A Geology & Ecology Field Trip to
Spiti & Lahaul India
A small group tour Led by Heather Kelly & John Macgillivray
27th July to 14th August 2019
Heather is a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years her focus has been on teaching rather than research and she teaches interdisciplinary science with the UK's Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. She has run field trips for both universities looking at how to assess plant biodiversity, the impact of the environment on plant growth and processes such as succession. With so many British garden plants having their origins in the Himalayas, Heather is keen to introduce others to the Valley of Flowers – a fabulous location for studying plant ecology.
John is a part time science tutor at the Open University with over 20 years experience teaching undergraduate general science modules, including leading OU geology/ecology field trips and similar independent field trips. He has previously worked in the UK Meteorological Office and National Engineering Laboratory (UK) and holds a first class honours degree in Earth Science and a degree equivalent in Physics. Recently he has co-published research on the Palaeogene dyke systems of Southern Scotland and NE England, adding to previous jointly published research. John enjoys integrating his knowledge of Earth Science into the broader context of the Himalayan environment.
London • Delhi • Manali • Kaza • Mane • Nako • Kalpa • Shimla • Delhi • London
(Meals: B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
Saturday, 27 July
Depart London Heathrow by direct British Airways overnight flight for Delhi.
Sunday, 28 July
Morning arrive Delhi. Transfer to Hotel Shangrila Eros. An afternoon sighseeing of important historical monuments of Delhi..
Monday, 29 July
Travel Delhi to Manali – train to Chandigarh then jeep to Manali (1926 m). We will travel across a series of boundary thrusts from the Sub-Himalaya foothills, through the Lesser Himalaya Sedimentary and Crystalline series into the Greater Himalayan sequence. Two nights in Mayflower hotel. B D
Tuesday, 30 July
Manali. Visit Naggar Castle and Nicholas Roerich museum. Afternoon free to explore Manali. Introduction to some of the main themes of the tour late afternoon. B D
Wednesday, 31 July
Manali to Kaza (3600 m). An early start for the long drive over the Rohtang pass (3978 m), up the Chandra valley and over Kunzum La pass (4500 m) into the Spiti valley, looking at the structural geology en route. Today we will cross from the Greater Himalayan sequence, through a band of Cambrian-Ordovician Granite and into the Tethyan Himlayas. Four nights in Hotel Deyzor. B D
Thursday, 01 August
Kaza. Drive back up towards Kunzum La for a closer look at the geology of the Tethyan Himalayas in which the Spiti valley lies. These mountains formed from the thick pile of marine sediments deposited on the Northern margin of the Indian continental plate as it collided with the Eurasian plate. This will also allow us time to acclimatise to the altitude. B D
Friday, 02 August
Kaza. Visit Key monastery, the largest in Spiti, and Kibber village and Wildlife Sanctuary (4270 m). The wildlife sanctuary’s cold desert climate provides a home for snow leopards, wolves, ibex and blue sheep as well as rare medicinal plants. B D
Saturday, 03 August
Kaza. Visit the high-altitude villages of Hikkim, Komik and Langza (4600 m) and their monasteries, driving through spectacularly-folded (Triassic) sediments. Walk from Langza to cave where marine fossils have been found. B D
Sunday, 04 August
Kaza to Mane. Drive down the Spiti river then up the Pin Valley taking in its dramatic structural geology – highly folded, mostly Triassic sediments with inliers of Permian and Carboniferous rock. Head on to Mane for two nights at a homestay. B D
Monday, 05 August
Mane. Walk to Sepona Lake beneath the Manirang mountain near Mane Village looking at geology, ecology and geomorphology. Wetter land round the lake provides habitats for a wider range of plants and animals than elsewhere in this desert region. B D
Tuesday, 06 August
Mane to Nako. Drive down the Spiti valley, stopping to visit the ancient monastery and caves at Tabo en route. The Chos Khor Gompa is the oldest monastery in the region. Visit nearby Nako lake, if time permits. Stay in tented camps. B D
Wednesay, 07 August
Nako to Kalpa. Carry on down the Spiti valley to where it joins the Sutlej at Puh, and follow this to Kalpa (2960 m). Journeying from Spiti towards Shimla we traverse the boundary thrusts in reverse, from the Tethyan to the Sub-Himalaya. Stay at Hotel Grand Shambala. B
Thursday, 08 August
Kalpa. Day at leisure to rest and relax B
Friday, 09 August
Kalpa to Shimla via Sarahan. Carry on down the Sutlej valley towards Shimla, breaking the journey overnight in the old regional capital and market town of Sarahan. Visit the palace complex and temple, time permitting.
Three nights stay at Hotel Clarkes Shimla. B
Saturday, 10 August
Shimla. Walking tour of the old British hill station then free time in the afternoon. B
Sunday, 11 August
Day at leisure in Shimla. B
Monday, 12 August
Shimla to Delhi. Take the Toy train to Kalka then the express to Delhi. Stay overnight at Hotel Ibis near International airport. B
Tuesday, 13 August
Departure by direct British Airways flight for Heathrow. B
- How to Book this Tour
- Travel Insurance
International air fare in economy class on direct British airways flight.
All accommodation arrangements with private facilities.
Daily breakfast and dinner.
Transfers and sightseeing arrangements by an airconditioned private chauffeur driven coach and air-conditioned cars.
Services of our representative for transfers and local English speaking guide for sightseeing.
Entry fee at monuments and places of interest.
Services of Heather Kelly (Ecologist) and John Macgillivray (Geologist).
Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
Cost does not include:
Visa fee for India. We will send relevant information how to obtain an electronic E-Toursit visa.
Travel Insurance. You can obtain a comprehensive travel insurance from Travel & General click here
- Tips and Gratuities
Any expense of a personal nature
- To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £500.00 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. 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.
- If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
- It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
- It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
- It covers you for all activities.
- Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
- Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
- If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.