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Iona stands for Hall Female Sports Secretary
Why does she have such a weird face? It is her attempt at aggression.
It must have struck fear into the voters as she was duly elected.


IONA'S 20th

L to R, Iona, Catrin, Rhiannon, Russell, Yas, Gwenny, Iestyn, Colcloughs
Sisters, sisters
Iona & Gwenny (middle & far right)
with Morgan, Freya, Brogane Colclough


'Cwrtycadno babes' at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, November 2007

Cousin Rhiannon (Brynteg), Me, Therese (Lady Mayoress),
cousin David (Lord Mayor of London!)
sister Rhiannon and Sheila (Llandre)



China October 2007

Unfortunately I lost my camera and 3 weeks worth of photos in China, so this is only a limited selection.

Sarah with Xilingole gelding
This one is Yiwu x Kabardin
Sarah with Yili gelding


Just to prove I went there, even if it was on my last day in China
Obligatory three hour walk from Jinshanling to Simatai
Ming Great Wall

Steep and scary - I kept my eyes down.
Photo courtesy of fellow wall walker Amanda Field.


TrTTrip to Shandan Horse Stud, Gansu province to look at horses

Horses have been bred at Shandan for the Chinese army for about 2000 years.
In the past there have been many thousands of horses, but now there are 'only' about 1000 mares.

On the overnight train to Shandan .
My able interpreter Liu Bo from Sheerwood Equestrian Centre(left), with fellow passenger Lin Xiu Fang (right) of the Yuguzu ethnic minority.
Saddling up the horses in front of the hotel at Shandan stud.


In borrowed jodphurs and hat at rakish angle
Trying out a lovely young Shandan gelding Baixing
With Wu Shuli, who has ridden almost the whole way round China on Shandan horses

Trying out the horses on varied terrain


Above: Riding round the lake to see Shandan youngsters.
Qi Lian mountains in background.


Pure Shandan mare


Ruan Jie, Li Xin, Wang Shu Tao, Me, Wu Shu Yang
Li Jian Bin, Wu Shuli.

In front of Shandan stud HQ
Wang Yang Jun (General manager 1st Area), Wu Shu Yang
Me, Mr Dong (Vice manager horse training dept)



Mongolia September 2007


The 'main road' leading from Ulaan Bataar - dirt tracks wander apparently randomly all over the steppe where people have driven the path of least resistance. Most roads in Mongolia are dirt tracks.
It took 3 days to drive to Tosontsengel and the start of the horse trip.
Driver Delger tying a blue khadag (votive scarf) to an ovoo - a shamanistic rock shrine. These are often found at high points such as passes. Traditionally, travellers should walk three times round the ovoo and add a rock to the pile.


Yak on the shores of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur - the Great White lake.


Tosontsengel - Preparing to leave at the start of the eight day pack horse trip.
Several of the promised horses did not materialise, but organisers John and Sam managed to drum up some more in time for departure!
Adiya and Huiga loading a packhorse Mongolian style on the second morning - seconds before the rope broke.
Emma, Barbara and Trina and packhorses ford a river at the end of a long day.


Three of us stopped at this ger one morning for hot milk.
Note the satellite dishes!
The hostess with the mostest who plied me with hard fermented cheese rounds.

At the end of the fourth day of riding, we camped by this inaccessible (except on legs) lake in the heart of Tarvagatai Uul National Park.

Ready to start the next morning
The deserted hills of the National Park


Our horse wranglers Otka, Adiya and Huiga
try out Kendal Mint cake.


Bath house at the hot springs spa where we camped on day five.Each cubicle contains a little bath fed continuously by hot water from the stream.
A real luxury after 5 days packhorsing.
Rather creepy Blair Witch sight - in fact a Shamanistic tree with sheep scapula bones used for predictions


Evening draws in on the penultimate day of riding.

On the last day (after the end of the ride), John took Emily and me to camp at a stunning and remote spot where sand dunes spill into Khar Nuur (Black lake)

Our camp site - John's tent was blown into the lake by a squall the previous evening!


Delger dune sliding. When the sand is dry, it roars.

Monument to the Mongolian horse near Arkhavangai.
In celebration of the winner of the
National Nadaam horse race


With researcher Nandia and volunteers Milena & John- Baptiste (who I met on the Trans-Siberian) at the Hustai National Park Research station after a morning spent stalking Takhi (wild horses).




