One Friday night many moons ago, after several pints of the finest ale, a mad plan was hatched. It involved jumping into a tin bucket of a car and driving to the other side of the planet. That’s right, we decided to take part in … The Mongol Rally!
We set off on the ultimate road trip back in July 2006 from Dunfermline in Scotland and planned to arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a month or so later – did we make it? Read on to find out and see what all the fuss was about.
In 2001 two gentlemen, Mr Tom and Mr Joolz, found themselves staring in awe at their Fiat 126 that they’d recently purchased in a rather confusing transaction in north Prague.
Wondering what they should do with it they came up with the only sensible plan, to drive to the most ridiculous place they could think of. “After all,” they said, “if you stand far enough away and ignore things like perspective, it looks just like a four wheel drive”.
Mongolia seemed fit for the job, and so on a mild April evening with minimal preparations, no changes of clothes, a packet of cheap cigars and a hunting knife, they set forth. Although they didn’t quite reach Mongolia because of visa and border trouble they enjoyed themselves so much that they swore to return to try again.
And so 3 years later 6 intrepid teams set forth on the very first Mongol Rally.
(extract from the original Mongol Rally website)
… that’s how the organisers describe it. Along with “The mother of all adventures”, “The world’s most extreme car challenge” and “The ultimate driving experience”.
And not without good reason, this is the Mongol Rally after all, a ten thousand mile dash across ¼ of the earths surface, and in a tin can of a car that overheats in rush hour traffic.
And with the only rule being to do with the size of the cars engine (it must be under 1 litre), we were free to sneak, bribe, cheat, connive and generally out-wit our way across Europe and Asia.
The Mongol Rally was destined for Mongolia of course, more specifically Ulaanbaatar, via some of the remotest and most untravelled parts of the world. Our 4 week journey set off at the end of July 2006 and here we chart our progress.
This wasn’t a competition or a race, merely a journey … albeit a long one, and all in the aid of charity. All money raised went towards some fantastic causes.
So with no set route and no support team it was just us, our car and the seat of our pants.
19 countries, 2 deserts, 5 mountain ranges
|1) Scotland,||2) England,||3) France,|
|4) Belgium,||5) Luxembourg,||6) Germany,|
|7) Czech Republic,||8) Slovakia,||9) Hungary,|
|10) Romania,||11) Bulgaria,||12) Turkey,|
|13) Iran,||14) Turkmenistan,||15) Uzbekistan,|
|16) Kyrgyzstan,||17) Kazakhstan,||18) Russia,|
Are We Really Doing This?
Whayhay ... at last, after several months waiting and two false starts we've finally signed up for this year's Mongol Rally. It should have opened for signup over a week ago but each time they delayed it at the last…
Butterflies & Jerry Cans
We've still not started looking for a car yet ... and with only 14 weeks to go it's now starting to hit home what we're doing. Every time I think about it I feel like I've swallowed a swarm of…
The Reality of Travel
Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis, Cholera, Diphtheria, have I missed any? Oh, Tick-borne encephalitis (Adam calls this one Tick Borne Enchiladas :-)), Japanese B, Rabies ... and they're the ones you can get jabs for. I hate to think what else is…
Cooking on Vodka
We've been really busy over the last few weeks. Hunting for a car, jabs from the doctor, travel insurance, health insurance cards, international driving permits, it's amazing how much time all these little things take - and the biggie is…
So with 8 and a bit weeks to go we finally have a car. Our chariot of choice is a 15 year old Ford Fiesta Popular aka "the banger", which we picked up from Newcastle on Sunday. It's a rather…
Black paint turned out to be quite expensive, so we settled for a rather subtle shade of red, with a white stripe. We are getting some very strange looks as we drive down the road now, I can't quite imagine…
Another fool joins the team
Then there were three ... well ok, 2 and a half. Our mate, Brett, has decided to join us for the first leg of the journey, he'll be jumping out at some point though, probably Bratislava. Brett was the swine…
Well we've made it back from Land's End safe and sound. We set off on Friday evening and made it to the lake district for about 10pm, I'm sure we could have done it a lot quicker but we took…
HMS Caledonia Summer Fair
A BIG thank you goes out to everyone who came down to see us at the HMS Caledonia summer fair today, it was a great success despite the weather. We had loads of fun, and more importantly, raised lots of…
The Mongolian Mad House
In an attempt to get organised for the big off next Friday, our house is upside down. Every nook and cranny has some rally related item crammed into it. Everywhere I look there's rally stuff, everything I touch is rally…
We’ve Got A Squeak
It's mad panic at the moment - trying to get everything ready for the off in 33 hours time - eeeek. We've just spent hours trying to get everything into the car boot. We're obviously trying to take too much,…
Let the Madness Begin
So after many many months of talking we are finally on our way 🙂 Keep following for updates from the road. Next stop Ulaanbaatar! (well, London actually, but you get the gist).
