Spirit of India Run’ by Pat Farmer

Pat Farmer will run over 4600 kms in 60 days starting from Kanyakumari and finishing in Kashmir

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India along with state tourism departments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and union territory of Chandigarh are supporting ‘Spirit of India Run’ by Pat Farmer, a marathon runner from Australia. Pat Farmer will run over 4600 kms in 60 days starting from Kanyakumari and finishing in Kashmir. He has initiated his run on January 26, 2016 celebrating India’s Republic Day and Australia Day.

Farmer is a multiple world record holder for endurance running and has run from the North Pole to the South Pole, and across Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, the Middle East and North America. He has served eight years as a member of Australia’s parliament, with three years as parliamentary secretary for education, science and training. He has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes during his 20 year running career.

Farmer will run on an average 70-80 kms daily through the atates of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and cover a distance of 4600 kms. Farmer’s ‘Spirit of India Run’ is aimed at cementing relations between India and Australia; encourage tourism and personal relationships with a view to create awareness of India as a ‘Must Experience’ destination for travellers from Australia; and support causes and charity, which in the current endeavour, is to raise funds for education of girl child.

‘Spirit of India Run’ is also being supported by Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI), Hotel Association of India, India Heritage Hotels Association, etc. The IATO is providing a set of two experienced and knowledgeable drivers in each state to ensure smooth flow of movement of the vehicles accompanying Farmer.

Farmer is running from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. He commenced the run on January 26, 2016 and would finish the run at Srinagar on March 30, 2016. ‘Spirit of India Run’ commenced in front of Gandhi Madapam, Kanyakumari and was flagged off by the district collector of Kanyakumari.

Farmer will be entering Goa at Margao on February 8. Goa Tourism will be assisting and coordinating all his arrangements while he is in Goa. To fecilitate Farmer, India Tourism, Mumbai along with Goa Tourism will organise an ‘Incredible India Evening’ at Margao on February 8, which will be attended by the members of the media, travel industry, hotel industry, government officials, school students and sports enthusiasts. Farmer will be leaving Goa for his onward journey into Maharashtra on the February 9.

As he enters Maharashtra, India Tourism, Mumbai along with Maharashtra Tourism will welcome him at Banda – border of Maharashtra. State government officials and tourism officials along with sports enthusiasts from Sindhudurg district will also be present. Farmer will be in Maharashtra for 11 days, covering Velagar, Malvan, Mithgavane, Ratnagiri, Valneshwar, Dapoli, Lonere, Pen, Shirsad and Kasa, and will be in Mumbai on February 17.

Further, Gujarat Tourism will take over the arrangements for Farmer at Bhilad, the Gujarat entry point. He will be in Gujarat from February 21-27, covering Vapi, Navsari, Ankleshwar, Por, Chaklasi, Ahmedabad and Himmatnagar. Farmer will further proceed to Rishabhdev where Rajasthan Tourism will take over the arrangements of the ‘Spirit of India Run’ along with the India Tourism, Jaipur

Hiring a Campervan for a Trip along an Outback Track

The route you choose to take affects your choice of a campervan when you visit the Outback of Australia. If you are a true adventurer, then you need to make sure your campervan offers such features as four-wheel drive, especially if you plan to navigate an off-road course. One of the iconic tracks in this respect is the Birdsville Track, a travel route that spans 517 km from Marree to Birdsville. A drive over this route takes you across a harsh and remote landscape.

A Desert Oasis

Despite the extremely dry atmosphere, the land adjacent to the track is good for raising cattle. A rare rain and flooding from the north can transform the sunburnt land into a spring – a basin that enables cattle to survive during spells of drought. If you take this remote course, you will be surrounded by a desert landscape, including the Tiari and Sturt’s Stony deserts in the central and southern part and the Strzelecki and Simpson deserts to the north.

Hiring a Campervan

Whilst you may think your efforts to hire a campervan may lead to boredom or fatigue, you will find that such a trip is anything but mundane. Although you may come across featureless stretches of land, sand dunes and creek beds will greet you as well. Marree is about 650 km north of the city of Adelaide, and Birdsville is approximately 1,583 km due west of Brisbane.

Large pebbles or gibbers cover the Birdsville Track, although dune crossings present no problems for drivers. You will want to make sure your campervan is a four-wheel drive to manage and navigate over the precipitous trail. This particular track is historical as it was first established in the 1860s.

A Review of the Track’s History

At one time, the Birdsville Track served as the primary stock route for ushering cattle from the centre of Queensland to the Marree railway. In those days, the track had a formidable reputation, as both people and cattle died along the trail. Because of a dearth of surface water, the government created artesian bores along the route. In turn, fewer animals and people suffered fatalities. In early times, crossing the Natterannie sand hills along the track was difficult. However, the dunes have been clay-capped and do not cause any issues presently.

You do not want to plan this kind of travel without hiring the right campervan. Discuss your travel plans with the campervan dealer to make sure you are on the right course for a choice in a vehicle. The vans today are both luxurious and well-equipped, so choosing the right van is not difficult.

When you choose the right van, you can enjoy such sites as the Cannuwaukaninna Bore. This bore is the easiest bore to access along the Birdsville Track. However, you need to be careful, as the water that pours out of the artesian spring is practically near the boiling point. This spot is also good for picnicking and watching birds. You will be glad you stopped at this point if you are an avian enthusiast.