Posted by: travelrat | January 28, 2018

The Ends of the Earth


Furthest North … Alta, Norway

The ‘On This Day’ feature on Facebook the other day threw up a post I’d made two years earlier. I was responding to a request for posts on the theme ‘Journey’, and I told about our ‘Journey to the End of the World (almost)’ … the furthest north we’ve ever been; Alta, in Norway. Last year, I was able to add the furthest south we’ve ever been, when our cruise ship sailed around Cape Horn to Valparaiso.

This set me to thinking of some epic north to south journeys. The first to come to mind was Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor’s ‘Long Way Down’, in which the intrepid pair journeyed from Scotland to the very tip of Africa on motor cycles. The next one I thought of was Richard Pape’s ‘Cape Cold to Cape Hot’ when, back in the 50s, he drove an Austin A90 from Norway’s North Cape to the Cape of Good Hope … (actually, it was two Austin A90s; he wrote one off on the journey)

But, topping all was Michael Palin’s Pole to Pole adventure. He got to South Africa to find he had missed the research ship which was to take him onward, so he crossed to Patagonia, from where he could fly to Antarctica, thence to the South Pole.

This got me thinking … had anyone ever made a traverse of the Americas? I had vague memories of a childhood Eagle Book of Modern Adventurers, which told of A.F. Tschiffely, a Swiss-born Argentinian. He set off from Argentina in 1925, and rode on horseback to New York, where he arrived three years later. I can’t remember whether or not I ever read Tschiffely’s Ride, or just an abridged version in a compendium of some sort.

While trawling the internet to refresh my memory of Tschiffely’s achievement, I came across references to someone who had traversed the length of both Americas on horseback, Louis Bruhnke and his companion Vladimir Fissenko had set out from Ushuaia in 1987, and ridden all the way to Deadhorse, Alaska … an inappropriate name, in the circumstances … arriving in 1993.

Although Bruhnke wrote a book, Sufridor (the name of his horse) this feat seems to have slipped below the radar of the media. Maybe, like Palin, Boorman and McGregor, he should have had a TV crew following him?

Drake Passage

Furthest South: Cape Horn 

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