Sec. iv] THROUGH THE HILLS OF MAKRAN 97
groves of date-palms were to be seen along the left bank of the river up to where it bends to the south. With the conspicuous peak of Aband (5,200 feet) rising in the north, the landscape was the most pleasing we had so far met in Persian Makran.
From Gwarmabad, where we camped near some date-palms fed by a small spring, a march of some 25 miles, mainly westwards, brought us to the Geh river and the comparatively large oasis of the same name which it irrigates. Some groves of wild-growing kahûr trees prized for their hard wood, and a few springs in rocky hollows were passed before reaching the wide stony plateau from which the Kabjur Kaur, a torrent bed joining the Kajû river, gathers its drainage. Rugged rock walls confine the channel as the stream passes south through the fantastically serrated Shalmar hill chain. Where the watershed towards the drainage of the Geh river is crossed the track passes under a very steep rocky pinnacle known as Drangi. Legend tells of a hunter who was raised to its inaccessible needle-like peak by a wicked fairy, and unable to descend threw himself down the precipice and was killed. The track leading down from the watershed took us first past the fine spring of Tahar, which waters a large date-palm grove, and then across the wide torrent bed of the Zahâk-kaur to Pir Pishak, the easternmost of the small villages which together form the oasis of Geh. After crossing the cultivated plateau above the junction of this bed with that of the Gungh Kaur to the west, we pitched camp near the village of Tumpi to the north of the Geh chief's fort.
Geh, with its ample cultivated ground watered by a series of ganâts, appears at one time to have been the chief place in Persian Makran. It lies at the point where several convenient routes leading from the Bampûr basin to the coast are crossed by a lateral line of communication connecting Bashakard in the west through Qasrqand, Pishin, and Mand with Kéj, the chief valley in British Makran. This position is likely to have made Geh a place of some importance at all times, and even now its chief, Sirdar Husain Khan, is recognized as the head of the Balüch population in Persian Makran. But tribal disturbances following the death of his father, who up to 1916 had remained a practically independent ruler, have greatly reduced the prosperity of Geh, and the whole oasis, apart from outlying hamlets, can now count scarcely more than 500 homesteads, and those merely mat-huts.
The fort of the Geh Sirdars rising on a natural ridge of clay and conglomerate towards the southern edge of the plateau looked imposing with its high walls ( Fig. so) . But neither in its dilapidated interior nor on the ground outside was any evidence of antiquity to be seen. Nor did I find any at the smaller ruined fort, known as K61-gala, built on a lower ridge close to the south, and said to