The Long Riders' Guild

Ian Robinson

 

Ian Robinson has the reputation as something of an 'extreme' traveller: he has ridden on horseback alone, across some of the most isolated and uncompromising parts of the world - through the high grasslands of Mongolia and into mountainous Tibet. He has published books on both these experiences to considerable acclaim. He has also written about quieter places, close to home - a journey exploring the beauty and byways of the Coromandel Peninsula, and most recently, on the Hauraki Gulf, where he discovered the wonders of the coast around the Gulf and of its 'treasure' islands lying so close to the bustle of urban Auckland.

 

While Ian Robinson was born and raised in rural New Zealand, he's covered a lot of ground since then. He's done it the hard way too - backpacking through South America, China, Tibet, Nepal and India. In 1992 he was living in London, and was seized with the idea of travelling across Mongolia, and despite opposition from friends, family and so-called 'experts' who claimed it was impossible, he went on to became the first westerner to cross Mongolia alone on horseback. His battle to find guides, horses and a safe place to sleep in some of the world's wildest and most inhospitable surroundings is an extraordinary testament to his courage, ingenuity and determination. Gantsara - alone across Mongolia tells the fascinating, sometimes frightening and often hilarious story of his amazing journey. From falling in love with an enchanting girl in Ulan Bator to being chased across the steppes by drunken bandits, his story is never dull and is full of the affection and respect he developed for the warm and vital people he came to know and love along the way.

 

On every journey, you must die once - the person who arrives should not be the person who left. - Tibetan proverb You Must Die Once is an epic story. After the death of his spiritual adviser, Ian vowed to deliver his ashes to Mt Kailas, Tibet's most sacred mountain. His journey through some of the world's toughest terrain, alone on horseback, ended in disaster when he was arrested and deported - only to come back two years later. The story of both journeys is enthralling - travel writing at its very best. Fighting cold, exhaustion and runaway horses, he camped in high mountain valleys with wolves, dicing with the elements and altitude sickness. But it is his account of his spiritual and emotional journey, told with wit, warmth and insight, that transcends the ordinary to make this an inspirational account of one man's determination to fulfil a promise.

This photograph is of a Kyrgyz family.

 

In 2008, Ian Robinson ventured into the hustle and bustle and dangers of the streets of many of Afghanistan's cities and towns, and also, alone on horseback, into the sparsely populated north-eastern regions of the country. Compelled by a romantic desire to find the 'old' Afghanistan, loved by many travellers in the hippy days of the '60s and '70s and beguiled by ancient tales of Mughal emperors and the traders on the Silk Road, the Afghanistan Ian found was challenging but also enchanting, in parts frightening and infuriating, but it was an experience he knows will never leave him. 

 

To learn more, click here to go to Ian's website.


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