minutes, all the way to a town at the other end of the western side of the lake. Here we stop and Xiao Bing negotiates a ride in a ‘tuctuc’ (you know, 3 wheeled motorbike with curtains and seats behind the driver). We pay 4 yuan (about 30p). The motorbike takes us along the north side of the lake along a busy road to the next town. We get out of the motorbike. Now it is ten o’clock, so we’ve been travelling for two hours. Xiao Bing recommends we buy food; I leave this to him and he gets two pots of extremely spicy noodles from a shop across the road. Now he negotiates with another driver who has a small four seater van (with very thin wheels and tinted windows). The price to take us to the village high in the mountain is 200 yuan, he says it will take two hours…
We set off and soon we are on a narrow muddy mountain road that snakes up and up into the hill. We pass local farmers tending their fruit crops, the driver stops to chat with them and they offer him a stop for tea… but we continue. We pass a small village, he asks directions, we continue. Three times we stop and there are debates between the driver and Xiao Bing – the driver fears he will not have enough fuel to get back to town. We continue. Finally, after the interference of an extremely loud-mouthed local farmer woman (who wants money to show us the way – we refuse), we reach our setting off point. My altimeter says 2750m, we are very high in the moutain. (Mu Xiang Ping aka Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain 4 July)

Rough Edge, Adventure, Logistics, mountain, navigation training, worldwide, trekking, Scotland,

DofE Gold, Expedition,