1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

Goutsa Bungalow, 12,650 ft. 12 miles.

see photographs below

We started off at 10 A.M. as there was only a short march, and a new lot of transport animals to load up. Some baggage was sent off yesterday, and all told for both days we have 145 animals (ponies and mules) including riding ponies. In addition there are a few coolies for awkward or delicate loads such as the wireless charging engine weighing 120 Ibs. which the coolies don't seem to fancy much.

After an hour and a half's march alongside a raging cataract of a stream and up a gorge bounded by precipitous jungle and scrub covered hills rising to bare rock peaks, we passed a spur nearly blocking the valley and came to the remarkable plain of Lingma Thang, a couple of miles long and half a mile broad absolutely level where the stream meandered gently, having the aspect of a perfect dry fly trout stream. But alas only small local snow trout live here, and they would not look at Gould's Fly.

This plain must have been of lacustrine origin and possibly the spur now nearly blocking the gorge was the result of some great landslide. There is now perched on top of this spur the quite imposing Gompa of Donka.

We met on the way a party of three school masters (2 British and 1 Indian) from the new Public School at Dehra Dun and an I. C. S. Indian who have *done a walking tour to Gyantse. Martin the second master at Dehra Dun lunched with us on the plain, the other three having gone ahead. A couple of miles further on we passed quite a remarkable collection of buildings in one of which was a big water wheel, this used to be the Tibetan Government mint, where paper was made, bank notes printed, and also coins struck. It is now out of use; one understands that the Tibetan Government prefer their mint nearer at hand in Lhasa where they can keep an eye on it.

We marched on up the steep gorge, over a horrid cobbled track making very uneven going for the ponies, to Goutsa Bungalow at 12,650 feet elevation. It had drizzled a little at times after quite a sunny morning, but we had only been in a quarter of an hour when it came on to rain hard.

The military aspect of an advance up this Goutsa gorge in face of opposition would present. a formidable problem, at all events against an enemy with the tactical skill of the N. W. Frontier. In the past however the Tibetans have not shown the ability to make real use of natural obstacles nor any ability to manoeuvre. This gorge presents the difficulties of scrub and jungle giving unlimited cover, and of features too steep and high to afford means of any easy flank protection to a marching column or column of transport. The slopes and cliffs soar up some 3,000 or 4,000 feet above the valley floor with no or few intermediate features, and any there are look almost inaccessible.

Author: Philip Neame [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]

Page Reference: Pt II p.1




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