Many centuries ago, an ancient ocean swallowed the arid canyons and plains of Mangistau. Today, the fossilised remains of sharks and sea urchins are imprinted in this region’s cliff faces, plateaus and low-lying salt pans.
Compared with the rugged enormity of the Pamirs there is something peaceful, almost friendly, about the Fanns; they seem to protect rather than dominate the small villages that lie beneath them.
A collection of Silk Road titles inspired by the late great Peter Hopkirk, a family friend of one of our company directors.
Dust, and the smell of dust, is everywhere. It defines every crease and seam of my riding gear like a monochrome relief map of the mountains we are riding, my boots and gloves are white rimed with it and my face a grimy mask of the stuff.
Starting at the outflow into the remnants of the Aral Sea, a small group of hardy travellers followed this epic river thorugh Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
We did have a load of blog posts, covering all sorts of things and stretching back several years. But a glitch in the matrix has meant that everything got deleted by some horrid online gremlin, and so we are starting afresh.