Welcome to the official blog for Raleigh India 12I | July - August 2012

Welcome to the Official Blog for Raleigh India 12J September - December 2012.

Sunday 5 December 2010

You’ve been Tango’d

Guest blog by Doug Meehan

As Phase Three projects teams deployed to site I joined Tango 6 for an eagerly anticipated seven day loop visit.

After a five hour drive to Kerala we met our local guide Nidhin and began with a beautiful four hour trek through tea plantations and up into the first of what would be many hills. Perched on a hillside we camped for the night with stunning views of forests and valleys below us. The team spent the first night getting to know each other, getting used to trek life/cooking and being entertained as Hubertus did a little dance for the group, sending tea cups flying, when a ‘mouse’ crawled up his shirt.

 Early mornings, and so early bed times, are the way of life for trek and so after a slightly questionable/lukewarm breakfast of porridge prepared by myself we set off as the sun rose for a full day of walking. After reaching a forest watch tower that would be our camp for the night we carried on to climb an adjacent peak and enjoyed paddling in Heaven Lake.

Every day is a big day in the Tango groups and day three involved the approach to Amba (the highest peak we would summit) and entry into leach country. We also had our first taste of trekking through primary forest, which required an additional forest guide as the area has restricted access, which gave us all the feeling we were treading in David Attenborough’s footsteps. In the evening we were able to wash away the aches (and smells) in a stunning valley stream.

Climbing up the steep valley sides on the lower slopes of Amba we walked in silence as the guides listened for elephants and buffalo. After a few gruelling hours in thick forest we emerged onto the grassy upper slopes of the mountain and promptly all collapsed into a heap to catch our breath. With just a few metres to the summit George was keen to get us up to the top which we were all extremely grateful for when the forest guide called us to come and watch a family of seven elephants grazing just 50 metres away. After a lunch spent watching the family we descended the mountain. The journey down was extended by a detour to avoid elephants however spirits were not affected and we finished a hard 20km days trek as the night set in – hardened trekkers.

The following day was a rest day which we spent building bamboo rafts and punting down river. The calm and civil ride quickly descended into open warfare as trek leader Olly started boarding other rafts to soak their crew.

Following on from that we had another day’s break from trekking as we cycled 40km to the second range of mountains the group were to climb. We had a fantastic day cycling up and down winding mountain roads, and enjoyed the chance eat beef fry and Porota, a local treat available in Catholic areas of Kerala.

On my final day with Tango 6 we put our walking boots back on as we took in a scenic trek through forest ringing the second highest reservoir in Asia. During the day we had another encounter with elephants as we listened to their growls and trumpet calls further down the valley. In the evening as we washed in mountain rock pools the Raleigh car arrived with Del, field base DPM, who has now taken my place with the team. Keep an eye on the blog for his update when he returns in a week.

Messages from the team:
From Shanelle Ward - To Ian Ward: I finally got your letter! So good to hear from you... I got Dylan’s quite a few days ago which was also wonderful. I love you lots and lots and can’t wait to see you in a couple of weeks xxx

From Kim Delamare - To Ray Delamare: I love you daddy, thank you for your messages, I always think of you, and I get them regularly. Love to home, Happy Birthday to the Michaels! Xxx

From Kim Delamare - To Julie Delamare: Thank you for my messages. I love to know you’re thinking of me. Trek is very exciting, I love it! Love to everyone! Xxx

From Fiona Marchbank  - To ???: Loving trek so far, although really tough going. I fall over at least five times a day and we are constantly pulling leaches off of each other! It all adds to the fun though and the group are really good. Hope everyone is enjoying their mince pies! Speak in a couple of weeks. Xxx

From Lynne  Cooper - To The Fulks Family & Friends: Folks: Having a great time on Tango 6, body is still holding out! Saw elephants from about 50-75m away in the wild, rafted, mountain biked – it’s all good! Really looking forward to coming home to work Ha Ha! See you all very soon now, Lynney xx

From Lynne Cooper – To Polly and Polly: Love you – Miss you, Doug and Del aren’t the same as you, trek buddies. P.s. I’ll remember to do comms slowly!

From Lovely Luke - To Polly and Polly: I think about you every day, Trekking has been tough but the thought of our final few days in fieldbase together gets me through. Love you always – The Doctor xx

From Natalie Gordon– To Family and friends: Hey everyone! I’m having so much fun out here in Keralath Dec, once I have finished trekking. Back on the 21st, can’t wait to see everyone at home and have a huge catch up session! Sending my love and best wishes to you all, Natalie xxx

From Rosie Ward – To all Family and friends who send Birthday messages: Hi Everyone! Ma I got your 6th letter and birthday letter, thank you. SisI can’t wait to see you at the airport, thanks for the message and lovely letter. Girls thank you for your beautiful birthday card, I loved opening that early on my birthday morning. Dad, thank you for my blog message, please tell Granny and Norma that I got their letters and thanks you. It was so nice today, I got seven letters and 3 blogs. Everyone I had an amazing birthday, trekking is pretty tough and my birthday followed one of the toughest days of my life, trekked over 20km of tough terrain and saw elephants and got to stay in house rather than camp. On the 1st we built bamboo rafts and punted downstream – I had a go! In the evening we had a surprise home cooked Indian meal and then a huge cake with flowers and writing on it. I had presents and messages from friends and we played pass the parcel and musical statues. Didn’t feel completely like a real b’day without friends and family but it was a great day and we can celebrate on my return. Love you all, xxx


  1. For Christina Ambrose
    Hey Christina

    Long time no speak, hope the trek is going well and you're having loads of fun!! Can't wait to hear all about it when you get back. You might want to wrap up on the plane, it's freezing here. We've had snow for the last week and the country's ground to a halt! In other news, Liverpool are starting to climb up the Premiership table and it looks like Rebecca might win the X factor. Enjoy your last few weeks!


