Amazing adventure from Cornwall to Mongolia - in a beaten up second hand car
Three men from Cornwall have completed arguably the greatest challenge in the world which saw them travel more than 10,000 miles in a beat up second hand car.
Lieutenants Will Scown, Jon Ford and Chief Petty Officer Adam Marshall are back at RNAS Culdrose where they work as air traffic controllers, after travelling through some of the most hostile territory in the world.
The trio took part in the famous Mongol Rally, setting off from Helston in July and 10,000 miles, 27 days and 14 countries later crossing the finish line in their Nissan Micra at the Chenggis hotel in Ulaan Bator, Mongolia.
Despite taking one of the most arduous routes, through the Alps of France and Italy, the Transfagarasan in the Carpathians, even exploring the Southern reaches of Siberia, they managed an impressive 13th place out of more than 200 teams.
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Lt Scown said the beauty of some remote regions untouched by tourism, or even by humans at times, was breathtaking.
“The highlight of the rally was passing though the Mongolian boarder on a crisp sunny evening and taking in the incredible landscape of the Mongol steppe for the first time”, he said.
“Lakes and grassland dominate the scenery with snow capped mountains on every horizon.
“There are almost no signs of human life or activity – it really does take your breath away”.
CPO Marshall, the driving force behind the challenge, said it was an adventure of a lifetime.
“It truly was a fantastic experience and one we will never forget, we just drove a Nissan Micra from Cornwall to Mongolia.”
Despite that, the rally did take its toll and the Royal Navy trio said they were all physically and mentally drained by the end.
But the men paid tribute to their resilient Micra which ran the gauntlet of some of the worst roads imaginable.
Lt Scown said the sound of heavy impacts on the soft underbelly of the car became so routine that by the end they no longer flinched or grimaced as they had in Moldova when the properly surfaced roads first started to disappear.
He said all credit must go to the metal workshop at RNAS Culdrose who built them “one hell of a sump guard” which was “nothing more than scratched by the end - the envy of many a team.”
He added: “Despite expecting the worst we were all shocked at how poor the roads turned out to be.
“This was balanced out by awe and wonder at how well our little Micra suffered the conditions.
“It managed almost all the off-road driving with little fuss; our hand winch called upon just once to drag us out of some particularly deep, soft sand.”
The team succeeded in raising an amazing £8,500 for their chosen charities; Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charities, Operation Smile, and Heel and Toe Children’s charity, which provides free therapy to children with cerebral palsy and dyspraxia.