The Journey Continues

The Journey Continues

04 Jul

By Clarissa Hearn

We’re catching up with adventure bloggers Ed Holford-Walker and John Horsfall. They popped into Micheldever Tyres - Team Protyre back in April to get the most vital piece of kit for their journey…some new tyres! The teams choice in tyres was vital due to remote locations and varied terrains that they would be travelling on. Using Protyre’s extensive knowledge of tyres, we were able to research and identify a set of the perfect on and off road tyres for the job, the General Tire - Grabber AT3

Read the story here

Setting off in April, the team are now at the Afghanistan border.

Read part 1 here  Read part 2 here   Read part 3 here
 
To the pair of adventurers delight their Turkmenistan visa had been granted and they headed straight for the border. One of the projects of the former president Saparmurat Niyazov was a ski resort in the Turkmenistan mountain with no snow! So no skiing here I think.

Arriving in Ashgabat in Central Asia, John and Ed were surprised to be the only car on a 6 lane highway. The region doesn’t get many tourists.

‘The place is bizarre to say the least, appearing polished and poised, but slightly pretend on closer inspection. We walked through the main park and the only people there were army guards, garden workers and us! I was made to delete nearly all my photos on my camera by an army guard after taking a picture of a gold roof palace building’

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Heading out of Ashgabat and through the ancient city of Merv, once the biggest city in the world, the road ahead was vast desert. With no AC in the car the sweltering temperature began to make the travelling uncomfortable.
To break up the afternoon they went in search of an ancient ruin called Margush, but after asking the locals where to go and being sent in all directions for hours they gave up.

After six hours at the Uzbekistan border the pair arrived in Burkara to see the local Silk and Spice Festival in full swing. Along the way they had picked up fellow traveller and adventure cyclist @ronandevlin who was exhausted from cycling through the desert, so gave him the short lift to the city.

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Leaving Burkara and heading back out into the desert the next stop on the trip was Tajikistan.

'We will be back to Uzbekistan later on in the trip to explore this country further, but the snow is melting in the mountains and our hope is to [be] able to catch the last of it'

Being joined by another traveller Ling from Malaysia the team camped in the desert overnight before arriving in Tajikistan.

The Dushanbe flagpole here (pictured below) was built to be the tallest in the world. The title though was only held for two years before Saudi Arabia took it.

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Stopping here for a few days as Ed had come down with mild food poisoning the car underwent some servicing to fix a few faulty elements.

Joined again by another travelling explorer, Serge the pair were thrilled to know he spoke Russian which would be helpful throughout the region.

'We are heading onto the Pamir Highway with driving passes as high as Mt Blanc. However, looking at the mountains not sure high-altitude skiing will be successful, may have to adapt our 'skiing' technique for this country'

On day 41 John and Ed got their first glimpse of Afghanistan. Just a single river divides the countries of Tajikistan and Afghanistan with tight security on the Tajikistan boarder. Heading towards the Wakhan Corridor the view got progressively more impressive and having a Russian translator proved handy chatting to the locals.

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Heading deeper into the Pamir, following the river, the road continued to climb and snow-capped mountains became more and more frequent. In the evening whilst struggling to find a camping ground the pair went exploring up a dirt track until they reached a small settlement. Self-contained and hidden away from the rest of the civilisation they were told they needed to ask permission from the mayor to camp. A small child jumped into the car the guide them to the house where they were warmly greeted and invited in for tea.

‘Food is bought out, we insist we don’t need anything, but it just keeps coming, minutes there turn to hours and the next thing you know, they are setting up a bed for you in their living room. What an amazing place Tajikistan is turning out to be’

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(Ed pictured with the mayor and two family members)


Leaving their new friends in the village behind, the pair travelled onwards with the intention of hiking some of the snowy mountains now scattered before them. July 1st marked Ed’s birthday so they hiked up a mountain for lunch  to take in views across the valley. What a way to celebrate a birthday, snacking at 5000 metres!
  
You can follow their progress on www.johnhorsfall.org or via social media on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube
 

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