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Astrakhan Oblast: Freezing Volga, Saiga, Caucasus meet steppe (27/1/06)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) After a send off from the local school in Mirni on the edge of Astrakhan I set off south along the Volga

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Enter Kalmikia: nomads in Europe (6/2/06)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) When in the steppe I stand alone With far horizons clear to view, Ambrosia on the breezes blown And skies above me crystal blue, I sense my own true human height And in eternity ...

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The Long Riders’ Guild seeks international investigation into floor mat being sold as a saddle pad

The Long Riders’ Guild, the world’s first international association of equestrian explorers, has issued a plea to legal authorities on three continents to investigate how a 3M corporation product, originally designed as an abrasive floor mat, is being resold as a saddle pad to unsuspecting horse ...

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Kalmikia to Kuban

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) As we rose in a trot, the wind grew stronger, filling the air with a fine dust and numbing our faces

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Astrakhan: Where steppe and sedentary lives mingle, runaway horses, city ride (25/1/06))

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) Flowing from Mother Russia the enigmatic Volga River passes through the heart of Cossack, Tartar and Kazak country on the southern steppe eventually reaching the Caspian Sea

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Tragedy Strikes! 02/04/06

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) Tim called me on the weekend via satellite with the latest update and to forward his apologies to all readers

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Miracle from Moscow! 30/11/05

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) This afternoon I was again at the ministry of agriculture, and again in despair The word from Moscow and Astana was, as per usual, that no permits for my horses had been issued

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Kulsari- Russian Border: Last leg of Kazakhstan (28/10/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) From Atrau where Tim is preparing things for the border crossing into Russia (where another winter is awaiting him!) he reflects on the last leg of Kazakhstan from Kulsari to the border on the Volga river delta: It was with ...

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Tim Reaches the Caspian and enters geographical Europe! (03/10/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Tim has reached the Caspian! He called me tonight with the latest: Tim has arrived in Europe Tim Cope crossed the URAL RIVER on Staurday, now in the city of Atrau IS now at the northern shore of the Caspian Sea

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Tim returns to Kulsari to find horses prepared for race and Mosque Ceremony (17/09/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Carrying on the webmaster sexiness is the equally roguish and handsome Cameron Cope, who will now be sharing the privilege of updating the website with Danny

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From the Kuban to Crimea: Cossack Suriya, Vet checks, to the Black Sea! (23/5/06)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR RELATED PHOTOS) “Tim do you know what a Suriya is?” asked the Cossack Ataman, Viktor before me

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In the Footsteps of Ghengis Khan: an introduction to the next adventure

In June 2004 I hope to set out by horse, and a touch of Camel, from Mongolia to Hungary ‘In the footsteps of Ghengis Khan.’ The steppe that spreads out like an ocean from the orient to Europe has long been home to mounted nomads and is still one of the most legendary, yet murkily understood ...

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Tim Revisits Russia and Finland, July 2003!

Having arrived back from an enjoyable week in Perth (thanks to Riki Blake's Cafe, Mt Lawley High School, Guildford Grammar, and Rob and Rachel Devling for a special experience), Tim is preparing to spend a month catching up with contacts and friends of old in north-west Russia and Finland

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'Off the Rails' book released!

March 31st Off the Rails: Moscow to Beijing...............Book Released! After more than 14 months in the making, Tim, and co-author Chris Hatherly have had their book released

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Yenisey Article in Australian Geographic

March 31st Yenisey Article Released To coincide with the book, Tim’s feature article about the Yenisey rowboat journey is appearing in this months issue of Australian Geographic (April-June edition)

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Outside rates Tim one of top 25 adventurers

December 2002 Outside Magazine, the world’s premiere outdoor magazine has just selected Tim as one of the top young 25 explorers/adventurers in the world today This follows the cycling and rowing adventures, the latter of which landed Tim the Young Adventurer of the Year 2001

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Crossing the Kharkiraa with three horses and a camel (posted 3/10/04)

2/9/04- 11/9/04 (Posted on 2/10/04) (Continues from the Zuungov - Tsengel entry) (Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) We arrived in the village of Tarialan at 7am just as the sun was peeking over the mountains above

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Ben Kozel releases the Yenisey adventure book, 'Five Months in a Leaky Boat' (OCT 03)

( Click here to view the front cover of Ben's new book and download a press release/summary.) In May of 2001, Ben Kozel , a science student from Adelaide (turned environmental worker, author/adventurer extraordinaire) was beginning another epic journey

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Image Gallery complete...time to subscribe (June 30)!

