Kingsley Holgate adventurers embark on transcontinental expedition
Kingsley Holgate and the new Land Rover Defender embark on the biggest expedition yet
Adventurers Kingsley Holgate and team are about to depart on a year-long transcontinental expedition, which promises to be one of the team’s most challenging geographic and humanitarian journeys to date.
Setting off from Cape Agulhas at the end of October, the expedition will include a 30 000km journey through 30 countries as they make their way from the southern tip of Africa to the most northern point of Europe and then on to the mystical Isle of Anglesey in Wales.
This expedition will also be the first real-life expedition test for the new Defender, across two continents and a variety of extreme terrain.
“All adventurers will agree, it’s time to move again. In April last year, after months of preparation, we were about to set off on a humanitarian ‘journey of purpose’ from the UK to South Africa to showcase Land Rover’s new Defender ahead of its global launch. But then, along came Covid-19 and put all those plans on hold,” said Kingsley.
“So, optimistically, we decided to turn things around and add even more adventure to the route. This expedition will be the first ‘Hot Cape to Cold Cape’ journey in recent years from South Africa’s Cape Agulhas to Norway’s Nordkapp in the Arctic Circle, which is the most northern point of Europe that can be reached by vehicle. It will certainly be a world-first for the new Land Rover Defenders.
“That’s just one part of the expedition goal. We’re keeping the ‘journey of purpose’ theme and will conduct humanitarian work to assist 300 000 people in sub-Sahara Africa. Then, in celebration of Land Rover’s 75-year heritage, the expedition will end on the Isle of Anglesey in September 2022, where human occupation dates back to the time of the Druids, and where the first Land Rover design was sketched in the sands of Red Wharf Bay by engineer Maurice Wilks in 1947.”
The core Holgate team will be using two expedition-kitted P400 Land Rovers for the entire journey, which will be supplemented by the Defenders of team members along the way.
“We’re not setting out to break speed records on the ‘Hot Cape to Cold Cape’ section of the journey, so it’s not going to be a straight-line dash “We’re going to seek out demanding driving conditions and tough 4x4 terrain to reach iconic geographic points of interest and really put the technical capabilities of the new Defenders through their paces,” sais Ross Holgate, expedition leader.
“There are going to be some extreme challenges. The route through central and east Africa will be at the height of the ‘big rains’, so we’re expecting very wet and muddy conditions for days on end. Crossing the dry and hot Sahel and Nubian Desert through Sudan and into Egypt will also be very testing for both man and machine. There are also geo-political issues to face, especially in Ethiopia and the Sudan. And then, there is the route through Eastern Europe to Norway; that’s going to be an all new, incredibly diverse and stimulating experience for our Africa-based expedition members, whose last transcontinental journey was from Cape Town to Kathmandu in 2018.”
From Greece, the expedition will traverse eastern European countries and tackle exciting 4x4 terrain on its northerly journey through Russia and Finland to reach Nordkapp in Norway. The route then turns south through Sweden, Denmark and Western Europe, before finally crossing the Channel into the UK and ending in Wales.
As always, the team’s well-travelled traditional Zulu calabash has a prime spot in the Defenders and will collect seawater from where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, the expedition’s mid-point at Alexandria in Egypt on the Mediterranean, the Norwegian and Barents Seas at Nordkapp, and will be symbolically emptied at the expedition’s endpoint at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey, Wales.
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