Kyrgyzstan Trip June 2007
200 miles by horse from Lake Issyk Kul to Lake Song Kul


On the shores of Lake Issyk Kul - the second largest high altitude lake after Lake Titicaca. It never freezes in winter.
We stayed the night at the home of eagle hunter Sogam Bai before meeting the horses and setting off through the mountains with leader Dom, guides Anarbec and Maksat, and Yalki Palki the dog




DAY 1 or how to survive nine hours in the saddle

Setting out on my horse - a little grey stallion called Koktapan
How to cross a mountain torrent with an eagle on your arm.
Sogam Bai shows the way.



Rowena - still going as the shadows lengthen
A scary path

Day 2 - Over mountain pass to the hot springs

Climbing up to the pass. You can just see some of the party riding up the track.

Crossing the pass - just under 4000 meters
Rowena admires the view on the other side


Picnic in the sun - -
- but rain soon appears on the horizon
The hot springs were in a small and somewhat basic abandoned bath house a little way up the river - we had the somewhat eerie but unforgettable experience of bathing by torch light in the middle of nowhere while the full moon shone in through the window.
A very wet campsite No 2


Day 3 - a very wet day and we gate-crash a yurt for lunch

This could be Wales - except for the yaks!
Attired in our recently acquired Russian army surplus raincoats (only £5!)
Maksat, complete with jaunty headgear, on the horse that Rowena took over.
Our trusty crew, including driver Sergei (far left) driver and organiser Mambet (in cap) and wonderful cook Liliya (white shirt and dark glasses).


Day 4 - galloping over the grasslands.

View from the campsite with Anarbec
Setting off in the morning - Dom, myself and Picnic Express (the picnic carrying pack horse) bringing up the rear
Looking back towards the campsite
Raincoats on again
Yak herd and sheep flock - a typical sight.

Camp No 4
Children from nearb yurt camp who came up to play cards and have their photo taken. And also politely pointed out to certain members of our party that they were washing socks in their drinking stream


Day 5 - Dom's birthday and Veronique gets kicked


Rowena and I, not to mention Picnic Express, set off past the yurt camp.
Rowena and friends.
We often picked up followers en route!
Our leader and birthday boy.
Camp No 5 - the confluence
Veronique's personal medical team of one doctor and 3 nurses tend her kicked leg.


DAY 6 - the first sight of trees. Rowena's horse nearly falls in the river.

A morning snooze
Over a riverside crag


Dom leads the way through banks of geraniums
Hauling a log Kirghiz style
Rowena and Doug
Now you see them, now you don't
- Anarbec and Yalki Palki in camouflage mode.
Picnic Express leads Doug over the last river.
Sergei lends a hand at Camp No 6


DAY7 Andrea falls off into a river.

Margy fords the river again
Anarbec and Maksat


An ominous thunderstorm on the horizon - which we later rode through.
Another steep scramble
Wolf scarers?
Lucy and Veronique
Approach to camp No 7 - you can just see the tents
The jeeps had to come this way too.


DAY8 - Rest day and Mambet's mountain sauna

Camp No 7 - in a 'secret' valley reached through river canyon.
Mambet constructs the sauna - a fire heats a pile of rocks. In the background water is heated to throw on the rocks, and whipping branches prepared! The frame is for the tent.
Things start to hot up in the tent -
Lucy, Veronique, Rowena, Peter
Coming up for air
A frantic dash for the icy river -
Mountain man Mambet watches coolly while the rest of us scream.
A cheerful respite round the camp fire - Rowena, Margy, me , Lucy and Maksat, who has been regaling us with many sad Kirghiz songs of unrequited love.


DAY9 Rowena and Maksat fall off and we reach Song Kul

On into the hills
How tedious - another stunning view.
Secluded picnic spot among rock buttresses - Koktapan and Jekie together as usual.
Foals tied up - a common sight. This is the season for koumiss - a drink made from fermented mares' milk
First sight of Song Kul and journey's end
Sunset over Song Kul


DAY10 - and we thought it was all over

After blithely volunteering to ride the horses the last 15 miles round the lake to the yurt camp
rather than take a rest day, the morning dawned wet and cold (2 degrees C)

A bedraggled start.
The green brigade storms up the last stretch

Rainbow's End

Pakistan Trip October 2006

A short walk in the Hindhu Kush
From the Chitral valley to Rumbur in the Kalash valleys

We flew up to Chitral for the weekend whereupon Rowena informed me that I would be doing a 10 hour walk over to the Kalash valleys while she relaxed at the hotel.
Admittedly she was 7 months pregnant. And the walk 'only' took 7 hours.


