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The Caravan Club Elddis of the Year 2003

Glossop to Canberra and back again….

The Caravan Club Elddis of the Year Award for 2003 - Presented on the Caravan Club Stand at the National Boat, Caravan & Outdoor Show NEC on Friday 20th February 2004.

Now in its second year, this prestigious award presented by The Caravan Club and sponsored by Elddis, recognises the special achievements of touring devotees. The worthy recipient for 2003 is Graham Kelly who in the last 18 months has travelled 43,100 miles from Glossop in the UK to Canberra in Australia and back.

Who is Graham and why was the trip he made worthy of special recognition? In Graham's own words, "I've got a bit of an interest in Land Rovers, love trucks, love driving and enjoy working and travelling in foreign lands.

Combining these desires, I decided to travel overland from my home in Glossop in the UK, to Canberra in Australia and then back again. My vehicle of choice was a Land Rover Forward Control 101 complete with living quarters, and a Merlin Safari trailer in tow.”

Why to Canberra? Graham has a mate there who promised to buy him a pint of Guinness if he made it to his doorstep in the rig.

The outbound route began on 16th July 2002 and took Graham from the UK, through Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, back into Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor and then finally into Australia. When he arrived in Canberra on 11th September 2003, he'd covered a total of 31,800 miles (51,200km).

On departure from the UK, Graham's return route was still unknown. He had considered shipping the complete unit to the USA, and then onward shipment to Europe before travelling back to the UK. However, he decided to leave his return route open "…in case something interesting happened along the way”.

Having had a Formula 1 style pit stop in Perth during which a completely new set of wheels and modified body panels were fitted, Graham decided to ship his trusty transport to Dubai for the first leg of the return journey.

From Dubai, Graham travelled across the Straits of Hormuz into Iran, and then wandered overland from there back home via Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Belgium.

During the 18 months on the road, Graham clocked up a total mileage 43,100 miles (69,400km).

Now back in the UK, Graham has been hard at work updating his website, www.landyman.co.uk. The site gives a fascinating and detailed account of Graham's adventures and was designed to provide information to other travellers, keep his friends up to date with his whereabouts, and provide a few smiles in-between.

As Graham says, "Every country has its own crazy idiosyncrasies, some of which can only be recognised by a foreign person travelling its roads”.

Congratulations, Graham, you are indeed a worthy recipient of The Caravan Club Elddis of the Year Award for 2003

A nomination form for the 2004 award can be found on-line at www.Elddis-group.co.uk or can be sent addressed to The Caravan Club Elddis of the Year Award 2004 c/o Elddis Ltd, Elddis House, Delves Lane, Consett, Co Durham, DH8 7PE.