LEON: For me the highlight was the Gobi Desert. I’d only had a little desert experience before this, and never on foot. It was quite intimidating setting off into the vast void in Winter, especially as it was right at the start of our journey when we were still fresh, and far from ‘battle-hardened.’ To cross the Mongolian Gobi took 13 days, during which we pulled a trailer (called Molly Brown) laden with all our food and water for the duration. It was tough, and it was cold, but it was also beautiful. The expanse of the desert was immense and humbling, and the sunsets were otherworldly. Arriving at the border town of Zamyn-Uud after nearly two weeks was a real highpoint, and one of my fondest memories of the whole trip.
ROB: For me, it was to be immersed in the experience of walking through, and seeing at ground-level, the incredible landscapes of China –deserts, mountains, valleys, forests – it is stunning. Alongside that, I loved getting to know more of the Chinese people, who showed such kindness towards us.
And what were the low points?
LEON: I found the seemingly endless winter became a real struggle. The thought of trying to hold a camera steady as fingers became increasingly painful and then numb was not a pleasant one.
ROB: Walking down a road (usually very slowly and painfully) which both Leon and I thought would be ideal for cycling!
Did you ever think you might die?
Neither of us ever felt that we were going to die during this adventure! The cold weather gave a few worrying nights when we slept fitfully and just couldn’t get warm – frostbite was always a slight fear.
The biggest danger though was always traffic– if anything was going to really cause us problems on this walk, it was likely to be Chinese driving.