Yorkshire Farmer Makes Exploration History

Posted on: 20 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

A farmer from West Yorkshire has earnt a place in the record books as the first person in history to successfully cross the feared Bering Straits in a road vehicle.


Many have tried before him and failed with disastrous consequences after making the mistake of attempting to cross while the straits were covered with ice.

Steve Burgess on the other hand, preferred to wait until the ice had melted in the summer. He then strapped two massive floats on the side of his Land Rover Defender, added a motor and propeller on the back, and headed across 56 miles of water to Wales in Alaska.

The 52-year-old travelled 10,379 miles in 50 days to the easternmost tip of Russia in his Land Rover Defender. Driving across icy tundra and frozen riverbeds with temperatures as low as -46c in some of the remotest places on earth.

The weather was so bad during one stage of the journey, that he was forced to take refuge on the Island of Little Diomede for a few weeks before driving on.

He landed at 1am local time in Alaska, on Friday 8 August, earning his place in history.

“It’s been a phenomenal trip,” says Burgess.

“I can’t say it was all enjoyable – I wouldn’t do it again – but it has been incredible. We were on ice roads virtually all the way from Moscow – thousands and thousands of miles of ice and wilderness.”

“Landing on Wales was brilliant. It was the culmination of nearly nine years work, and to be the first to get across was incredible. I’d watched other people before me try to do it – rich people, big companies, and I thought ‘how am I going to square up to these people?’ But I showed them how it’s done!”

Despite the achievement, Burgess’s epic journey is far from over. After returning to the UK to raise more funds, he plans to drive all the way down North and South America to Cape Horn, after travelling a total of 30,000 miles.

What’s your dream journey? Have you been on a crazy adventure before or are you planning an extreme trip, if so, we want to hear from you.

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