Friday, 12 August 2011

Yak to the future!

On Thursday the 11th of August we all handed our ambulances over to the Go Help staff in Ulaan Baatar. I guess this officially ends our Mongolian adventure. After months of planning, weeks of long days driving, short nights and unexpected problems I don’t think that anyone on the teams has realised the full extent of their achievement. Personally, I don’t think it will hit me until I’m back at work in London. One thing is clear though, it has been a fantastic experience!

Sorting out 5 weeks of mess and junk before handing the vehicles over.

Months ago, when we were planning the trip, there were doubts if any of the ambulances would actually get here. There were plenty of people that thought we would never make it to Dover, and we also thought that getting 4 out of the 6 ambulances here would be a good result! To get all 6 here is an amazing result, especially considering some of the border/paperwork problems that we ran into.

The original team Kasotiri in London just before we left. Left to right: Tim (me!), Richard C, Sophie and Katie.
Team Kasotiri as we arrived in Ulaan Baatar. Left to Right: Me, Alice, Sophie and Katie. Richard C really wanted to see Kazakhstan so he swopped places with Alice in team Breakfast.

These ambulances were designed to be used on the good roads of London where the greatest challenge is a speed bump. They have also had a hard life, being driven to the limits of their capabilities saving lives in London for the last 11 years. Although nearly every vehicle had a problem along the way there was nothing that the team members (and local garages!) weren’t able to fix. The reliability of my (team Kasotiri) vehicle did cause me some stress. As we approached Mongolia I simply could not believe that we hadn’t had a serious mechanical failure due to the terrible roads and constant driving. The stress came from expecting one at any minute, luckily for us it never came!

Making a drwing of our exploits for Go Help

The ambulances now belong to charity Go Help who will find new life saving roles for them in Mongolia; I hope they do our exploits justice. After 5 weeks on the road and living largely in the back of the vehicles some team members have built up a bond with their ambulances. I was very sad to say goodbye to the “Mongolian Monster”, or “Mongmo” as she’d become known. On the plus side Go Help’s mechanic seemed very impressed and immediately started taking bits off to see how they worked! I’m really looking forward to an update on how they’re doing in a few months.

Sophie says goodbye to Mongmo

All of the team members are now gradually dispersing, either heading home or on to further travels so we met up for one last evening together. We partied until the early hours at Strings, an American themed nightclub with a Filipino house band that played the Cranberries. Mongolia is a very random place…


  1. Tim and all the team members. Absolutely fantastic to hear that you have all made it there safely and with all the vehicles in one piece. What a great trip and I can't wait to hear more about it and see see more of your photos. Have you thought of putting it all together in a photo book? Great news and see you back in London for a beer or two soon. Graham

  2. Well done guys. It gave me a wry smile to read this as it reminded me of being taken to Great Ormond Street with my daughter when she was 2 months premature for a heart op. The Ambulance was in such poor shape that it took three attempts to start and the crew were concerned that the vibrations from the engine would harm the children they had to transport. Ours nearly didn't make it across London and you took six all the way across to Mongolia. Well done :)

  3. Having nightmares with my new place, water leaking all over the kitchen floor from the antiquated lead pipes that have burst TWICE in the last two days - this has made me forget all that, bought a big smile to my face and made my week :) Congratulations to all and thanks for keeping this witty blog, that has kept us up to date with your adventures. Looking forward to hearing all about it over a pint when you get back... Jonathan.

  4. Hi Tim

    While planning my own challenge, very similar to yours, i stumbled across your blog. I was hoping you might be willing to let me pick your brains a little? Do you have an email address I could mail you on? Nothing like consulting an expert!
    It looks like your drive was amazing!

    thanks very much

  5. Hi Alex,

    Nice to hear from you and thanks for the compliment! Feel free to give me an e-mail if you want some more details or a chat about your project.

    Cheers Tim