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Irish adventurers near end of 16,000km trek from Istanbul to Shanghai

Maghnus Collins and David Burns are 450km from the finishing post but more challenges are in-store.

Maghnus Collins and David Burns are interviewed in China.
Maghnus Collins and David Burns are interviewed in China.
Image: Facebook: Sand2Snow Adventures

TWO IRISH ADVENTURERS have reached the final leg of their gruelling 16,000km trek to Shanghai.

Maghnus Collins from Limerick and David Burns from Derry went ashore at Wuhu, 450km from Shanghai, yesterday and took stock of an journey that has taken through five countries.

The duo have travelled through Turkey, Iran, India and Nepal – by cycling, kayaking, rafting and on foot – before reaching China and setting off down the Yangtze River.

Collins and Burns ran the equivalent of 25 marathons in 27 days, across the Tibetan plateau, before they settled into their kayaks.

TheScore.ie last checked in with the pair on 22 May last year when they were just 53 days into their journey.

Almost 10 months have now past since they flew out of Ireland to begin their trek in aid of Self Help Africa.

Speaking to Matt Cooper on The Last Word yesterday, Collins and Burns gave an update on their travels.

Collins said, “We are in a place called Wuhu, 450 kilometres upstream from Shanghai and the end of the journey.” Burns commented:

“We’re both holding up reasonably well, I’m holding up a bit better than Maghnus.

We’ve both lost an awful lot of weight at the minute and we’ve lost between 10 and 15kgs.

“We’ve lost a bit of weight but we’re still physically fit after doing all of this but we’re trying to hold it together for the last [leg].”

End in sight

The Irishmen hope to finish up in 11 days time at the mouth of the Yangtze River in Shanghai after setting off from the western-most tip of Asia.

High winds and snow storms threaten to slow them down but they have dealt with worse along the way.

Visa problems prevented the duo from getting into Pakistan and battling whirlpools and whitewater rapids.

Burns said, “[The kayaking] was the aspect of the journey we had the least experience in. I had committed to doing it before finding out what it entailed.

Source to sea [of the Yangtze] hasn’t been done before; it can’t be done because the river is too dangerous. Every attempt that has happened before has ended in disasters or fatalities. It’s an incredibly dangerous river.”

Collins says careful planning and mapping of the river showed them where to avoid and the safest routes but he still had one scary moment when his raft was flipped and lost downstream.

You can follow the lads’ travels and tales through their Facebook page or by checking outwww.sand2snowadventures.com.

To date, €30,000 has been collected for the charity and the fundraising goal is €50,000. Donations, of course, are welcomed.

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Patrick McCarry

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