3.5 out of 5 stars
Mountains have captivated people for ages for a variety of different reasons. Just look in any bookshop in the travel section and you will find lots of book on mountains from all over the world. People have been climbing them seriously for over 150 years now, but before that, they had a spiritual significance for many cultures.
One of those people who is drawn to mountains is Iain Campbell, in particular, the Himalayas. Another fascination was the Indus River, and he had always dreamed of following its course in a boat as far as he could up to the Tibetan plateau, where it springs from the ‘Lion’s Mouth’ on Mount Kailash. Circumstances meant that this was never to be, so he had to take the next best things and follow it along the banks by bus and train.
Not only would this be a personal journey, but a discovery of the significance of the river to the lives of the people of Pakistan who live alongside it. It would take him four months and he would visit shrines and temples, get bumped around on buses and generally experience the rich culture of the country. He found the people of that country warm, generous and hospitable, very different from what he was expecting from the way that they are portrayed in the western media.
The truth of this journey, as with every other journey, is that it is unrepeatable; the land that we travel through changes, the tools that we use to travel change and we ourselves change.
It is an enjoyable book about a man immersing himself in the place and culture of a region. Campbell writes in a plain and matter of fact way and is prepared to engage with the people that he meets and join in with all that the journey throws at him.