Where the Indus Is Young: A Winter in Baltistan
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‘Such is the author’s love of travelling and of this untouched wilderness, that the lasting impression left by this book is one of sheer joy.’—Colin Thubron, Sunday Telegraph
One winter in the mid-1970s, Dervla Murphy, her six-year-old daughter Rachel and Hallam, a hardy mule, walked into Baltistan close to Pakistan-held Kashmir—the frozen heart of the Western Himalayas. For three months they travelled along the perilous Indus Gorge and into nearby valleys, making a mockery of fear, trekking through the forbidding Karakoram mountains and lodging with the Balts, who farm one of the remotest regions on earth. Despite the hardship, Dervla never forgot the point of travel, retaining enthusiasm for her magnificent surroundings and using her sense of humour to bring out the best in her hosts, who were often locked into the melancholic mood of mid-winter.
This hair-raising, quirky and vivid account of their adventure is a classic of travel writing.
Dervla Murphy was born in Ireland in 1931, to a family involved in the Irish Republican movement. She was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Waterford until she was fourteen, when she left to keep house for her father and to nurse her mother who had been invalided by arthritis. Dervla did this for sixteen years with occasional breaks bicycling across Europe. Her mother’s death left her free to go farther afield and in 1963 she cycled to India. Here she worked with Tibetan refugee children before returning home after a year to write her first two books. Dervla’s first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965. Over twenty other titles have followed. Dervla has won worldwide praise for her writing and has been described as a ‘travel legend’ and ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’. Now in her eighties, she continues to travel around the world and remains passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer.