Adventure travel in Gilgit-Baltistan–Talk at the High Commission
A large number of tourists and adventure travellers assembled at the Pakistan
High Commission in London last evening. Author and filmmaker Mick Conefrey,
journalist Matthew Green and Wild Frontiers’ founder Jonny Bealby shared with
them the thrilling and fascinating tales of adventure travel and best kept
secrets from the land of mighty peaks of Pakistan. Their first hand experiences
supplemented with photo slides of the majestic mountains of Northern areas of
Pakistan mesmerized the audience.
The attendees comprised many British travellers who, in the past, had travelled
to those areas and the event provided them an opportunity to relive their
cherished memories. The event motivated many young people to visit Pakistan. It
may be noted that last year the British government relaxed the travel advisory
for its citizens for Gilgit-Balitistan which is likely to increase the number of
British tourists to this area.
The speakers apprised the audience that the start of the summer is the perfect
time to explore these pristine peaks of Gilgit-Balitistan. There are now regular
flights to Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan which has significantly boosted tourism
in the region.
Gilgit-Baltistan – the meeting point of the world’s four highest mountain ranges
– the Himalayas, the Karakorams, the Hindukush and the Pamirs–provides a
perfect setting for a memorable adventure travel destination. Through these
majestic mountain ranges, which have determined for centuries the destiny of the
South Asian region, snakes along the ancient Silk Route, navigated by the
legendary Venetian traveller Marco Polo. Aptly described as the Third Pole, the
Roof of the World and a Paradise on earth, Northern Areas of Pakistan offer a
unique confluence of history, landscape and biodiversity.
Deputy High Commissioner Dr Israr Hussain welcomed the guests and highlighted
tourism opportunities in Pakistan. Commercial Counsellor Ijlal Ahmed Khattak
moderated the event.
About the Speakers
Author and filmmaker Mick Conefrey
Mick Conefrey has been making documentaries for over 20 years, mainly for the
BBC but also for Channel Four, Five, and in the US, Discovery and the History
Channel. His particular interest in telling stories about exploration and
mountaineering is revealed by his latest book, The Ghosts of K2. It tells of
thrilling expedition attempts to climb this mighty mountain, the failures and
the triumphs, including the first ever ascent, bringing to life the hardships of
making it up ‘the impossible mountain’.
Journalist Matthew Green
Matthew spent five years reporting for Reuters in East Africa, writing his first
book The Wizard of the Nile which documents his search through Uganda’s War Zone
for Joseph Kony. He then moved to become South Asia Security Correspondent for
the FT, focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan, reporting out of Kabul and
Islamabad. Last year, he trekked over the remote Hispar Pass in the Karakoram
mountains, where he crossed the quasi-mythical plateau of deeply packed ice,
christened Snow Lake and over a perilously narrow ice bridge.
Wild Frontiers Founder Jonny Bealby
It was in Pakistan that Jonny was inspired to set up an adventure travel
company, making Pakistan both the brainchild of Wild Frontiers and its first
ever destination. He has been back well over 20 times since then, with close
friendships established in northern Pakistan. In his opinion, there is no better
adventure travel destination. From the wide open space and freedom felt on the
Shandur Pass, where the mountains of the Hindu Kush transform into the steppes
of Central Asia to the magical landscapes in and around the Hunza Valley,
surrounded everywhere with magnificent peaks. Jonny wrote For A Pagan Song about
travelling across remote Pakistan (and India and Afghanistan), following in the
footsteps of his two heroes from literature, Kipling and Dravot.