This year’s word cloud has many words in common with last year, though ‘see’ gets a more prominent billing and ‘plants’ rather less, for some reason!
This year, more of you have visited my blog than ever – 2884 of you, viewing over 6500 posts between you. The majority of you are based in the UK, the US and India, as before, but people from 95 other countries have also looked at at least one post. You particularly liked reading about parasitic plants, Himalayan rhubarb and why I think drawing is still an important skill for observational scientists. Expect more on parasitic plants soon, as one of the genera we saw repeatedly this year in the Himlayalas was Pedicularis, plants which are members of the Orobanche family of root parasite.
Our time in Srinagar this year was bittersweet – tensions in the city meant we spent more time enjoying the beautiful Nagin and Dal lakes than expected but couldn’t visit some of the sights we wanted to. Continuing problems, though not on the scale of what’s happening in Syria and Iraq, make it unlikely that holiday companies will be running trips to this beautiful spot again any time soon. I won’t miss some of the roads, but I will miss our annual visits to Sonamarg and Leh a great deal.
On to new, equally exciting, pastures for next year’s trip though. This summer’s reconnaissance to the Valley of Flowers fully lived up to my 30 years of accumulated expectations. We saw real evidence of the Himalayas as a biodiversity hotspot; several hundred species of flowering plant flourish amidst dramatic mountain scenery – the direct result of the region’s active geology. I’m still busy naming plants from photos, as best I can, several months after the event. We’ll be leading a trip there in July 2017, so why not come and explore this beautiful place and see what you can find? My blog posts from September this year should whet your appetite if these photos don’t!