YOUNG ADVENTURER APPROACHES END OF EPIC ‘GENGHIS KHAN’ 10,000KM SOLO HORSEBACK JOURNEY AFTER THREE YEARS AND TWO MONTHS IN THE SADDLE
TIM COPE – END OF AN ODYSSEY IN SIGHT
Hortobagy, Hungary, September 6, 2007 - Tim Cope, 28, who for three years and two months has been travelling in the ‘hoofsteps’ of Genghis Khan on an epic 10,000km horseback journey from Mongolia to Hungary – the first person in living memory to attempt this journey – is 350 km away from completing his epic journey. He is due to finish on September 22.
Tim, who has spent the last ten years pursuing his dreams of adventure and exploration, including riding a bicycle for 10,000km across Russia and Mongolia (1999-2000) and rowing a wooden boat through Siberia to the Arctic Ocean (2001), will finish his historical journey by arriving at Opusztaszer (www.opusztaszer.hu), a national historical memorial park on the edge of the Eurasian steppe which celebrates the conquest and founding of Hungary by the nomadic Magyars from central Asia. The park also houses a famous 16,000sq metre mural of how the Hungarians came to Europe by horse from Asia. At this visually stunning and historical site, Tim will be greeted by the Kazakh, Mongolian and Australian ambassadors, a group of school children and dozens of Hungarian people from across the country, who will join in the celebrations. There will also be an outstanding display of dozens of horses with traditional horsemanship on show – including archery, breathtaking tricks, and outfits dating back to the time of Genghis Khan and earlier. Tim is also to be greeted by one of the greatest living equestrian explorers, Scottish Long Rider, Gordon Smith, who will journey to Hungary in order to extend a hearty congratulations to Tim on behalf of the all the Long Riders from 35 countries.
Tim says: “It has been an honour to ride in the footsteps and in the company of Eurasian Steppe nomads and it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support from locals, who have always been willing to share their homes, hearts and minds. Also, I cannot praise my horses and my dog, Tigon, enough. They are the real heroes of this epic trek”.
On 31 May 2004, Tim set out to travel 10,000 km on the trail of Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Hungary by horse. Within a week, his horses were stolen but undeterred Tim continued with his three horses and intrepid canine companion, Tigon, who has had numerous adventures of his own along the way (including being stolen, frozen and hit by a car). Although he’s faced temperatures ranging from –52 to 54°C, Tim says adventure is not about conquering the elements but about experiencing the world by immersing himself in different cultures, landscapes and situations. On this epic journey, Tim has been researching the heritage and life of the nomads who live on the vast Eurasian steppe.
Tim says: “I wanted to know what it was like to be a nomad to travel to Europe by horse and understand what connections remain between the different cultures stretching from Mongolia to Hungary”.
CuChullaine O’Reilly, of the Long Riders Guild (www.longridersguild.com), - the world's first international association of equestrian explorers says: “Though the Long Rider’s Guild has assisted equestrian explorers on every continent except Antarctica, Tim’s solo ride from Mongolia to Hungary will be remembered as having launched the modern age of equestrian travel. By riding in the hoofprints of the Central Asian mounted nomads, Tim has proved that anyone can take a life-changing equestrian journey.”
Tim, who was named Australian Adventurer of the Year last year, is also a previous recipient of the Australian Geographic Society’s Spirit of Adventure and Young Adventurer of the Year awards. In March, 2005, Tim was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (UK) – the first person to have achieved this whilst still in the saddle! US magazine, Outside, included Tim as one of the top young 25 explorers/adventurers in the world today.
Tim says: “It’s hard to believe that the end of the steppe is in sight after such a long time when it often seemed that Hungary was unreachable. The horses and this journey have become my life and I’m not sure how I will cope when it is all over. Of course, I am really looking forward to spending time at home with my family again but I won’t be hanging up the saddle for too long. The horizon is always beckoning.”
For further information and/or to arrange an interview with Tim, please contact Anna Thomsen on:
Tel: 00 44 208 788 6292 / 00 44 7706 612 042
Notes to Editors:
1. The Long Rider Riders Guild was formed in 1994 to represent men and women of all nations who have ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. Members currently reside in at least 35 countries. These Long Riders have collectively written more than a hundred books on equestrian travel and ridden on every continent except Antarctica. Thus the history, stories, legends, and knowledge stored on this website (www.longridersguild.com) represent the largest repository of equestrian travel information assembled in human history!
2. Gordon Naysmith is the only Long Rider to have ever ridden from the bottom of the African continent to the heart of Europe. He is author of the book: “Will to Win”. (http://www.horsetravelbooks.com/africa.htm).
3. The end of an Odyssey on the Hungarian Plains: The finish of the journey, greeting, and celebration will take place at:
6767 Opusztaszer, Nemzeti Turtenet, Emlekpark, Hungary
On 22nd September 2007 at 1pm.