Two friends have started a challenge of a lifetime as they aim to drive 10,000 miles in a 13-year-old Nissan Micra.
Oliver Craig, of Morpeth, wanted to do something on an epic scale this summer and so he signed up to take part in the Mongol Rally.
Organisers The Adventurists (its ethos is to ‘make the world less boring’) describe it as the greatest motoring adventure on the planet as it involves travelling from England to Mongolia in a small and cheap car.
The 22-year-old and fellow University of Hull student William Hardie, from Nottingham, joined hundreds of people at Goodwood Circuit in Sussex for the beginning of the challenge on Sunday. They then drove to Dover to get a ferry to mainland Europe.
It was originally a team of three, but Matt Spencer had to pull out on Saturday due to unforeseen circumstances.
The duo are also fund-raising for two charities. The target time from the start to the finish point is about six weeks.
Before they set off, Oliver said: “Last autumn, I decided that I wanted to do something big and exciting in the summer of 2015 and after a conversation with a friend who had already agreed to do this year’s Mongol Rally, I did some research into the challenge.
“It was ideal for me because you get to go through many different countries and the price is reasonable as you are travelling by car. I signed up just before Christmas and Will came on board in the middle of January.
“I can’t wait to get started. It should be a great adventure and I will learn a lot about myself over the next six weeks.
“This type of journey means we will get to properly experience what other countries have to offer. I’m particularly excited about going to Iran because you hear quite a lot that it’s a big bad country, but I have heard a lot of good things from people who have been there.
“We chose a (1.0-litre) Nissan Micra because they have really reliable engines.
“We’re grateful to many people for their donations and support, including Steve Hall and James Holcombe in Coopies Lane for teaching us some mechanical basics and fitting parts and equipment in our car respectively.”
If everything goes according to plan, the duo will go through Belgium, Holland and Germany before cutting through the heart of Europe towards the Balkans and eventually Greece and Turkey.
Then it will be the Middle East and into central Asia to Mongolia before reaching the finish just over the border in Ulan Ude, Russia.
William said: “I’m looking forward to interacting with people in different parts of the world and doing something daring that will take me out of my comfort zone.”
They are raising money for Cool Earth, The Adventurists’ chosen charity, and mental health charity Mind.
Oliver said: “Mental health covers a big range of things that will affect many people at some point in their life, such as anxiety and depression. We fully support the great work that Mind does to support people and change perceptions.”
For more information, visit www.mindmatter.org.uk and to make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/mind-matter