Mad Expedition: Driving 3 Landrover Defenders from the Pacific coast of Northern Russia to the Atlantic coast of Scotland
A PAIR of Gourock adventurers are gearing up for a gruelling 40-day mission from Russia to Scotland.
Gourock friends Stuart Dalrymple and Richard Robb are taking part in MAD 2011 – from Magadan to Ardnamurchan by Land Rover Defender.
They have been planning the charity expedition for more than a year, and will drive 10,000 miles along dirt tracks and crumbling roads across the most desolate terrain in the world to raise money for Ardgowan Hospice and the Alzheimer’s Society.
The pair will set off on 27 August, flying to London then Moscow before reaching Magadan in Eastern Russia, where they will collect the vehicles, which are being shipped in from Korea.
They are being joined by six pals including two Russian speakers, and will travel halfway round the world in three Land Rover Defenders, from Magadan and along the Road of Bones to Yakutsk.
This section of the trip sees them follow in the footsteps of road trip stars Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, who travelled the route by motorbike in their Long Way Round TV series.
From there, they will head south before reaching the top of Lake Baikal while battling blistering temperatures of 40 degrees.
They will then make their way to Mongolia, before entering the stunning Altai region which is situated in the very centre of Asia.
The last part of the trip includes driving through Eastern and Western Siberia and on to Latvia, visiting Riga before setting off for Lithuania down through Poland and back to the UK.
Stuart, an engineer with Devol Engineering, said: «We’ll be travelling halfway around the world and will have to put our watches forward by 11 hours.
«We’re going through Eastern Russia, where many of the original gulag camps have been left.
«I’ve read up on the history, and 380,000 people died there.
«The road of bones is named after the 50,000 people who died making the road, possibly through the temperatures which drop to minus 60 in the winter. It is the coldest inhabited place in the world. They don’t send children to school unless it is above minus 40.»
Luckily the pair are travelling in the summer, but that brings its own problems. As well as battling temperatures above 100 degrees, the pair will be camping out under the stars – and hope to avoid the wild bears that live in the area
But they will be well-equipped with all sorts of medicines from antibiotics to saline bags.
The pair will be carrying freeze-dried ready-made meals, although they will also buy and eat local produce as they travel.
The Land Rover is equipped with fridge, freezer, large water tanks and hot water system for showers.
Stuart said: «My mum and dad said they would have been worried if I had done it in my 20s but in my 40s they’re less concerned.»
Richard’s son Nick will be updating their daily progress on Facebook. All money raised will go to Ardgowan Hospice and the Alzheimer’s Society.
For details, or to donate, visit www.madexpeditions.co.uk