Week 37

Amir Dawoodbhai

First things first – we want to say a massive congratulations to Amir from the wee monkeys who has just become the newest member of the 1,000 mile club! Well done Amir, and thanks for all you’re doing to support World Medicine! 

Begov most
Begov Most

All of our teams continue on their merry ways and are in three different countries – Serbia, Iran and Pakistan. In Serbia, the tigers are close to the town of Pirot and have just passed the ancient ‘Begov Most‘ or Bey’s Bridge, dating back to Roman times, and for historians and archaeologists it’s a place to spend time looking around. Judging by the greenery in the photographs it’s also, perhaps, an example of a place that appears in the dreams of all our other teams, who find themselves far from any greenery, heading through very dry landscapes.

Approaching Pirot I hope out tigers are braced for what makes the town famous. Two words… hard cheese. No, not bad luck that the other teams have to suffer through the desert! Hard cheese is the speciality of Pirot, and ‘Pirotska peglana’, or Pirot sausage, is a close second. It’s a flat sausage because it’s ironed, and it’s made from the meat of old animals. Mmmm…. – not! Being a proud vegetarian it’s obviously not to my taste but I have to have a sneaking admiration for any foodstuff – old and flat as it is – that has its own Facebook page!

Rendering the sausage a far off second best, the cheese is known as Pirotski Kackavalj and has been produced in the town for more than 200 years. If you wish, you can spend 17 minutes of your life learning how this famous cheese is made

Bazman Volcano

As the tigers get closer to the border with Bulgaria so do the wee monkeys edge towards the border with Pakistan. Thanks especially to the efforts of Saifidin and Amir, they’re pulling away from the snow leopards, and have just passed the dormant Bazman volcano. Dormant suggests it’s just sleeping, and they may have been tempted to slink quietly past, for fear of waking it up. But there’s not much danger of that, since it’s estimated the last eruption was 41,000 years ago!! To the west of them there’s a volcano of a different sort – a mud volcano. The Pirgel Mud Volcano is considerably larger than Ben Nevis – the main cone is 1,667 metres above sea level – and its much more active than nearby Bazman. It last erupted in 2003.

Kuh-e-Jupar Protected Area

Behind them, the snow leopards are right at home in the high snowy mountains close to the Kuh-e Jupar protected area, which reaches to over 4,000 metres. At this time of year, of course, it’s very cold and wintry in the mountains, so we hope all our teams are keeping warm.

I don’t think cold is the problem for our peacocks, as they continue their route towards Karachi. Now in the Winder district of Pakistan, the local temperature at midday was 23 degrees reaching 27 degrees by 4.00 pm. By contrast, here in Fort William we reached the dizzy heights of 2 degrees in the sun! The Winder district is home to Pakistan’s newest large scale construction project, the Winder Dam, planned to be completed by 2025. Designed mainly as a water storage and irrigation project they also plan some small scale power generation. Seems a sensible project in such a water-scarce part of the world.

With all our teams in rural areas, there’s not been many museums or cultural sites to focus on this week, but I hope we’ve learned something nonetheless!

Once again, a big shout-out to Amir and his entry to the 1,000 mile club. Who’ll be next?!

This week our teams have completed 328 miles. The peacocks are now 561 miles from Jay Ambe and the warmest of welcomes! But not there yet, so don’t get complacent…!

Have a great week, a very happy Christmas, and if Santa brings you new walking shoes don’t wait to try them out…!