Eventually having broken through the clouds and at long last successfully scaled the forbidding Nilgiris Mountains, we come across at a height of nigh on 7000 ft indications of civilisation. Praise be! A bemused, somewhat insolent goat herder directs us toward a well-worn track that leads us to? C.F.
Resolute to a man we struggle on! When unable to negotiate a particular hazard we like Sisyphus of old descend and having chosen another line of attack hurl ourselves again and again at the unforgiving rock face. C.F.
Our ardour is currently somewhat dampened; the recent monsoon rain has caused severe mudslides, at every turn our path is blocked by fallen trees or boulders, which hinder our already slow progress. In one place the whole trail has disappeared having plummeted into the yawning chasm below. We tread a knife-edge, every perilous footfall a step closer to home. C.F.
Having had no sighting of the dreaded Vippers and buoyed up to a man by the notion of being homeward bound we cracked on a pace! A whistle hovers on our lips and with a spring in our step, we start to climb! C.F.
A dream last night which involved Simpsons in the Strand and a bowl of their famed smoked haddock chowder has fortified my resolve to get myself and the chaps back to their families and home shores for the seasonal festivities. C.F.
I must admit to being somewhat intrigued by the stories told of this modern day Robin Hood! In the event I should run in to this disreputable rogue I keep about my person an extra jar of my Gentleman’s stiffener. It's a peace offering, a gift that will hopefully convince him of the benefits entailed in the use of my pomade and an added enticement to end his erring ways. C.F.
Famed for his handlebar moustache Veerappan terrorises the locals as he plunders the valuable trees and poaches the elephant for its much-prized ivory. This man is fiendishly dangerous and there is a substantial prize on his head. C.F.
After some days with the weather rapidly improving and blessed with the occasional hint of sun we find ourselves in the vast sandalwood forests of Tamil Nadu. At night we are obliged to post look outs for this is not only the last preserve of the Bengal tiger but its also home to that notable dacoit, the robber baron Muniswamy Veerappan. C.F.
Galvanising the men, we prayed to our Gods, dug deep and for the whole day attempted to get a rope across this Stygian flood, alas our frantic efforts came to naught. Having by now lost two souls to this water course from Hell and with no Charon to guide us over. We abandoned all hope and crestfallen we voted to retrace our steps. C.F.
Exhausted we eventually happen on a fast flowing river, a treacherous torrent swollen with the late monsoon rains.
We set up camp for the night, this God-awful day is done we can proceed no further. A fire is lit allowing us to dry some of our clothes; it also serves to keep at bay the hounds of hell that aurally surround us.
The weak flame shedding enough light to facilitate the painful removal of the blood-seeking leeches that now cover our arms and legs, this slow exacting process eats further into my private stock of Sullivan’s finest Turkish cigarettes.
Needs must what?
A hearty singsong precedes a fitful, nightmare of a sleep! C.F.
Torrential rain is making the going very tough, underfoot its a veritable quagmire sucking at our very will. The expeditionary force hacks its way slowly foot by foot through the humid jungle, every man jack drenched to the skin and playing host to leeches who feast on our spirit and sap their energy still further. C.F.
Grim and tortuous trail! Chaps morale a little low. Around campfire last night shared out last of the port, which raised some, much needed cheer. Men have renewed resolve to carry on regardless! Good egg! C.F.
We are heading into much darker and far more humid regions. Venturing into remote areas of dense sub tropical forest, far off the beaten path. On the whole the locals appear friendly, offering us gifts of freshly cut fruit and coconut milk. I extended the hand of friendship and offered the village elder a cigar from my own private stock. C.F.