Ready for take off on the Hercules to fly to Chitral.
But what is Russell doing on board?

On the balcony at the Hindhu Kush Heights in Chitral
Rowena gets into the mood with a cup of tea

Early the following morning Azzam my Kalash guide and I set off up the mountain.
This is a view about a third of the up looking back down to the Chitral valley.
We started from the village at the bottom.

How to carry a log down a mountain Chitrali style, complete with embedded axe!
The gentleman behind is carrying firewood.
Deforestation of the lower slopes is causing a severe problem of erosion in the area.


About two-thirds of the way up.
Azzam leads the way through the pine forests of the upper slopes - here they are less affected by logging and firewood collection.

Crossing the top with Tirich Mir in background - the highest peak in the area with an altitude of 7,778 metres
Snowdon is 1085 metres, which puts it in perspective.




Above our destination Rumbur in the Kalash valleys (home for Azzam)
By the time I got to the bottom, my legs were like jelly.

The Kalash people inhabit three narrow valleys (the most secluded being Rumbur) in the Hindhu Kush.
Their isolated location has meant they have managed to retain their unique, non Muslim culture and religion.
One theory commonly held is that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great soldiers, and they are certainly Aryan, even Greek in appearance.

Arrival at Rumbur. Azzam with his sister Kuban and little son Azzam Khan.
Kuban is modelling the traditional clothing worn by all the Kalash women - black dress beautifully embellished with embroidery, topped by a cheeky little beaded
number. In this instance desert boots are the chosen footwear. Hair is worn rasta style in a number of long plaits.

Above: Kuban's traditional Kalash house with new extension. The flat roofs act as extra living area for drying crops, playing games etc. I was entertained in the top storey balcony.

Below: Kuban brewed up a most welcome leg-strengthening sugary milky tea poured straight from the teapot which enabled me to stagger the last mile.
You can just see the long traditional decorated 'tail' to her head-dress.


Rowena came round by jeep to meet me at the guest house where we stayed overnight, which was owned by Azzam's brother Munir. Here is Rowena posing with Ramoo and Karina, Azzam's wife and daughter.
Goat pie (interesting) and Kalash hooch (very restorative) while Munir entertains us with local gossip.


On the way back to Chitral by jeep.

Above: Jeep's eye view of the road, which was like this for miles.

Below: Our jeep driver back at the hotel.

Up the Khyber
The obligatory trip


Above right: Up the Khyber Pass with my Kalashnikov toting Pathan guard Ahkbar. Afghanistan in the background.

Below: Ready to take on the Afridis.

Above middle: A typical road scene coming back into Peshawar - yes Pakistan is left hand drive and this is the left hand side of the road!

Below: An oasis in the middle of a Mad Max town - Rowena and John swimming at the Khyber Club.



Sara Niazi (on left, with whom I stayed in Rawalpindi) and friend, in front of Fatimah Jinnah University where she lectures in Gender Studies. Her next British visitor was Prince Charles, who came into one of her lectures! Ironically this only happened because his visit to Matt's drugs rehab centre in Peshawar was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to terrorist threats!On the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir in Lahore. Note the beautiful pietra dura (inlaid stone work). One of the countless (but stunning) examples of Mughal architecture that I visited during the following week! Although I somehow missed out on the Taj Mahal.
Sufi music on the roof at the Regale Internet Inn, Lahore. Proprietor Malik on the far right. Band consisted of harmonium, tabla, and a couple of instruments I know not the names of, including two metal strips to clang together (see sitting musician) and gaudy lute played upside down by lead singer, who also stamps his feet with anklets of bells. Concert developed into communal Sufi dancing session.
At the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar in India - very calming and spiritual


Under the walls of the immense Red Fort at Delhi - another Mughal wonder built by the Emperor Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal.
In the gardens of the Red Fort.
In the background are the Diwan-i-Khas and the Khas Mahal, respectively the Emperor's hall of private audiences and the Emperor's private palace.


Above: Visit to the old Buddist monastery at Takht-i-bai, inconveniently during the Eid festival when the entire male population of Pakistan was out sightseeing. But what are the old relics creating such interest?

Below: Takht-i-bai. Rowena and retinue observe Matt, John and retinue visiting the monk's cells.

Crossing the Malakand Pass to the Swat Valley.

On the road back from Swat - the lorry on the road gives an idea of scale.







Malaysian Holiday. Christmas 2005

Thank you to all our friends in Malaysia for making this a truly memorable trip.


