Harrogate to India cycle: The road to Iran

SaddleSore team (s)

SaddleSore team (s)

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Harrogate friends Tom Cartledge and Rhys James set out from Hookstone Drive in March, aiming to cycle from Harrogate to India.

They have so far raised a stunning £4,000 for charities The Railway Children and St Michael’s Hospice.

The pair are just miles from Iran, and sent this report.

“Upon leaving Yerevan in Armenia, we climbed and battled over mountains through the hot midday sun finally meeting Lake Sevan.

This was the start of our big push towards Iran. In front of us lay ahead many large and difficult mountain roads reaching high altitudes and higher temperatures.

We had planned to hit a small town on the south western corner of Lake Sevan called Martuni, replenishing our food and water reserves before taking on the highlands, moving to ever higher pastures.

Martuni was a dismal little town, however, we seemed to appear like some celebrated figures to the local population.

Everyone was staring at us and all the children spoke to us.

We left Martuni and gradually fought for every inch we could up an extensive slope which then turned into a steep ladder style climb snaking up the hillside.

We knew that this route wasn’t going to be easy but ‘The Armenian Angle’ (uphill climbs) just kept coming back to test us further and further and this time with added wind which left a cool chill on the body due to perspiration drying. More layers were needed!

A small town in the valley performed a green mirage nestled amongst arid surroundings. The road looked amazing and was surely one of the best sections of cycling this far along the trip.

As we rounded a corner we noticed a group of possibly intoxicated old men waving for us to join them.

Sure enough the old guys were all worse for wear, but unbelievably welcoming and hospitable, shaking our hands, handing us drinks and pouring vodka shots to toast our arrival.

Dinner was well underway on the mountain top with drinks overflowing and laughter everywhere when a Spanish couple and German tourist bus pulled up.

They came across to question our method of transport and many other things with smiles on their faces.

They were all soon invited into this unusual multi lingual party on the top of the mountain. The Armenian’s showed off their hospitable ways to over 40 people, handing them food and drinks. We would like to thank everybody for donating to our charities thus far.

We cycled through some truly beautiful landscapes on the way to the Iranian border.”

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