Burnham-On-Sea author returns from 'gruelling' Mongolia trek
explorer and author Michael Turner has just returned from a 'gruelling'
trek through Mongolia, which was the 90th country that he has visited.
63 year-old joined a 13-day Franco-Mongolian expedition through
the fabled Mongolian steppes before descending in altitude to the
legendary Gobi Desert.
says the experience revealed why Mongolia is a niche traveller destination.
is three times the size of France with a population of only 3 million:
a third of whom are nomads. Britain has a population density of
two people the size of a rugby pitch compared to Mongolia of two
per square kilometre."
of the countrys places of interest are not served by public
transport and are scores of miles from paved roads."
glaciated uplands, waterfalls, monasteries and sand dunes are only
reached by using Mongolian drivers who know every bumpy, rocky,
stony, gravel, sand and mud track, that are their B-roads, which
lack sign posts."
adventurous car hire driver could easily become hopelessly lost,
when another person might not be seen for days."
non-descript towns are of Russian architecture. Hence the visitor
is typically attracted to the nomadic culture of the unforgiving
and harsh steppes and desert, that are also home to Tibetan, Buddhist
wayfarer will keep clean by bathing in rivers, dodging slabs of
ice, who uses this water to wash clothes in a basin and to cook
over a wood-fuelled stove in gers. These are the famous, portable,
round homes in which the adventurer will stay for a night or two
with a family before moving to another ger camp."
is this domestic experience with families who heard: yak, cattle,
horses, camels, sheep and goats that ensures Mongolia provides a
unique visitor experience to the hardy explorer."
may never upgrade to comfortable lodging with enough heated gers
and hot showers that are vital to attract the older clientele."
says he only saw two other 'older' travellers who were in their
late 50s, since the average age is 20-35.
says the hardships provide a spiritual sympathy with folk who maintain
a remote, nomadic tradition, dating back to the age of the revered
Chinggis Khaan, which makes a visit to Mongolia worthwhile.
in the countryside is so harsh with its bleak and barren landscape,
shrouded with an icy wind from Russia, that most city dwellers hardly
venture into the mountains, steppes or desert."
they may overnight in the local Terelj National Park or visit a
distant town by bus or car. Hence, I saw more of Mongolia than the
average Mongolian because I covered 3,000 kilometres."
speaking, the high point of the expedition was when I was one of
the oldest men to scramble up the countrys highest dune in
the Gobi Desert. Half way up the 300m high dune, the packed-sand
becomes loose; therefore, it was one step and three down."
adds that he'd never seen a range of dunes so high that stretched
reward was to sit straddled across the ridge, gazing at the plethora
of shapes of the lower dunes. I did not have time to travel hundreds
of kilometres to the annual eagle festival that was a must for all
adds that the journey was so therapeutic that returning to the resort
of Burnham-On-Sea is going to be a long holiday. Time will be spent
uploading his 30 videos to Playlist, Turners Travels on Youtube,
which he hopes will receive many views and comments from local readers.