Iona with Dato Noordin Kling and Datuk Ann in their lovely house in Kuala Lumpur, where we were pampered guests for much of our stay.

Thank you for your help and hospitality.

Iona in her sarong kurong outside the house.
Dato Mustafa Ali with Gethin and Iona sitting on the bench donated in my name to the V.I. (Victoria Insititution) over 40 years ago!
Rhiannon and I on cannon at Kuala Selangor hill fort. November 1958
Me by cannon at Kuala Selangor hill fort. December 2005.

Iona in Kuala Selangor Nature Reserve, where we were the only visitors and saw otters and mud skippers!

Moral : Don't wear shorts if you don't like mosquitoes.

Rhiannon and I at the V. I.
Kopi ais at Jacky Lee's coffee shop
Rhiannon walking down drive to our house at the V.I. 1956. VIOBA(Old boys Assoc) in background.Rhiannon walking down 'drive'. 2005. VIOBA is still there, unfortunately our house is not!

Lunch with Dato Zaman Khan and family at the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

This is where we used to swim every Wednesday afternoon.


Tiger beer, sizzling steaks and compulsory bibs at the Coliseum Cafe. K.L.

Russell and Gethin (& Gwenny) tuck in.

Tea with Dato Osman Sham & family in Petaling Jaya




Gethin in his element at the Lone Pine, PenangIce-creams at Brown House, Penang Hill, where Aunty Gwynedd lived. (For Rowena & Felicity!)
Sitting on cannon at the E & O (Eastern and Oriental) Hotel, Penang. With unknown girl and my father. Feb 1954. I am on far left.
Sitting on cannon at the E & O, Dec 2005
Chinese feast with Dr Ooi Keat Gin and family in Georgetown.
On the balcony at the Majestic Hotel, Ipoh.
Visit to the Anderson School, Ipoh, where we were royally entertained. The HM YM Raja Abdullah bin Raja Amran on my right , Dato Selvanamy on my left.
In the garden of our house, Anderson School, Ipoh. 1954. Wearing my spotted knickers with pockets in!
Standing in about the same place, but the flower beds have gone and the house is now a museum surrounded by tarmac & buildings! Dec 2006.
Iestyn on the Walk of Mind Body & Soul
(i.e on a path of very sharp little pebbles!)

Chinese feast with Dr Ng Siew Kee & Yun, Yook Voon & Elizabeth. Ipoh

Even Gethin was struggling (see below)

Outside Dacres bungalow (now Brinchang) Fraser's Hill, on Christmas day 2005. Rhiannon & I last spent Christmas here in 1959!
The view from Brinchang bungalow
Family Christmas lunch at the Smokehouse, Fraser's Hill
Family group photo at Brinchang
Christmas day
Above - Jungle walk
Below - Gethin, Gwenny and Iona in the waterfall
Time for a Tiger - The Tavern at Frasers Hill Village
In front of the old Clifford School building
The old Residency, now a Rest house. We stayed in the upstairs room to the left of the balcony. My mother used to work here, and I came to play with Robert Hyde. Can you spot Gethin & Iona?

Sitting on the steps of our house between Timah and Awang, with Poppy the dog. Kuala Lipis. 1951.
Above, in my pram with parents, 1949

Sitting on the same steps. Dec 2005
Gethin and Awang the Seladang,
Seladang sanctuary, Kuala Krau
Gethin, Iona, Gwenny
Curry at Temerloh resthouse, overlooking the Pahang river.
Gethin & I canoeing on Tasek Bera. A freshwater lake reserve in the jungle.
Tasek Bera 'resort' where we were the only visitors. Very secluded and wonderful food. Iona & Gwenny in canoe.
The children at my parents old house in Kuala Pilah, now home to an anti drugs unit!
The children visit the beautiful old istana (palace) at Sri Menanti, set in the hills of Negri Sembilan.
Hang Tuah's Mausoleum, Melaka. Hang Tuah was a 15thC Malay warrior hero, and I grew up on stories of his exploits!
Lunch with Halimatun back in K.L.
Dinner at the Lake Club with Justice Abdul Razak Abu Samah & family


Links of interest:
- WPCS.uk.com
- Welshcob.co.uk
- Welshpony.co.uk
- Studfarms.uk.com
- ponyandcob.com

Holiday cottage
To Let

In Red Kite country

Available now

For 2006

Megan Lewis
Cwrtycadno Stud
Plas Ffrwdfal
SA19 8TE

Tel / Fax:
01558 650582



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