  2. To Kimberley Delamare (Tango 6)

    I got your letter today and I can't wait to get to know you all over again! Considering your letter took a month to arrive, I shall refrain from writing as you will be long gone before letters will reach you!! I canny wait to hear your voice and stuff...

    Love Sean x x

  3. Shanelle Ward (Tango 6)
    Hi, really not sure how this works, but thought I would give it a go... took me aaages to work out which one you were! still not entirely sure... coz I swear you were charlie 2 but now it seems u are not! hope you are having a fantastic time! I have looked at the pictures and I have located u! hahaha! It has been wierd not seeing you for 2 and a half months... hopin u are still up for going to the cinema when you get back! hahaha! only got 2 weeks till christmas yeah!! then no more school till january! ooo I got your letter which was lovely... didnt know if I could send you letters as I dont know the address... too late now! but I hope you get this post anyway! You will be lucky if you do get it knowing me and my computer knowledge....! oh I set my first detention the other day! go me!! that kid had it coming though...! hope you have seen an elephant by now... dont think u can really come back from india without seeing an elephant. I have my schools christmas concert this thursday and im conducting the choir and then playing the piano and organising.... oh the life of a music teacher! plus Im being observed this week officially by the university... eeek! so my lesson has to be perfect! cant wait to hear all about india!! how is the trekking? hope you are ok! xxx

  4. For Fiona Marchbank Tango Six.
    Hi Fi! Your trek looks amazing, something you won't forget in a while. As I write we have a wee bit of snow here but Glasgow/Hamilton are a total whiteout with people stuck on the motorway for up to 8 hours!...and no elephants! I have only had one mince pie so far, and it was a very small one! Plenty time though. My moustache is now a distant memory but we took a picture so you can get a good laugh sometime! There is a thread on the Tartan Army Board just now wanting to know if anyone is going to the Lakeside this year! It comes round again quickly! Glad you are getting on well, I don't suppose a curry will ever be the same when you get back. I notice your name isn't down for the 5K or 10K, is that down to your foot, or just common sense? I hope the foot is bearing up, and I'm looking forward to talking to you soon. I met up with Matt and he has got your stuff. His "twitching" week sounds a really great thing to do, if thats your hobby. I spoke to the girl at Envirocentre who lived near you in Dennistoun, she was pleased to hear about you and sends her regards. I was in the flat last week too, never seen the kitchen look as tidy! We got an "Evening Invitation" through the post for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, they seem to be having it at 5 Craigburn Court!Should be a fun evening! Emma has passed her driving test and Craig is doing 2 x 12 hours badminton matches for a breast cancer charity, he'll be sore after that! Think thats all my news, speak to you soon, love you loads DAD X

  5. To ELisabeth van der Zee, Echo three
    Hi Liz,
    We are nog sure if you got our message this weekend? How is the digging? Are the elephants treating you well? We received your letter this weekend and used your present during the Sinterklaas celebration...Do we have to send your running shoes, the donation is no problem as a lot of people are willing to support you?!
    Take care. Big hug mum

  6. Ryan Heeley Tango 5
    Hello Ry, Hope you are enjoying the trek and that you haven't got too many blisters!Can't believe it is almost time for you to come home but it will be good to see you and catch up on all your news. It has been soooo cold here, there is still loads of snow piled up everywhere , even the main roads only have one lane open and its over a week since it first snowed. No football last week and it looks doubtful for this weekend too. Enjoy the run and give me a ring when your plane lands please. Lots of love mum xxx

  7. Hi Rosie,

    Glad you had a good birthday.I will give you your pressie when you get back & maybe I can take you out for a meal, if you want.The trek sounds exciting with the elephants and then the rafting on your birthday.Looking forward to seeing you on your return.Lots & lots of love,Dad.xxx

  8. To Fiona Marchbank (Tango 6)

    Fi! You're trek looks amazing, I want to see elephants! Hope your ankle is holding up - not really happy about the leech situation but glad it's adding to the experience! :) So news from me ... I was meant to go to Paris this weekend but ended up changing my date because of the silly snow. Submitted my CIPD report today so now I can enjoy the rest of December festive funtimes. Really looking forward to catching up properly soon. Big hugs Emma xx

  9. Shanelle Ward ~ Tango 6

    Hi Darling

    How's the trekkie doing?:P I miss you loads and counting the HOURS until you come home!

    Be safe and enjoy the rest of your time in India.

    Lots of Love and Hugs
    Mums and Jazz