One steppe at a time
An intrepid group of travellers, including a Surrey graduate, will endure an epic 10,000-mile road trip to Mongolia to raise money for three charities close to their hearts.
Robert Hough, who graduated in Chemistry in 2013, and three friends will be driving a fire engine called Brunhilde over mountains, across deserts and through rivers for up to six weeks in the annual Mongolia Charity Rally
Starting in Brussels on 9 July and ending in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, the team, named Gobi-Wan Khan-Obi, can take any route it likes and is completely unsupported – there is no emergency back-up, helpline or tour guide, just dirt, dust and potentially difficult border guards.
The five have chosen three charities to benefit from their adventure: Cool Earth (which works with indigenous people to stop destruction of the rainforest), the National Autistic Society (which supports adults with autism and Asperger’s syndromes and their families) and Beat (which supports sufferers of eating disorders and their families).
In addition, a minimum of £1,000 goes towards the rally’s chosen charity Go Help which works with local communities in Central Asia to improve their access to education and healthcare services.
Robert said: “The reason behind our madness is to give something back to charities that have touched our lives and provided much-needed support.
“We expect the journey to be tough; it requires the navigation of areas that are so remote that there aren’t even ‘locals’, just you, your car and your team-mates. Breakdowns are inevitable and all you can do is bring out the hammers in the hope that knocking and kicking the bus will get it back on the road.
“However, what we’re really worried about it not being able to understand the food we’re buying! I think that will result in some interesting menu choices.”
Robert will be travelling with Tori Smith, Andrew Jordan and Jules Kassman in a bright orange former German fire engine that they towed back to the UK and which has had extensive work to make it rally ready.
Robert added: “She’s 25 years old, can’t go faster than 50mph, has no shock absorbers, no power steering and has to take us over mountain ranges, deserts and washboard gravel in under six weeks. What could go wrong?”and she has to take us over mountain ranges, desserts and washboard gravel in under 6 weeks.