Karl Bushby, the British explorer trying to walk 36,000 "unbroken" miles around the globe, is to resume his journey next month in Russia, a country whose stultifying bureaucracy almost killed off his dream.
Almost a year to the day after he was arrested by Russian border guards for not having the right papers, Bushby, a 37-year-old former paratrooper from Hull, will take up at the exact point where he left off.
Bushby's Russian problems have added almost a year to what will be at least a 12-year odyssey and almost put paid to his "Goliath Expedition" altogether.
A court in the remote Arctic region of Chukotka ruled last year that he should be deported and not be allowed back into the country for at least five years for not having the right stamp in his passport. The judgment was a body blow for the divorced father who had just crossed the Bering Strait on foot, the 58-mile ice bridge that links Alaska to Russia. The ruling was overturned on appeal though, possibly with a little help from Roman Abramovich, the region's governor.
His paperwork is now in order and he is set to resume his journey when final documents arrive.
Bushby has already covered about 17,000 miles in eight-and-a- half years, having set off from the southern tip of Chile in 1998. His aim is to walk the 36,000 miles to Hull traversing four continents, 25 countries, one frozen sea, six deserts and seven mountain ranges.
Now that he has overcome Russian bureaucracy, he must battle his way through hundreds of miles of frozen terrain in the Arctic Circle. "The next phase will be desolate," Andrew Cooper, one of his expedition directors, said. "He faces temperatures of minus 40C and high winds. It's quite a challenge."
I'm sure your cheque was possibly quite literally a life-saver for Karl at that stage Mr R, starting as he did with nothing but a one-way flight ticket to South America, his bergan strapped to a golf-cart and a pair of Zamberlan boots (IIRC his only sponsor on Day One) and having only just left 3 Para.
The letter you got wouldn't have been mere courtesy but a genuine 'big thanks' from his 'support team' (ie - his Dad and one of his mates !)
It looks like he's now in a stronger position than he has been in the past but I'm sure any further support will be equally much appreciated !