November 11th 1943 – Munnar

Bill Girvan comes over and we three ride up to the grassland, having sent our kit on up by coolie to a boundary commission hut at Erivakdam. He has a rifle and Ham Wilkes a Jefferey’s .404 and off we go after Ibex. We sight a couple and I get in two shots with the .404, unsuccessfully, and we then follow them up. I come across them twice on a convex slope at about 15 feet but only see their heads before they are away. Later, after lunch, I get in a standing shot at another two at about 60 feet and miss. We spend the night in the hut about 8000′ up and Wilkes’s bearer lays on food and drink and a roaring log fire. My feet are a bit weary as all I have is a pair of thin stockings and my rubber sole sambhar boots which are almost in pieces and no use for climbing up and down the slopes of hills sort of sideways.

Even a bath with hot and cold water from a tap is provided. The outlook is bleak, bare grassland rising up in thousand foot hills and spurs, with small clumps of jungle in the cracks between. This morning we set off home in the mist, damn cold, it later clears and I get a good shot at a sitting ibex (Nilgiri wild goat) from about 120′ with Ham Wilkes as a sand bag. And I have to go and miss it. I am officially not allowed to shoot, due to various decisions made by the High Range Game Association, as they object to the military coming up and flashing guns about and demanding a shot. I was damn lucky to get one at all. Scrambling around at 8000′ has done me good, and it’s damn cold.


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