Ex-Marling School pupil returns from gruelling five-month expedition to Central Asia
6:02pm Friday 1st November 2013 in News
Ex-Marling School pupil Jamie Maddison and co-explorer Matthew Traver travelled 1,100km across the vast, barren landscapes of Eastern Kazakhstan during a five-month expedition (2282596)
A YOUNG explorer from Stroud has returned home after completing an epic five-month expedition to some of the most remote and unforgiving locations in Central Asia.
On one leg of his journey former Marling School pupil Jamie Maddison trekked 1,100km on horseback across the desertscapes of Eastern Kazakhstan, braving blistering heat, bone-dry terrain and food and water shortages.
Accompanied by Matthew Traver, a friend and fellow explorer, the 25-year-old, who lives in Whitminster, also spent a month living in the Pamir Mountains with a Tajik hunter and completed a 160km run in the Kyzul Kum Desert of Uzbekistan.
The strength-sapping and at times life-threatening adventure – inspired by a journey undertaken by the little-known British explorer Sir Charles Howard Bury exactly 100 years ago – pushed the pair to their physical and mental limits as they were often forced to survive on the bare minimum.
“We were eating 700 to 800 calories per day and having to trek 15 miles in 40 degrees heat,” said Jamie.
“There were points when we found it absolutely horrendous and we thought: ‘this is stupid why are we doing this?’ But we were both pretty committed to carrying on.”
Ultimately though, Jamie said it wasn’t their suffering which was worrying them the most, it was the health of their horses.
“There was a balance to strike between do we stop or do we continue on and it was a very difficult moral question because we were so concerned for the welfare of the animals.
“They had picked up various injuries and although we wanted to do an extra 600km in the end we decided to cut it short because of the horses.”
Reflecting on his extraordinary odyssey, which he funded in part by working in hotels and outdoor clothing shops, Jamie said he was ‘thoroughly used up and incredibly worn out’ but nonetheless happy with what he had achieved.
He now plans to write a book about the adventure and his astonishing experiences along the way.
To read a brief account of Jamie’s adventure in his own words go to tinyurl.com/pugeewy or to find out more about the exhibition go to: www.onesteppeahead.com/#
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