Rocks, Routes and Shoots


London • Delhi • Srinagar • Sonamarg • Kargil • Leh • London

Day 1 – Sat 30 July 2016

Depart London Heathrow by direct British Airways* for Delhi.

*Departures from Manchester and upgrade to world Traveller plus and club class are available on request.

P6250017Day 2 – Sun 31 July 2016

Arrive Delhi , connect flight to Srinagar (altitude 1730 m). Lunch on the houseboat and afternoon enjoying the ambience of life on a houseboat. Late afternoon Shikara ride on Nagin Lake. Stay on houseboats in Nagin Lake.

Day 3 – Mon 1 August 2016

Srinagar. Visit Pari Mahal and Shalimar Mughul gardens and enjoy lunch in at Cheshma Shahi Gardens. Introduction to the main themes of the tour late afternoon (on the houseboat).

Day 4 – Tue 2 August 2016

Srinagar. Day trip to Khunamuh (Guryul Ravine) to look at sedimentary rocks of the Permian /Triassic boundary and the basic volcanic rocks of the Panjal Traps. Introduction to the factors which affect plant growth – altitude, nutrients, grazing etc. and to survey techniques.

Day 5 – Wed 3 August 2016

Srinagar to Sonamarg. Morning in Dachigam National Park and bear sanctuary to see a mix of familiar and more exotic plants and animals. Picnic lunch by the Sindh river then drive to Sonamarg (altitude 2800 m) after lunch, noting the changing geology (Quaternary sediments, Panjal Traps, Triassic limestone etc.) and ecology. Stay at Sindh Resorts Sonamarg.

P6290168Day 6 – Thur 4 August 2016

Sonamarg. Walk to Thajiwas glacier, observing typical glacial features. Look at lichens as a link between geology and ecology. Compare the ecology here with that seen in Srinagar, particularly amongst the rocks above the snow pocket. A first look at plant pollination.

Day 7 – Fri 5 August 2016

Sonamarg to Kargil (altitude 2676 m). Drive across the spectacular Zoji La pass (3528 m), looking at diverse geology en route – includes highly deformed Triassic limestone, metamorphic rocks of the Zanskar Crystalline, basic volcanic rocks of Panjal and Drass, granitic rocks of Kargil igneous complex and Indus Molasse. Survey the vegetation in the meadow at Matayin to compare it with that at Guryul. Stay at Highlands Mountain and Spa Resort.

Day 8 – Sat 6 August 2016

Kargil to Nurla. Drive to Nurla via Shergol valley and monastery and the Buddha at Mulbek. Cross the Namika La (3718 m) and Fatu La (4108m) passes, taking in the rocks of the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ). Visit Lamayuru monastery, with panoramic views of the sediments of the now-empty paleolake (‘Moonland’). Descend to Nurla (altitude 3040 m) for overnight stay in Apricot Tree Hotel.

Day 9 – Sun 7 August 2016

Nurla to Leh. Time to relax at Nurla before visiting the rock-cut Tibetan Buddhist temples at Saspol with their 13-15th Century wall paintings. Look at geology en route to Leh (altitude 3524 m), including the confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers. Possible free time in Leh late afternoon. Stay at Caravan Centre Hotel

Day 10 – Mon 8 August 2016

Leh. Visit Thiksey monastery and Shey palace, getting close up and bird’s eye views of the rocks of the Ladakh Batholith on which they sit. Free time in Leh in afternoon.

P7030475Day 11 – Tue 9 August 2016

Leh. Visit Hemis monastery, sitting on the Indus Molasse, in the morning. Stop to look at contact between the Indus Molasse and Ladakh Batholith (Karu) en route. Look at lichens growing on the rocks below the monastery and take a walk after lunch to look at the high altitude vegetation and spectacular rock formations of the peaks in Hemis National Park.

Day 12 – Wed 10 August 2016

Leh to Tso Moriri. Leave after an early breakfast for Tso Moriri high altitude lake (4500 m), via the hot springs at Chumathang and Puga. Observe changing geology and how vegetation changes with altitude and other factors. Stay in tented camps.

Day 13 – Thur Fri 11 August 2016

Day at leisure in Tso Moriri

Day 14 – Fri 12 August 2016

Tso Moriri to Leh. Drive back to Leh via Tso Kar salt lake and the Taglang La pass (5303 m). Stay at Caravan Centre Hotel.

Day 15 – Sat 13 August 2016

Fly from Leh to Delhi. Day free in Delhi. Overnight stay in Hotel Royal Plaza.

Day 16 – Sun 14 August 2016

Fly back to London Heathrow by direct British Airways flight.

About the tour leaders Heather & John

Image of Heather KellyHeather Kelly

I am a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years my focus has been on teaching rather than research and I have taught interdisciplinary science with the UK’s Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. Teaching at both universities has included running field trips on which students learned about assessing biodiversity, the impact of environmental factors on plant growth and processes such as succession. I am really keen to encourage people to look at how organisms interact with their environment, particularly at a time when we can see that environment changing. I would like to do this in Kasmir and Ladakh by looking at how the vegetation changes with factors such as altitude and rainfall and also at how primary succession allows the colonisation of bare ground. The Himalayas, with their natural beauty and the fact that so many British garden plants have their origins here, make an ideal location for this.

Read my blog

Image of John MacGillivray John Macgillivray

Currently I am a part time science tutor at the Open University with over 20 years experience of teaching undergraduate, general science modules. This has including a senior tutor role at OU Residential Schools, leading geology/ecology field trips and similar independently led field trips. I have previously worked in the UK Meteorological Office and National Engineering Laboratory (UK). I hold a first class honours degree in Earth science and a degree equivalent in Physics. Recently I have carried out published research work with Professor Ray MacDonald (Lancaster University/ University of Warsaw) and Professor B. Bagiński (University of Warsaw) on the Tertiary dyke systems of Southern Scotland and NE England, adding to previous jointly published research work I have carried out.

The Cost From

Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis £2,590.00

Single room supplement £490.00

Cost Includes:

  • International air fare in economy class on British Airways.
  • Internal flights from Delhi to Srinagar and Leh-Delhi in economy class.
  • Accommodation with private facilities on twin, double sharing and single room basis as per the itinerary.
  • Meal Plan- All meals in Kashmir and Ladakh, Daily breakfast and dinner in Delhi.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by an air-conditioned coach in Delhi and Toyota Innova cars in Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • Sightseeing arrangements with our local experts as mentioned in the itinerary and local English speaking guides at other places.
  • Entry fee at monuments and places of interest.
  • Services of Heather Kelly (Ecologist) and John Macgillivray (Geologist).
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
  • Complimentary mineral water while on board for Coach Travel.

Cost does not include:

  • Visa fee for India. E-Tourist visa fee currently is £40.00 approx.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any expense of a personal nature

How to book this tour

If you wish to book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.

Click here to download the booking form

Read our Booking Terms and Conditions


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