End of the road for Gal­li­vant­ing Quines

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

THE Gal­li­vant­ing Quines have com­pleted their 10,000-mile Mon­gol Rally within a month, rais­ing £7,500 for char­ity.

Kay Simp­son from Oban and Anne MacAskill from Skye fin­ished the race in Ulan-Ude, Siberia, last week in Kay’s beloved 22-year- old 1200cc Re­nault Ex­press van, nick­named the Green Ma­chine, or­na­mented by a gi­ant horned yak’s skull called Genghis.

The race started at Good­wood Mo­tor Cir­cuit on Satur­day July 16, when 300 vin­tage cars and 800 par­tic­i­pants did a lap of hon­our, and Kay, 70, and Anne, 68, were given awards for be­ing the old­est rac­ers. ‘I’ve never been given an award for be­ing old,’ Kay said.

Anne, mum of stunt cy­clist Danny MacAskill, posted their ad­ven­tures on a blog and Face­book page, The Gal­li­vant­ing Quines, first driv­ing through Bel­gium on Sun­day, Ger­many and Aus­tria on Mon­day, across Hun­gary into Ro­ma­nia on Tues­day, Bul­garia on Wed­nes­day, and Is­tan­bul on Thurs­day. Anne wrote of Turkey: ‘The driv­ing has greatly im­proved (I don’t mean Kay’s) since I was last there with her in 1968. We may have hit a brick wall to get into Iran to­mor­row as we do not have a

car­net de pas­sage. I am get­ting my goon and scarf ready.’

In Iran, the pair had to share their two-seater van with an of­fi­cial guide, Pouriya. ‘We found Ira­ni­ans charm­ing,’ Anne wrote. ‘Iran in­volved a hor­ren­dous amount of sleep­ing po­lice­men. There were plenty of liv­ing ones as well stop­ping us. Kay emerged af­ter three days sit­ting in the back of the van like the Hunch­back of Notre Dame. We got through some tolls without pay­ing – they, like the po­lice­men, were fas­ci­nated with Genghis.’

In Turk­menistan they cel­e­brated Anne’s 68th birth­day on July 29 with a ho­tel and break­fast but Anne wrote: ‘Kay [a re­tired vet] was wor­ried the warm milk for her tea was from a cow with mas­ti­tis, but de­cided it was just dried stuff. Kay bought a fancy teapot – she needs tea to sur­vive.’

Kay sur­ren­dered her un­fin­ished bot­tle of gin at the Ira­nian border, and was de­lighted to re­stock the wine cel­lar in Uzbek­istan. Her ‘amaz­ing driv­ing’ through Tashkent’s Sun­day mar­ket crowds, plus a bribe or two, got the pair into Kaza­khstan, within 1,700km of the Rus­sian border.

It went across ‘ end­less steppe, hor­ren­dous roads’, and, Anne wrote, ‘the big­gest pot­holes I have seen. We shall not be com­plain­ing about Scot­tish ones any more, even if one ripped my car’s tyre be­fore I came away. Kay had to change a fan belt on the van – she can turn her hand to any­thing’.

In just three weeks, they had reached Rus­sia’s border on Au­gust 5, but visa trou­bles de­layed them for a week. At this point they also heard Mon­go­lia was charg­ing rally teams $4,000 to cross its border. ‘We can not and will not pay that,’ Anne wrote, but the time did give Kay the chance to put pen to pa­per. ‘We are used to big Hon­das, BMWs, Audis over­tak­ing us,’ Kay wrote, ‘but to­day Anne’s pride was dented when an old, bashed-up Lada over­took us.’

Af­ter reach­ing Rus­sia on Au­gust 12, and the fin­ish line in Ulan Ude on Au­gust 16, Anne wrote: ‘ We have trav­elled 16,705 kms, or 10,380 miles since we left Good­wood plus the 1,384 kms or 860 miles for Kay to get from Oban to Skye to col­lect me be­fore we trav­elled south – and we are still on speak­ing terms.’

The faith­ful Green Ma­chine was dis­patched to Har­wich via Es­to­nia, while Kay and Anne flew back to Lon­don on Thurs­day.

How­ever their ad­ven­tures were far from over. ‘Kay man­aged to lock her­self into the bath­room of a Gatwick Air­port ho­tel at about 3am,’ wrote Anne. ‘For­tu­nately she had for­got­ten to re­move a Swiss army-style knife from her hand­bag and a res­cue was ef­fected.’

From Glas­gow, the pair trav­elled home by bus, ‘prob­a­bly ready for our own beds’, Anne said, ‘ but what an ex­pe­ri­ence al­to­gether.’

Anne is fundrais­ing for Can­cer Re­search UK and Wings for Life, fund­ing spinal cord in­jury re­search projects, while Kay is fundrais­ing for An­i­mals Asia.

Fi­nal stop: Kay Simp­son and Anne MacAskill reach Mon­go­lia af­ter a 10,000-mile ad­ven­ture.

Anne cooks din­ner at the road­side dur­ing their marathon rally.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.