Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Long Way Down

Martin Hall reviews Long Way Down

As someone who was inspired by these explorers to raise some money for charity through expeditions myself, I can say that this book is not only a phenomenal read but a magnificent motivational tool making waves for Unicef, Riders for Health, the Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland and charities alike.

McGregor and Boorman’s latest adventure sees the two travel from John O’Groats, the northern most tip of Scotland to Cape Town, the southern most tip of South Africa.
Two men riding huge BMW R1200 GS Adventure motor bikes laden up to the gunwales followed by two Nissan 3.0 Litre Turbo Diesel Patrols across some of the most rugged and temperate terrain through the African continent; a book for the most intrepid of armchair explorers.
This thrilling and at times hilarious account of the pair’s travels is a heartfelt and touching piece commenting on the terrors of ex Child soldiers in Uganda, Mine Victims in Ethiopia and the Aids epidemic evident throughout Africa.

Social comment aside this is an extremely entertaining book. With Charley being pulled of a plane as a terrorist threat, Ewan barely making the trip altogether, being stoned by children throughout the African continent and almost being trampled by elephants, the Long Way Down is an encompassing book.

A shorter journey than their first, the Long Way Round, this book is every bit as exciting and more thrilling still, as the tag line proves to be true: Eighteen countries. Five shock absorbers. Two bikes. One amazing adventure...

Disappointingly, the book, as fantastic as it is, is somewhat ruined by the accompanying T.V series. For the Long Way Round I was an avid watcher, and consequently collector in buying the DVD. However, for the Long Way Down, the pair appear to have brought along the nanny crew. The mammoth 4X4s, never too far behind the bikes, have become a home base for the pair, carrying with them enough supplies to restock a large camping shop. This serves to utterly destroy the illusion that these two best friends are adventurous in any way. Ewan, accompanied by a member of his close family at most points throughout the trip even brings along his wife to slow down progress, drop her bike and wholly negate the whole concept of Two bikes. One amazing adventure...

The series reveals this mock ‘adventure’ to actually be, four bikes, two enormous mothering support crews, fifteen million camera men, enough electronics to fill Comet and enough camping equipment to form an elaborate palace of tented dwellings, running water and all; all falsely held together under the illusory concept of ‘adventure’.
Read the book, at least the truth is well veiled under well written prose. The T.V show however, serves merely as a break in the evening in which to make a sandwich.

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