Dressed for action by 11:30am, light weight trousers, tee shirt, wide brimmed hat, walking stick (should be light, strong and just reach the bottom of your rib cage), trainers with a very good grip, pocket full of peanuts and an orange. Head out the main gate and turn left, setting a brisk walking pace. Make straight for Pylon Point and turn down Goat Trail, which after a fairly steep descent opens up onto Middle Meadow. Make an anti-clockwise circuit over gently undulating terrain, which warms up the muscles for the trials ahead.
Leaving Middle meadow you climb up to Gaddi Camp, before a relatively gentle descent into Dead Cow Gully. Up and over the crest and straight into Double Dogleg Gully. This is not for the faint hearted, a steep descent on an angled path, with a steep ascent after completing the dogleg. This is quickly followed by Mary Jane Gully (So called because it grows prodigious quantities of stuff that would give you five to ten – with good behaviour – in any other place in the world.), Driftwood Gully then Monkey Gully. You get a brief respite as you come out onto the East Meadow before dropping into Hope Gully, aptly named, because by this time you sincerely hope there are no more Gullies. A long flat walk takes us nearly to Lookout Point, where we turn back and go through Hope, Monkey, Driftwood and Mary Jane Gullies before a steep ascent on Sambar Trail. This leads us back onto the Basunti Ridge, where we have about an eight minute walk on the relatively flat land, before entering Basunti from the right hand side.
What I find very strange is the fact that I manage to eat most of the peanuts on the walk, but never see any shells the next day. Have not figured out what is following behind me and eating the evidence that I have passed this way before…
The walk started out taking me sixty five minutes to complete; I am now doing it in forty five. What I hope to do as the weather gets warmer is combine the walk with a couple of short swims. This could be done by changing the route slightly, so that you go down to the East Meadow, via Wild Boar Ridge, cut down through the Jungle and walk to Look Out Point. A short swim across to Tiloks Island, then a walk around to the West Meadow and swim across to Middle Meadow. To complete the walk you would do Dead Cow and Double Dogleg before getting back to the Basunti Ridge via the Sambar Trail.
So far I have not encountered any humans on this walk, but I have come across a few goats and cows, a family of wild boar, two sambars and a Jackal. Also a huge number of Birds, the most interesting at the moment being the raptors . Spotted so far: Eurasian Marsh Harrier, peregrine Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Booted Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and an Osprey. Have spotted loads of other birds, but not carrying my binoculars and also not stopping, has made positive identification difficult.