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You are in: Norfolk » Features

09 September 2004 1419 BST
Gobi desert adventure
Picture: Peter Ash on the buggy
Peter Ash on the buggy
Two men from Norfolk are set to cross more than six hundred miles of desert in buggies pulled by kites, in temperatures of up to 104 deg F (40C).

INTERNET LINKS
Kite zone website
Lonely Planet: Gobi desert

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SEE ALSO
Kite buggies bid to cross desert
FACT FILE
bullet point. The Gobi desert is part of China and Mongolia.
bullet point.   Temperatures range from 45 deg Cin summer to -40 deg C in winter.
bullet point.   The Gobi desert is the source of some of the greatest fossil finds in history including dinosaur eggs.
bullet point.   Unlike the sandy Sahara, the Gobi is comprised mainly of barren expanses of gravel plains and rocky outcrops
bullet point.   The desert and the surrounding regions sustain many animals, including black-tailed gazelles, marbled polecats, and greater plovers and are occasionally visited by snow leopards, brown bears, and wolves.
bullet point.   Although sparsely inhabited, nomadic Mongolian shepherds criss-cross the Gobi, moving from Altanbulag in Mongolia to Beijing in China.
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Crossing the Gobi desert is no easy feat, but two men from Norfolk are planning to travel 625 miles of Mongolia's harsh desert using wind-powered buggies.

Kieron Bradley and Peter Ash who are both from Norwich, came up with the idea after watching a travel documentary on the area of Gobi.

The kite buggies have a top speed of 90mph, but the men will travel at about 30mph.

Picture: Kieron on his buggy
Kieron tests his buggy

The expedition will take place in September when temperatures are expected to reach 104 deg F during the day.

Kieron and Peter must wear helmets and body armour in case they are thrown out onto the jagged terrain.

The trip will start in the Altay region of Mongolia and finish in the Erdenaalai region.

They admit it will be hard work but said they aim to have plenty of fun as well. BBC Radio Norfolk's Chris Goreham spoke to them about their planned adventure.

Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

Life's a challenge. You can sit around in your comfort zone for the rest of your life or you can go out and actually live it!

Where did the idea to cross the Gobi desert on kite buggies come from?

When I was doing some buggy tests on a beach I was thinking we need a bigger beach and Kieron suggested we should do it in the desert. The Gobi desert came up in the conversation and it all snowballed from there really.

Can you tell us more about the buggies?

Picture: sunset in the Gobi desert
Sunset in the Gobi desert

We use the buggies in Norfolk - it's a very large sport and they're also used internationally. It's an up and coming sport.

They're three wheeled buggies with a kite and use windpower. They're not as reliable as you'd always like them to be.

I looked at the buggies and thought we could improve them, so I basically adapted them. They're right at the top end of quality standard wise.

Its not the easiest thing in the world to do. Don't forget the duration we've got to do - it's a long eight hours in a buggy. I think we'll have fun - it'll be rigorous though!

You only have to drop the kite and you'll rip it to shreds, because it's not sand that we'll be on - it's jagged rocks.

What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of the expedition?

Everyone getting along! We've got language barriers with some of the drivers and we have to do this as a team effort. After a couple of weeks it'll be tiring and you're going to make mistakes.

I think tempers will be frayed and I think that the heat is also going to be a major thing and yearning to take a drink all the time. We've got myself, Brian, two other people, Brian Cunningham and his wife Christine. We've also got a driver, a translator and a cook.

How much equipment will you be taking?

It's really down to the logistics of what we need. We are governed by the support vehicle. We're looking at 4-5 cubic metres in total.

Picture: camels in the Gobi desert
Camels are the usual form of transport

We won't take things because we think it would be a fun idea to have on the trip - we'll only take things that are really necessary.

Is it true that you'll be passing a dinosaur graveyard on your journey?

Yes that's true - it should be quite good fun. It's just as we hit the second leg of the tour. We're going to stop there for a little while to see what's going on.

Apparently the fossils are on the surface because of the wind, so it should be quite an eye-opener.

When are you planning to go?

We're hoping to leave on 28 August. September is the only time we can do it in terms of the weather.

If we go the month before, it's too hot and after September, it gets so cold it snows. In September it will still be boiling hot, but it will be cold at night. It goes from 40 deg C in the day to -5 deg C at night.

Peter and Kieron will be providing regular updates on their training for their adventure and will be writing a diary of their experiences for the BBC Norfolk website.

Read the latest diary entry from the lads on their expedition in Gobi »

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