Climbing to Leh

We start our long twenty-hour car journey from Srinagar to Leh. We spend the night in Kargil, an unattractive, dry, high place where exhausted travellers stop for the night. The road it high, narrow, often just a dirt track and for me absolutely terrifying.

As I lay in bed at night, woken by the 4am cries of the Imam which by now I am accustomed to, my thoughts immediately turn to the usual depressing early morning doubts about what I am achieving. Then, perhaps encouraged by the chant, I suddenly get one of those unaccountable positive thoughts that I can achieve something by saying what I believe and that one’s job is worth doing.

Even here, in an unfamiliar, relatively desolate place, the power of a call to prayer, albeit from a religion not of my own, is strong enough to alter my outlook.

Kargil is located at 2,740m above sea level but tomorrow we shall climb even higher.