Singapore

Rousing send-off for team journeying overland from Singapore to London

This article is more than 12 months old

British student Nathan George grew up listening to his grandfather's stories about driving from London to Singapore with his friends in 1955.

So it was an easy decision when he was asked to join an expedition that recreates the original jaunt, albeit in reverse.

Mr George, 21, is one of eight adventurers embarking on the gruelling trek that will take three vehicles from Singapore to London, traversing jungles, mountains and deserts across three continents.

The 100-day journey was flagged off at the F1 Pit Building yesterday.

"My grandpa was fresh out of university when he set off, just like I am right now," said Mr George, a Newcastle University economics graduate.

"He has always talked about his trip so it's exciting to go off and do it myself even though I have no idea what to expect."

His granddad Tim Slessor, who was 24 when he made the trek - dubbed The First Overland expedition - is now 87.

He took ill the morning of the flag-off but is expected to join the team on the road shortly as the ninth member.

In 1955, six Oxford and Cambridge university students, including Mr Slessor, made history when they arrived in Singapore after six months on the road - the longest overland expedition at the time.

A restored blue Land Rover Series I named "Oxford" used in the original expedition is one of the three vehicles on this trip.

Two other surviving members from The First Overland expedition - Mr Nigel Newbery, 86, and Mr Patrick Murphy, 88 - were at yesterday's flag-off.

Mr Murphy said: "We only had an out-of-date map and compass to guide us; there wasn't a GPS or even mobile Wi-Fi at that time. At some points, we were completely cut off. Now they've got it good."

This team on this trip - called The Last Overland - includes Singaporean Larry Leong, 51, who had in 2015 driven 20,000km from Singapore to London.

Yesterday's send-off fanfare included an escort to the Woodlands crossing point into Malaysia by a convoy of around 90 Land Rovers driven by local enthusiasts.

The epic journey will be documented, an effort led by British film-maker Alex Bescoby, 31, a core member of the team.

The Last Overland is supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and British auto manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, among others.

TOURISM & TRAVEL