In the past month Tim and the team at Internetrix have been working hard to develop several aspects of the site. In particular the image gallery is now complete with over 200 pics, ready for viewing! They are categorized into journeys and then features of each experience. You can also ...

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A Merry Book Launch!

Chris & Tim celebrate at the launch! On Tuesday, 1st of April everything came together for the book launch of Off the Rails

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Back to Where it all Began! Russian border (19/7/03)

It is almost four years since the cycling journey began, and now i sit in Alexsei's house in the village of Vartsila, just across the Russian border In September 1999 I loaded my bike into the back of his beaten up old van and crossed into Russia

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Reuniting with Babushkina!

( Click here to view the newsletter which features photos and a story about the whole Babushkina experience and more.) After a long Journey I finally made it back to Babushkina- one of the main reasons for return visit to Russia

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Book to be released in Canada and the UK! (20/8/03)

A day before I flew out from Helsinki I visited an internet café and came walking out with a whopping great grin, (despite paying some horrific ‘Finnish’ price in Euros)

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Tim to travel to Korea (North & South) 20/8/03

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest speaker to the annual Travel Writing Association conference

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'Headwinds', an Australian biking adventure book released.

Last week, October 1st, Andrew Bain, former Lonely Planet writer-turned freelance released his inspirational account of his 16,000km cycling journey around Australia the wrong way- into the wind

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Off the Rails wins Top award! (Dec 03)

Recently ‘Off the Rails, On the back Roads to Beijing’ about Tim and Chris’ 10,000km cycling adventure won its third major film festival award This time it was awarded the ‘Grand Prize’ at the International Mountain Film Festival, Poprad, in Slovakia

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Yenisey Documentary to be Aired TONIGHT (10.30pm 18/12/03)!

In 2001 Tim joined an expedition with three others to row and raft the entire length of the Yenisey river, 5500km through Siberia to the Arctic Ocean

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Tim returns from Antarctica! Updated STORY and NEW PHOTOS! (Mar 04)

In January (2004) Tim took up an opportunity to guide and guest lecture for six weeks with Peregrine Adventure on the Antarctic Peninsula It was Tim’s first time to the Antarctic and he returned with vivid impressions of a continent that is still overwhelmingly wild

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Chris & Nat head off on odyssey from Turkey to Hong Kong!

Chris Hatherly, a long time friend and cycling siberia adventure partner, is off on another expedition, this time with his wife Natalie Together, Chris and Nat are cycling recumbent bicycles from Istanbul in Turkey to Hong Kong through Iran, Central Asia, China and Tibet

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Tim Hits the Road! (Beijing 4/6/04)

Well, things have finally started to move On Monday after a sleepless night I bundled everything into Mum and Dad's commodore and we set off to the airport (and we needed the station wagon for the room!)

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Arrival in Mongolia! (14/6/04)

The train slowed with the screech of steel as rain dripped down heavily Then we were still and the sounds pf the station came to life

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Mutton, Raw Hide, Ger Tents (23/6/04)

I sit here at an internet Cafe feeling really rather hungry My appetite has come back with a vengeance after a rather tough introduction last week- a bit of the compulsory traveller's gastro I am still in Ulaan Baater 10 days after arriving in this fascinating city

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Latest news from Kharkorin, Mongolia (4/7/04)

I sit in the midst of a thunderstorm in a ger Outside hail falls like small golf balls Preceding the storm was the ever-present dust clouds filling the sky and turning it a murky brown I am actually in Kharkorin, the ancient capital of the Mongol empire

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Horses stolen!!!....(8/7/04)

The last three or four days have been a challenge but gradually Kathrin and I have been adjusting to this routine It leaves you exhausted enough to fall asleep in your clothes every night even before you get a chance to crawl into the sleeping bag