Home to Bratislava
After a long & hot drive down we arrived in London around 6pm and headed off to the pre-rally shindig. The number of cars at Hyde Park the next day was awesome. We eventually tracked down our passports, but found…
Bulgarian Police Car
It was late, almost midnight-late, and we'd had a long day on the road, through Romania, across a rather bizarre border into Bulgaria and pushed on, well past our bedtime. Earlier in the day we'd witness the sneaky local police,…
Bratislava to Istanbul
Hello from Istanbul. We've spent the last few days on the road. Now in country number 12 with 2,500 miles under our belt. We left Brett in Bratislava on Tuesday (he should be home now) and then hit the road…
The Heads of Mount Nemrut
Mount Nemrut is a 2,000 meter peak in southern Turkey and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our curiosity was peaked by the huge statue heads that lay scattered around the summit encircling what is thought to be a royal tomb dating…
Hello from Eastern Turkey, we're in Dogubayazit near the Iranian border at the moment, a large dusty town not worth stopping in except for internet access - but with a Turkish keyboard - arrrrgg. It's been a bit of a…
A Dogubayazit Haircut
Today I went to a genuine Turkish barbers. I know it was genuine because it was actually in Turkey, in the far east of the country, in a little town called Dogubayazit. Although it's close to the Iranian border and…
Stuck in Tehran
We're having a few problems with our car. We crossed into Iran on Monday and can't get a mobile signal even though Vodafone said we would 😡 so no mobile updates for the time being. We arrived in Tehran last…
Just got the car back from the garage - the old starter motor was dead beyond repair, but they worked a small miracle and found us another one - it now starts better than it ever did. It's still running…
On The Road Again
We were back on the road again yesterday - it felt good. Got our transit visas from the Turkmen. embassy and headed for the Caspian Sea. We got pulled over by the cops for overtaking where I shouldn't have —…
The Last Few Days
First internet caf. for a wee while and sooo much has happened it’s hard to remember. Arriving in Turkmenistan was totally crazy, I thought the Romania/Bulgaria border was mad - but this was ... well ... indescribable (although I will…
Back Of Beyond
Well, we made it to Mongolia yesterday 🙂 and since then the going's been tough. The roads ... if that's what you can call them ... are more like dirt tracks, in fact they are dirt tracks. We're making 20mph…
In to Ulaanbaatar
So after 7 time zones, 8 and a half flat tyres and 53 midgy bites we've finally arrived in UB :-)) Boy it's been a tough ride the last few days - got here late last night - lots to…
Out of Ulaanbaatar
Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad - that's the best way to describe Mongolia. It's harder to get out of UB than it was to get in - but after a lot of leg work we've managed to find flights home…
So What Happened In Mongolia?
Well we are now sitting in Moscow airport, waiting for our connecting flight to Heathrow. Our adventure is almost over 🙁 Mongolia was amazing but very, very, hard work. As we approached the Russian / Mongolian border at Tashanta last…
Our Final Mileage
A lot of people have been asking how many miles we covered, and I'm sure everyone who entered our Guess The Final Mileage competition is wondering the same. We left Dunfermline on the morning of 21st July and arrived in…
With updates from the road, the blog has a blow-by-blow breakdown of our journey as it happened.
We raised over £3000 for two great charities; Send a Cow and the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.
The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation help provide medical treatment, advice and education for Mongolian street children and children from families living in extreme poverty. The Foundation aim to protect those children at risk of economic and sexual exploitation.
Reg. Charity Number 1007484
Visit the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation website
Send a Cow is a Christian charity that enables poor farmers in Africa to become self-reliant by providing them with livestock, training and advice. This awesome, if amusingly named, charity works with some of the most vulnerable groups in Africa, including children orphaned by war, families affected by AIDS, and the disabled.
Reg. Charity Number 299717
Visit the Send A Cow website or Lessons from Africa
Every last penny we raised for charity went to charity. We paid all of our own expenses … which was a small fortune, what with the entry fee, visas, petrol, food, return flight, etc. but that was our problem. And at the end of the journey our car and most of the equipment in it was also donated.
