Walnut expedition – mission complete

I undertook an expedition to Kyrgyzstan in 1997 to collect walnut seeds from the wild walnut-fruit forests. Following our last day collecting walnut seeds in the mountains near the spectacular Sary Chalek lake (see post) we travelled back to the capital Bishkek via a three hour jeep journey, first through the mountains on dirt tracks… Read More

A champion walnut tree

The rushing of the mountain river, whose banks we cooked on last night, soothed me to sleep. I woke up to another beautiful sunny day; the sun striking the steep mountainside beyond the river. Its glowing red rock is covered here and there in junipers, walnuts and scrub. Our ‘guesthouse’ is bizarre. It is quite nicely built but had no glass in its windows and has no running water … Read More

One thousand walnut seeds and counting

Rest day! I feel much better, especially after a lie-in; the clocks went back an hour. Actually, they went back yesterday but our hosts decided to tell us today! At last we have had some time to wash our clothes (10 days into the expedition), and thanks to the sunny weather they were dry by evening. The family have been winnowing sunflower seeds and bagging them under the shade of the apple orchard. Read More

Lepyoshkas, smarties and an unfortunate powercut

We’ve been here one week today but time seems immeasurable: it feels like a lifetime ago that my companion, Peter Savill, and I left London Heathrow. We had another good day collecting walnuts; this time in a new area further East. Mid-morning, we’d stopped in a remote area for our usual snack of chai and lepyoshkas … Read More