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Arrival in Tsetserleg (12/7/04)

It’s been a week of ups and downs, from the freedom of the green open steppe to the reality of having horses stolen Right now I lie by a campfire and listen to the flurry of rapids on a nearby river The moon is on its way up and stars are blinking on in an incandescent sky

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Tsetserleg to Tariat…fermented mare’s milk and long hours in the saddle (20/7/04 )

Its one in the morning and I write as bugs patter the tent like rain The light from this computer must be attracting all the bugs from a kilometre radius! In three hours I have to get up and begin to prepare the horses for another day The past week has run somewhat smoothly

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Into the depths of Mongolia (26/7/04)

I awoke in brisk cold and checked my watch- 5.30am Next I crawled out of my nice warm cocoon and unzipped the tent door My heart raced as my eyes adjusted to the dim morning light Eventually, one…… two…..three, ‘phew’ all horses still there

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Mountains, wolves, blisters, yak butter and map-stealing…Davaa Nuur to Telmen Nuur (4/8/04)

Somehow we had to get out of this campsite For two days heavy rain and hail had lashed our tent and shrouded our intended mountain pass in cloud Diesel for the stove was almost finished, food supplies were low, and the horses looked miserable standing for hours with their tails into the wind

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A new horse, heading west, 750km down..... (13/8/04)

We were watering the horses down by the lake Clouds were rolling in over the mountains and a herd of bactrian (two-humped) camels watched on in interest We were due to leave in the morning but the more I thought about it, the more I worried

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Tes to Zuungov...sand dunes, sheep stomach, horse trading, wolf bones....(23/8/04)

We left the village of Tes and headed into pouring rain The day before it had been in the mid thirties and we had stood in the river cooling off while washing horse blankets Locals meanwhile were swimming and collecting wood and berries in the forest

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Resting at Ulaangom – update posted by Tim Billington on behalf of Tim Cope (30/8/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Tim called on the Iridium satellite phone to inform me that his computer battery was flat He has also been unable to take any photos due to the lack of quality batteries available

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Into Kazakstan: Horse hunting, Kazak Sausage, Vodka and snow (19/10/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) I had no idea of what to expect of Kazakhstan On the map it is a huge, mostly empty looking place bridging China with the Caspian Sea, the Siberian taiga forest with the Himalaya, Islam with Buddhism and Christianity

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(Female) Impressions of Mongolia (9/9/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) This text is like a Russian Babushka doll, you open one (text) and you find something that has been written earlier and so on. Right now I’m living in a “movie”, back in Germany at my parents’ place, being offered all the advantages of ...

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Tim Reaches the far west! Horses Sold! Zuungov - Tsengel (21/9/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) For the first time in about 75 days I woke this morning without the horses At first I jumped up to make sure that Rusty and Bokus hadn’t been stolen My heart raced

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Nomad Burials- a letter from Gansukh (posted 4/10/04)

I always find the stories from my good Mongolian friend 'Gansukh' fascinating I just had to put this email of his up in regards to how Mongolians bury their dead Kathrin and I were fascinated by the way of life of the nomad

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Kharkirra – Bayan Olgiy Province. "Down from the mtns, across the Khovd river. a new land (8/10/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Posted 8/10/04 (this follows the entry 'Crossing the Kharkiraa with three horses and a camel (posted 3/10/04) ) Just as the sun was taking the cold pinch out of the air I sat on Bokus, gave the lead rope in my hand a tug, and we ...

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Khovd River- Tsengel(Among Kazaks in Bayan Olgiy, end of the Mongolian leg) 9/10/04

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) (posted 9/10/04) This following entry follows the entry posted on the 8/10/04 entitled "Kharkirra – Bayan Olgiy Province "Down from the mtns, across the Khovd river

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Down from the Altai with three new horses- the Kazak leg begins (28/10/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Ruslan climbed into the back of the old 1960’s Moskvich and collapsed into a deep hangover-induced sleep

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Into the cold- stepping into the beginning of Winter on the Kazak steppe. (7/11/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) “It’s got to be somewhere here!!!” screamed Aset “What!?” I screamed back- half because I didn’t catch him the first time in the howling wind, and half due to my frustration

