Edinburgh trio embark on an 18-country charity road trip

James Parker, Charles Mackenzie and Ian Andrews are setting off from Edinburgh to Mongolia in their Morris Minor. Picture: Scott Louden

James Parker, Charles Mackenzie and Ian Andrews are setting off from Edinburgh to Mongolia in their Morris Minor. Picture: Scott Louden

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It is the ultimate road trip – a 10,000-mile odyssey through deserts, mountains and 
grasslands.

Spanning two continents and 18 countries, the Mongol Rally is expected to take this intrepid trio at least three months.

And they will attempt the epic feat not in a jeep or rally car but in a Morris Minor they bought for just £1500.

Team Spicy Wanderlust includes Charlie MacKenzie from Stockbridge, Edinburgh Napier graduate James Parker and a Hawaiian named Ian Andrews.

They have no back-up, no support and no set route, just their wits and their trusty blue chariot as they set out on arguably the greatest motoring adventure on the planet.

The 23-year-olds hope to raise more than £2000 for Cool Earth, a charity working to halt the destruction of the rainforests, and a football fanzine as they drive from Edinburgh to Ulan-Ude, capital city of the Republic of Buryatia.

James, who works as a freelance photographer in London, revealed they will record their adventure with a view to producing a documentary.

He said: “We shall get lost, raise cash and record it every step of the way, including tasks and challenges set at every stop we take. If nothing goes wrong, we’ve not done it properly.”

Charlie, a freelance fashion designer, first dreamed up the idea while motorbiking across Vietnam two years ago and then booked the event without telling his friends.

“It’s something different from the normal nine-to-five life,” he said.

“It might be dangerous but I think we will be OK. I have probably been in a lot more dangerous situations.

“I think the fun will really start when we get out of Europe and into Turkey and cross the Caspian Sea.

“I do quite a lot of adventures but this is going to be one of the most exciting.

“We will be going to Mongolia and Russia and places most people never go.”

The team, who set off this weekend, have picked up supplies including food, barbecues, spares and equipment for when they break down.

But they are travelling light and are planning on buying supplies en route as well as sampling the local cuisine.

They will stay in hostels for the European leg of their journey but camp out when they get out into the wilds of Asia.

The rally has three main rules – cars must be “rubbish with an engine of one litre or less”, teams are “completely on their own” and they must raise at minimum of £1000 for charity.

A spokesman from the organisers added: “It’s no fun if it’s too easy. If you want easy, go for a spa weekend. With a small car, you’re more likely to break down so you’re more likely to interact with the locals.

“We could tell you everything you need to know about all the countries, roads and borders between here and Mongolia to ensure you have a safe, uncomplicated journey.

“But if it’s not dangerous and you aren’t lost, you’re not on an adventure. That means no on-the-road back-up or support.”