Other 2006 Mongol Rally Teams
We are joined by a plethora of other teams, namely:
Skoda Power Turbo Racing Team, Team Wreck Racing (TWR), GB Yak Polo, Operation Panda, the scallywags, Team Oswestry, Bonkers Bovine, Lucky Force 10, The Desert Dashers,YAKATAK Blue, MongolRallyMadness, Daf Get Dead, Squires on Safari, Flappo Brothers, The Mongol Frauds, Hillbilly Hotrod, TBC, Team Marco Polo, Team Pink Panda, The Adventure Capitalists, Team Twister, marialloyd, LS6 Mongols, The Monkeytank, Goldy Looking Micra, THE SPECIALS, Team Zitroen, Team MongoBongo, The Adventures of Dog and Goose, Mongolian Taxi Service, clwb mongol, Mongol Mystery Machine, Dave and Marc-O-Polo, Team Honey Trumpet, team smokey bear, Team Hongolia, DR Gonzo’s Dirt Chamber, Mini Adventure (The B Team), Lost in the Steppes Six, Shotgun, Round the World in 80 Parts, Slikroute, Team RadaR, Tenby Mongols, MarcosPolo, Pedal Faster, Grinchmobile, YAKATAK Green, ccc, SCENIC PANDAS, Mongol Dragons, Team MongoloPolo, Team Snailracer, Team Hairy Frog, Team Mongol Shoebox, GenghisJones, Team Blue-tac and super-glue, dead by dover, Send A Rhino, The Sardinian Team, Team Pathfinder, Boulder Mobile, Self Preservation Society – Red, The Mongol Minis – White, Team Newyorkistan, The Sandeaters, Mrs Tigglywinks, The Cannonball Hun, Drivers of Rohan, Self preservation society – White, Team Desert Penguins, Genghis Carnage, cunningham, Chris and Beth, Dick and Snake, The Mongol Minis – Blue, MongolMary, Fuel?, Brokeback Mongolia, Ash_Morph, team monkey, Roadrunners, qww, Team Jager, GOING GOING GONGOLIA, ROGUE SQUADRON, Team Gooby, Black and Blue, Team Never Get There, The Beast, Steyr Push It, Lil’ Larry, Directionless, Rob+Imogen, Nomad 1, The Fellowship of the Mongolian Ring, Team Beadles Claw, a couple of two toed sloths, The Self Preservation Society – Blue, Pandarama, Team Mongolian Falcon, Rogue Squadron 2, Penguin Power, Mini Adventure (The A Team), Ramrod, Team Honky, Team F1 NSPCC, Aces Over Mongolia, Badgers On Crack, Dunno yet, Brothers in Arms, Syrena Squad, Lost And Hungry, Mission Mongolia, Couple-Of-Wrinklies, Alan Packer, Alan Paca, Team Optimus Prime, RustBox.360, Stray Dogs, ROGUE TELEPATH, Next stop mongolia, The Team With No Name, The Mongol Minis – Red, umbongolia, MONGOLIAN MICRA MASSIVE, Smithers and The Goon, biftech corp racing, QuidGrid, General Zod, Mongol Mocha, Rogue Squadron 3, Adventures of Harold and Moush, Dr Wankenstein, The TechNomads, Tech Bedouin, The Winchester, Microlia, The Nefarious Nomads, The Gobi Brothers, Mongol Madness, The Rad Pack, Lucas Speed Limit, Norris, He Who Dares, The Last and The Ludicrous, The Empire Strikes Back, Mcginn Trotter, im with stupid, Team Cunning Plan, Zhopa, ianwhit/stevetheo, The Smith Monkey Madness, Mongol Blues, The Flying Irishmen, happiness is a warm hun, team hog, JC & Lateral Dave go East, French Touch, Go Mongol, Mark & Rob, impsagogo, LeAlabardeMongole, Blow Horn deeply at night please, Totally out of our depth, Le Scimitarre Mongole, Holmes Hunters, DR K & the Magic Machine Car Team, Num Num Parteners, Mongolian Barbecue, PugnaciousF, THE JAMON IBERICOS, Bravo5, Cobra 11, Smokin Dragon, spanish bullfighters, Bongorocks, Cannon Balls, Turbo Terrific, mongolost, IT-738920, Dude Wheres My Camel, We dont know the Mighty Emporer or his fearsome general, Team sellars, Gededin Cider, TullGos, CANTAB CHINA RACING, See you in a bar in Ulaan Baatar, Celtic Chancers, Crazy Twin, Bugger Bognor, The Mongolian Mini Malarkey, Mongolian Barbeque, Fiesta Mongolia, Island Monkeys, Chris and Dave, Up The Proverbial Creek
Our journey was carbon neutral