All around the world! This dynamic duo have travelled over 320,000 km in their beloved Land Rover
Ever fancied travelling the world? This remarkable couple have done just that – covering most of the world’s surface in their beloved Land Rover!
Peter and Eileen Crichton, 72 and 65, have travelled the world in their 3.5 V8i 1991 Land Rover Discovery, named Rabia, having started their epic challenge almost twenty years ago.
The couple have travelled over 320,000Km in their beloved Discovery, cooking on their car engine in Niger, looking out from the Cape of Good Hope and driving across the gruelling Amazon basin.
The dynamic duo, now living near Loughborough, Leices, lived in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s when Peter was Vice President of the Olayan Group, one of the largest private manufacturing operations in the Middle East.
Peter said: “We had lived in Saudi Arabia since 1990 and acquired Rabia soon after her construction in 1991.
“At first the car was used to provide transport while we stayed in the Middle East but it didn’t take long for our journeys to become short expeditions.
“By 1997, our travels in Rabia became more serious and in 1997, after the unification of Yemen, we planned and executed a 8200Km circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula.”
Peter and Eileen have never looked back and named their beloved Land Rover ‘Rabia’, a name used in the Middle East to describe a person empowered to conduct travellers safely through different tribal territories.
Peter said: “In 1998, we completed a second circular expedition through northern Arabia, Jordan and Syria, returning home over the Great Nafud.
“Rabia had opened doors for us that we could not have imagined. There just had to be more.”
Their ambitious plans to reach new horizons were supported by Peter’s employers, the Olayan Group.
A Satellite phone in the vehicle was used to keep in contact with Peter’s office during some extended periods of travel outside the Middle East.
Next up for Peter and Eileen was a trip around the world by the longest land route possible from west to east.
In 1999, they shipped Rabia to Pakistan from Dubai and crossed over the Himalayas into China, embarking on a journey around the remotest parts of the region.
Peter said: “After 3 months of expedition travel we reached the northwest Pacific coast in Siberia and shipped Rabia to North America.
“We restarted the global circuit in Spring 2000 at the most westerly point we could reach in Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, crossing the continent to the very edge of a cliff in Newfoundland three months later.
“It took another 2 months during the autumn to travel back to our start point in the Middle East, discovering for ourselves that the world was indeed round!
“We were immensely proud. We’d travelled 42,000Km through amazing places and probably achieved a first in expedition travel.”
Peter and Eileen didn’t stop there, embarking on a second global circuit in 2002 through the Southern Hemisphere.
After circling Australia they shipped to South America, traversing the 8000Km Inca Trail through the Andes from Chile to Colombia.
They spent 2003 in South America before shipping Rabia to Morocco in the spring of 2004 where they travelled throughout northwest Africa before returning to the UK.
Travels throughout Africa by the couple took much of 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Then, starting in 2010, they drove from a barren headland in northern Scandinavia, the most northerly location on the planet Rabia could get to, before heading over the Equator to reach the most southerly point.
Peter said: “This was one of our proudest moments. We were as close to Cape Horn as it was possible to travel, reaching probably the maximum possible southerly destination for a single vehicle.
“In terms of our personal highlights of our travels, it’s really difficult to say.
“We’d have to mention the Karakoram Highway through northern Pakistan, travelling through the Himalayas to China and also the wild mountainous landscape of the Andes in South America.
“Rabia has never failed us but her personal moment of outstanding success has to be the 700Km crossing of the Amazon Basin from Manaus in Brazil south to reach Bolivia.
“Our journeys have brought us in contact with amazing people as well as amazing landscapes and it has permanently enriched our lives in a way that we could not have anticipated.
“We admired some really important aspects of social cohesion and enduring family values which many remote communities continue to enjoy.
“Without exception, there had been unfailing friendliness from the inhabitants of these more distant places on our route.”
Peter and Eileen’s adventures with Rabia are not over yet! They are currently planning an expedition to follow the so-called Continental Divide starting from Panama and finishing in Canada.
Their next expedition is set to start on 7th December, when Rabia’s engine will start up once more in Veracruz, Mexico.