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Young Welshman walks across Mongolia and into record books

On August 5, 23-year-old Ash Dykes from Colwyn Bay, North Wales, set a new World Record by becoming the first person to walk solo and unsupported over 1,500 miles across Mongolia, prompting accolades from the likes of legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes, who has been dubbed ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ by the Guinness Book of World Records, praised Dykes’ ‘first’ solo trek across the deserts and mountains of Mongolia: “It will have proved both physically and mentally challenging and is an example of great determination,” said Fiennes.

Raising money for the British Red Cross, Dykes walked from west to east across the world’s second-largest landlocked country in 78 days, through some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet, including the Altai Mountains, Gobi desert, and the Mongolian steppe. Walking an average of almost 20 miles a day, his longest day of walking saw him cover 34 miles in 14 hours.

Throughout the journey from Mongolia’s western border with Russia to its easterly border with China, Dykes pulled a home-made wheeled desert cart weighing almost 200kg, which carried all of his own provisions including food and water, and lightweight camping gear.

Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world, and at one point in the trek, Dykes had walked for eight days without seeing another person. But as well as the loneliness of trudging across an often desolate and featureless landscape, he had to endure raging sandstorms, snow storms, extremes of heat and cold, and swarms of inescapable mosquitos.

For the full story of Dykes incredible feat, see the blog he updated throughout: ashdykesblog.tumblr.com. There’s also a great promo video of his expedition by Sensorshot Productions (warning: some swearing!)