Stuart Dalrymple and Richard Robb are taking part in MAD 2011 driving from Magadan to Ardnamurchan a Land Rover Defender 110. The duo has 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. Stuart Dalrymple's Land Rover was one of those featured in the Spring 2011 issue of LRO is Ros Woodham's report of a winter trip to Nordkapp in Norway.
Dalrymple and Robb will set off on 27 Augus by flying to Moscow before reaching Magadan in Eastern Russia, where they will collect the vehicles, which are being shipped in a container from Korea. They are being joined by six friends 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 on motorbikes for the 'Long Way Round' TV series. From there, they will head south before reaching the top of Lake Baikal (visited by the 1990 Camel Trophy) while battling blistering temperatures of 40 degrees.
The expedition will then make its way to Mongolia, before entering the Altai region in the heart of Asia. The last part of the trip includes driving through Eastern and Western Siberia and on to Latvia, visiting Riga before driving through Lithuania and Poland on the way back to the UK. Stuart, an engineer with Devol Engineering, is quoted as saying, '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.'
The expedition is 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. They will be carrying freeze-dried ready-made meals, although they will also buy and eat local produce as they travel. The well-prepared Land Rover is equipped with fridge, freezer, large water tanks and hot water system for showers. Stuart said, 'My Mum and Dad would have been worried if I had done this trip in my twenties but as I'm in my forties they're less concerned.'
Richard's son, Nick will be updating their daily progress on Facebook and all money raised will go to Ardgowan Hospice and the Alzheimer's Society.