Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
The motorcycle journey of a lifetime is back. After riding from London to New York the Long Way Round in 2004, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have announced they are to saddle up and take on another iconic adventure, this time travelling the Long Way Down through Europe and Africa.
Their 15,000-mile (25,000 km) journey on two BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorcycles starts in early May at John O'Groats, Scotland and finishes at the most southern point of South Africa - Cape Agulhas. Taking in 20 spectacular countries in total, it will be a long and arduous journey before Ewan and Charley reach their final destination.
They will ride across Libya, through the desolate deserts of Sudan and the tribal wastelands of Ethiopia. From the jungles of Uganda, through Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana and on to the wilds of the Skeleton coast, this is a journey for the most intrepid adventurers and along the way Ewan and Charley will stop to experience African culture, meet local people and visit UNICEF sites
Ewan with the R 1200 GS Adventure that will take him from Scotland to South Africa
Ewan and Charley have carefully planned their route to visit those countries which they feel will provide inspiration to themselves and others, and are both itching to get back in the saddle again.
"I can't imagine not ever thinking about some adventure," said Ewan McGregor. "Long Way Round changed us all - it bonded us all together and made our dreams come true - and it's not often something like that happens. It has become the most popular thing for people I don't really know to ask me about - more so than any movie! Long Way Down is something you can not only daydream about, but actually do."
Following his exploits in the Lisbon-Dakar Rally last year, Charley Boorman has been eager to return to Africa and see more of this amazing continent: "From when we finished Long Way Round and first met in London afterwards, we started talking about Africa. We learned so much on Long Way Round because we were honest about what we came across on the way - the show was the journey - nothing more. A few weeks after Long Way Round we had maps out already for the next big world journey - and Africa seemed like the obvious choice."
The boys working on their bikes
Long Way Down is being produced and directed by Russ Malkin of Big Earth and David Alexanian of Elixir Films, who have witnessed and documented Ewan and Charley's previous Long Way Round and Race To Dakar adventures. And it was when the team was in Africa that the idea for Long Way Down suddenly gathered momentum, as Russ Malkin explains: "Long Way Down cropped up a lot during the Race to Dakar in 2006, but it wasn't until Dave and Ewan came to Dakar - right at the end, when we were covered in dust, they called us over and said we should do it. At that moment, the trigger was pulled and Long Way Down was happening. Long Way Round was a boy's own adventure and there aren't many of those left in the world. This is more risky than Long Way Round, but if we all turn up in Cape Town healthy and happy, that will be the most amazing moment in my life."
Ewan and Charley will be supporting UNICEF, CHAS and Riders for Health on their travels and the www.longwaydown.com website will keep fans across the world updated with all the latest information on the trip, including the opportunity to view unreleased footage and pre-order copies of the book and DVD. The Long Way Down television series will be shown on the BBC in Autumn/Winter 2007.