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To Balkhash - pressing on across the steppe and a birthday to remember. (11/12/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) All night the tent flapped furiously and snow came burrowing into everything with the wind I slept little and checked the horses every hour or so

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Kindikti to Kopa: snow, frost, mud, alone, horse bite. (19/11/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Waking up in the tent, daring not to make any abrupt moves The whole inside of the tent lined with frost that falls down with the slightest shake

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Kopa – Balkhash : where Kazak weddings meet lonely steppe and Asia’s fourth biggest lake. (26/11/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) I set off from Kopa with a bag full of pig fat, intestines stuffed with salted meat, a loaf of bread, a bottle of vodka and a whopping 50kg of crushed wheat- all treats to be had out in the serenity of the steppe! I admit that a huge chunk ...

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Thieves, so close to disaster, back onto the steppe (3/12/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) I stepped outside just to check the horses again I wasn’t really worried- I had been checking them every half hour since sunset and felt comfortable around the railway workers with whom I was staying

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Hauled up in Ust-Kamenogorsk (27/2/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) “I’m afraid that you are in trouble Mr Cope Either we deport you, or at the very least there will be a hefty fine

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Frozen Steppe,Boiled Pigeon,camel in the loungeroom,merry Christmas,and a happy new year! (31/12/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) The few strands of hair that dangle from my balaclava are now icicles There is a huge one coming out of my nose as well

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Down under in Akbakai…(6/1/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Just a quick update to let you know that I as yet have not moved on For almost two weeks I have been in and around the gold-mining village of Akbakai

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Horse slaughter and other tales from Akbakai (16/1/04)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) “Will I ever leave Akbakai?” I wrote in my diary I had intended to break here for two days over Christmas Then my horse had developed an abscess, and then I had caught a flu But finally after over two weeks I had woken from this blur

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Unique Royal Geographic Society Meeting in London (27/2/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) It seemed a million miles away from the steppe when I was told that I had been nominated as a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society…and even more unreal when CuChullaine O’Reilly of the of the ‘Long Riders Guild’ sent me an ...

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A rough return to Akbakai: dog eaters, wild winter, horse head…(7/3/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries And don’t forget to check the photo gallery which is updated weekly as well. 7/3/05 I write in a little bit of a state of exhaustion and shock It has been a rough re-introduction to Akbakai

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Lugging Horse 50kg horse meat 800km(9/3/05)

9/3/05 (Click here to view the complete list of diary entries And don’t forget to check the photo gallery which is updated weekly as well. Feeling frail and frazzled Thought I would write to let you know that the adventure doesn’t stop on the steppe

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London and the Royal Geographic Society: an event never to forget. (25/3/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries

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Akbakai to Zhuantobe: Starving Steppe, Snow Storm, Nomads, and the Immortal Dog (29/4/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Finally I arrived back in Akbakai three weeks ago after my winter break and the side trip to London I had prepared new equipment, Tigon was back to good health, and all the butterflies in my stomach pointed to a new start to the expedition

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To Qyzlorda (9/5/05)

I lie in the back of an old truck, my gear sprawled among the bits and pieces of a Yurt tent The horses outside graze on lush grass, and Tigon is curled up with a grin on his face- he has just had two big servings of tinned meat

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New Horse, Hospitality, Terrorism and Syr Darya tales…(17/5/05)

My break began well in Qyzlorda: a paddock of grass, an old van to stay in, and seemingly a good time to rest and recuperate However it soon became clear that the offer of hospitality had its costs

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Into the Aral Sands (8/6/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Packing in the grey of night Camels crying out The barking of a dog, a slither of moon rising After two hours of packing I saddle up, thank my hosts, and again I am out there on the steppe

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Dodging the furnace (18/6/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) At first the evening glow disappears, then the moon sets, and for a couple of hours there is just the starlight I seem to be floating over the steppe Fighting off sleep

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Pushing towards the Caspian Sea (5/7/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) The expedition cuts a broken line into the grey The steppe is waking During the night a phantom stallion has attacked I have woken myself up a few times Cordell has sworn that he has seen a few kangaroos under moonlight

