Adventure in the Outback
British twins Hugo and Ross are what one would call modern adventurers. In the past, they have rowed across the Atlantic, scaled Russia’s highest mountain, and successfully completed a trek across Greenland’s ice sheet. Their latest expedition involved the 27-year-old brothers flying paramotors from the south coast of Australia to the co-ordinates 23.17°S (latitude)/132.27° (longitude). The Australian locals call this exact location the “Pole of Inaccessibility”.
Idea, training and departure
The idea for the “Red Pole Exhibition” – to give the adventure its official name – was born during a paramotor manufacturer convention back in the UK. Hugo and Ross were invited to give a speech. The twins learned that they don’t need a licence to fly a paramotor; all that’s required is an adequate number of training sessions. They immediately sensed that this could be their next big adventure and started looking for the ideal location for their lofty ambitions. “The Australian outback seemed like the perfect choice to us. For one, nobody had ever flown a paramotor to this remote spot. And we had always wanted to explore Australia from a very different perspective.”
Prior to leaving, Hugo and Ross completed a six-month training programme in their home country, England. They quickly came to love their new means of transport. “You feel incredibly free, because you are not tied to fixed routes like, for example, on the road,” explains Hugo. “You may have to avoid the odd tree, but – in theory – you can fly these aircraft anywhere you want.”
How it all began
Paradoxically, a severe leisure accident suffered by Hugo instilled the desire for adventure in the twins. At the age of 17, Hugo injured his cervical spine in a diving accident and only narrowly avoided tetraplegia. “Fortunately, I suffered no permanent damage to my spinal cord, but a part of my seventh cervical vertebra had to be replaced with a metal cage,” explains Hugo. Hugo was initially told that he would never walk again, but after a lengthy healing process he was able to take first cautious steps. “Today, I feel well again, even though I suffer from back pain on a daily basis and only have a limited mobility in my neck area. In the grand scheme of things, I escaped with a scratch.” The accident changed Hugo’s life completely. In a different way, the same applies to Ross’ life. The brothers vowed to take on the world by embarking on expeditions that allowed them to explore their own limits.
Highs and lows
They chose Port Augusta as the starting point for their trip across (or better: over) the Red Continent. From there, they flew northwards, followed the Oodnadatta Track for a little while, and then flew on to the so-called Red Pole via Alice Springs. They were constantly accompanied by Kester, their coach, and a support vehicle containing fuel, food, and electronic equipment.
They came across a handful of towns and settlements along the way, but – by and large – they saw nothing but desert. The overflight of Plane Henge, a sculpture made of discarded aircraft in the middle of nowhere, was a special highlight. “That was a weird moment, but also very impressive.”
Typically, Hugo and Ross would fly at altitudes between 500 and 1,000m – high enough for a breathtaking overview, but also low enough to observe the kangaroos below. They soon found that the unusual perspective can play tricks on the mind, especially when they attempted to land at their expedition’s final destination. “Well…”, says Hugo sheepishly, “we thought we had identified a lush green meadow right next to the Red Pole. We started our descent, only to realise at the last moment that the supposed field was actually a rather dense group of bushes and trees.”
In the middle of nowhere
The twins managed to land safely in the twilight, but there was no way for them to get themselves airborne again. Fortunately, Kester was still in the air and flew off to seek out the support vehicle. The twins had no choice but to wait and hope that Kester would be able to find them again. To their great relief, the brothers spotted some headlights in the distance two and a half hours later. “But that’s all part of adventuring,”they explain. “You can plan for every eventuality, only to have life flip you out sideways. Then you simply have to deal with the new situation at hand.”
The next morning they finally had an opportunity to explore the destination of their expedition: the “Pole of Inaccessibility”. Considering the fact they hadn’t been able to find any photos of the Red Pole on the Internet before they embarked on their journey, they were not particularly surprised to find that there was not much to see. “We found a little plaque and left a geocache for everyone who decides to follow in our footsteps,” reveals Hugo. “I do not believe, however, that this particular place will become an Australian landmark in the near future.”
Hugo and Ross raised $1,762 so far, intend to collect more donations in the future and will continue their quest to raise awareness for spinal cord research. You already can support their next adventure here :-)
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A TRIP THROUGH AUSTRALIA
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• A SMALL EXTRACT OF OTHER INCREDIBLE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGNS •
• Germany’s Matthias Beitmann asked his friends to abstain from buying him birthday presents and collected 1,725 euros for us during his birthday party. Sepp Neubauer from Austria did the same. During a celebration to mark his milestone birthday, he collected 2,252 euros for Wings for Life.
• Adam Darby mounted his metal steed and cycled the 360 miles from London to Amsterdam. He spent four days on the road and raised 2,000 euros for spinal cord research.
• Dr Herbert and Eveline Guschlbauer recently celebrated the grand opening of Medizell, their private medical centre. They asked their guests for donations and raised 3,295 euros.
• England’s Danielle Aspital took part in the Silverstone and Wimbledon half-marathons. She collected almost 500 euros in donations.
• Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson took part in the Mongol Rally, a 10,000-mile race over mountains, through deserts and across steppes. They raised approximately 5,500 euros.
• The spectators at the third City Jump in Salzburg donated a total of 3,840 euros.
• Richard Wise collected almost 300 euros for Wings for Life by taking part in the 720km Raid Pyrenean bicycle race. The route led from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
• As in the past, the organisers of the Alber Sport Golf Charity invited golfers to the greens. To date, they have raised no less than 18,000 euros for spinal cord research.
Thank you so much for your great support!