The Himalayan Challenge

21 September - 11 October 2018


SEPTEMBER 25, 2018

Manali - Update 

Hostages to fortune

Yesterday was a strange rest day to say the least. We knew that we were in the middle of a minor natural disaster and there was nothing to do but sit it out.

The rally was almost marooned and over the course of the day the rain kept coming, the roads kept collapsing and the TV news channels kept us informed. Manali was pretty much cut off from the rest of the world. 

Throughout our 'ordeal' however the hotel Manu Allaya did us proud. Hot buffets miraculously appeared for lunch and dinner along with tea and coffee and when the electricity supply failed they switched on the generator and assured us that they had enough fuel for five days of careful usage which meant midday blackouts and no lights after the bar closed. Surely five days would be enough?

Clerk of the Course and route designer John Spiller enjoyed no rest at all. He spent almost every waking hour either on the telephone to his network of local contacts or shuttling between the two rally hotels on opposite sides of the raging Beas River to deliver news and keep the crews abreast of developments the ground. 

Because the main rally HQ hotel is only accessible by a long scramble over the chasm that was once the access road much of today will be spent relocating to bring the rally back together on the same side of town. 

Circumstances have dictated the options available and with input from the authorities and local guides it is clear the rally will spend a minimum of one or two extra nights in Manali. Today the 48 hour advance car of Dick Appleton and Chris Mills will once again go ahead to scout out possible problems and pitfalls.

Guy Woodcock along with Sarah Ormerod and John and Gill Cotton will also get on down the road to more fully map out a route to take us to Shimla where the rally will probably spend an extra night before picking up on the original day schedule.

The forecast is improving and we’ve all got our fingers crossed.

Syd Stelvio



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