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Land of fire, water, and sand: Travelling the Emba river. (14/7/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) “Come back here Grey you bastard! You’re gonna get it!” I shifted my gaze in my tent to see our grey horse legging it for the river in hobbles He raced along, chain rattling, a look of freedom in his eyes

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Horse swamp bad (1/8/05)

Tim’s computer is out of action at the moment, so he's asked me to relay the recent happenings When he rang I hastily jotted down some points on the back of an envelope, which have since clarified any misgivings I may have had about my ability to shorthand

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Summer leg comes to an end

Tim has just arrived back in Almaty after a turbulent week trying to find a rest place for the horses near Kulsari (80km from the Caspian Sea) The month along the Emba river was one of the most challenging yet rewarding of the journey

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New Image Gallery Up: Summer In Kazakstan (24/8/05)

Tim has not had much luck with his digital camera Last October it fell under a horse's hoof Then after three months getting repaired it was knocked off a table in the village of Akbakai one day before his Spring departure

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Into the heart of Western Kazakhstan: Abaya to Kulsari along the river Emba (Part 1, 29/8/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Below is the first of three parts to be written about the last three weeks of travel along the Emba river through the deserts of Western Kazakhstan as far as Kulsari near the Caspian Sea

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Into Western Kazakhstan: Underground Mosque, Living the Furnace, Caravan Ends (Part2 31/8/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Below is the second of three parts (was planned as two!) to be written about the last three weeks of travel along the Emba river through the deserts of Western Kazakhstan as far as Kulsari near the Caspian Sea

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Into Western Kazakhstan: Disaster in Kulsari! (3/9/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Currently I am in Almaty facing a few problems: computer charger just fried so I have lost temporarily the story that I was writing about Kulsari

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Tim makes historic crossing of Kazakhstan!(23/10/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) After more than 12 months since his arrival in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Tim reached the border with Russia near Astrakhan (on the Caspian Sea) on Friday the 14th of October

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Cordell and Cara's Impressions: A Strangely Familiar Journey (4/9/05)

(Click here to view the complete list of diary entries) Cara and Cordell (friends from New Zealand and Australia) joined Tim for six weeks along the Emba river through some of the harshest weather and conditions of Western Kazakhstan Here is their point of view from the saddle...

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Ben Kozel releases the Yenisey adventure book, 'Five Months in a Leaky Boat' (OCT 03)

In May of 2001, Ben Kozel , a science student from Adelaide (turned environmental worker, author/adventurer extraordinaire) was beginning another epic journey

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New 'Autumn in Kazakhstan' gallery is up!

Photos from Tim's last month of riding in Kazakhstan are now up! They include a visit to the old cities of Otrar and Turkistan, and images from everything from muddy salt plains to horse racing on the steppe.

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Russian entry fails! Back in Kazakhstan.(9/11/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) I ate little, spoke little, and probably appeared a little bit out of it My nerves were on edge because I knew that the border between Kazakhstan and Russia would be the first of many bureaucratic challenges on the way to Hungary

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Elusive Permits, still in Atrau 28/11/05

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) Well, I never thought I would be saying this, but I am nearing my fifteenth month in Kazakhstan Things have come full circle as the days shorten and again the whistle of winter winds roar across the steppe

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Double-crossed and running out of time! (6/12/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) I can't believe it, or more worrying perhaps I can after a few month of battling with bureaucracy The journey has reached an impasse yet again

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In the nick of time (9/12/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES) It has been a very tough week after a very tough month The uncertainty, the prospect of losing my whole team of animals due to bureaucracy keeping me awake at night and in a constant state of uncertainty and stress

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Kalmikia: Nomads In Europe

To understand the nature of the Eurasian steppe one only has to look at the heritage of Kalmikia which is a microcosm of the constant tidal change and movement of nomad people The Kalmiks themselves are ethnic Mongol’s of the Oirat tribe

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Road to Russia! (17/12/05)

(CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE LIST OF DIARY ENTRIES & CHECK THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR UPDATES) As the taxi rolled down off the road to the familiar collection of Kazak mud huts that is the village of Kugen I caught sight of Tigon