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GROUND TEAM DRIVE NORTH

This photo essay is from the Flight of The Swans expedition which took place from September to December 2016. To find out more about this ambitious conservation expedition please go to my project summary page here.


Sacha and part of the media crew flew up to the starting point on the northern coast of Russia, it is otherwise impossible to get there. However for the ground team it was a different story, we had to get as far north as possible and reunite with Sacha.

With Mezen, in the state of Arkhangelsk our target we set off on an epic journey, which saw us travel over 4,500km across nine countries, over ten days as we made a beeline to the rendezvous point with Sacha. Here is a brief photo story of the team moving northward.

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Convoy rolling towards the channel crossing having dashed across from Slimbridge via the wonderful M25...

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Final UK preparations before the Tunnel Crossing. Peter and Steve are busy trying to figure out how to put on European headlight reflectors. "Lets consult these far too complicated instructions!".

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Boarding the Eurostar, the last time we would drive on the righthand side of the road for almost three months!

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Steve being optimistic or maybe just stretching his legs after a very long few days driving through western Europe... It's a long way till we catch sight of Sacha or swans.

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Elinor and Sam all smiles after a great day's drive up into the Baltics!

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Snacks are important, so is enthusiasm for snacks...

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Shogun and trailer looking shinny before any dirt roads..

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Matt and Steve listening to podcasts as they drive past the Baltics and into Russia (with a short 32 hour 'pause' at the border)!

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Passing into Russia and some short cuts weren't a good idea.. This day resulted in Brian being constrained to 6kph for over 20km as the road was doing its best to break the trailer. Brian was a masterclass in concentration and determination. Using Peter's car in front as a gauge of how bad the road section was.

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Brian checking the trailer is ok...

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Brief stop during our long days for fuel. This time though we filled up jerry cans as we weren't sure when the next fuel station would be!

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Autumn colours appearing as we head north, with the weather continuing to cool. Autumn arrives about a month ahead of the UK in the Taiga forest.

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Passing by expansive views of golden forest and wide, meandering rivers.

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Convoy rolling through the Taiga.

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Stunning wooden churches were a feature of the Russian landscape.

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Up here its getting cold!

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Phillip our Russian Fixer - life saver for the project throughout our time in Russia!

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Talking about the history of Russia

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Diesel spill late at night, time to clean. The team really came together to combat this issue, cleaning the major spillage and washing affected content within a few hours.

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Elinor getting stuck into cleaning, saving the important stuff!

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At least it wasn't raining!

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Matt an Steve maneuvering a vehicle out of a small ford.

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Meeting up with Amber Eames and Ben Sadd at in Kimzha, the most northern part of Russia the ground team visited.

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Lydia, with her adorable kitten, our host in Kimzha close to Mezen.

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Lydia our host talking to Elinor about her family and history.

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Group photo with Lydia

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All smiles setting up camp.

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Finally reunited with Sacha after her epic tundra crossing.

Look out for future photo essays as we continue to look back at the remarkable Flight of The Swans Expedition. This was first published on the Flight of The Swans expedition here. 

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