Long Way Down

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Saturday 12 October 10:30pm

A coffee house chat leads to an incredible opportunity after Ewan and Charley meet Rwanda’s Minister of Tourism. She kindly invites them to her brother’s wedding – which the boys crash – and in the process they meet the President of Rwanda. The President requests a visit the next day, and the boys go on a frantic search for proper suits, leading to some questionable design choices. With mixed emotions, the team meet President Kagame, who shares his story as a Rwandan refugee in Uganda, and his efforts to help Rwanda restore itself after genocide. Reaching the Tanzanian border, the group prepares for its next border crossing when team medic Dai realises his passport is missing. After several hours of searching, the boys are about to turn back when Dai finds it – in his other trousers. Taking a well-earned day off, the boys stop at Katavi National Park and are blown away by the park’s beauty. Finally reaching the Tanzania/Malawi border, Ewan and his wife Eve are reunited after several months apart. After plenty of hugs, they jump on their bikes and ride off onto the roads of Malawi, but Eve hits problems with the sand, taking multiple tumbles.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 05 October, 10:30pm

Struggling for hours, the boys are finally able to move the bikes and support vehicles across the muddy river. Riding to Naivasha, Charley and Ewan meet up with Charley’s old friends who give them an unforgettable plane ride over Kenya. Travelling next to Uganda, the boys stop at a local coffee factory before venturing into Northern Uganda. Far too dangerous for them to ride, the boys take a short flight to visit another UNICEF site where they meet former child soldiers. The stories are heartbreaking and Charley and Ewan are overwhelmed. Hitting the road, Charley feels settled and confident in his riding, entertaining locals with his bike stunts. Arriving at the wrong border, the group scramble to meet their fixer at the right Rwandan border to make it across before it closes. But, the route is blocked, as a truck has overturned. With the clock ticking, the bikes ride ahead and make it through just before nightfall. Now in Rwanda, Ewan is anxious to see the changes to a country that was torn apart by genocide 13 years ago. Venturing into the Rwandan mountains, Ewan and Charley encounter a family of gorillas, overjoyed at seeing these magnificent animals up close.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 28 September, 11:30pm

Over the Kenyan border, the boys find themselves stuck in bandit country after a mechanical issue with one of the bikes. With nowhere else to go, Ewan and Charley must set up camp alongside a road on which they have been warned not to stop. Well aware of the dangerous surroundings, the boys settle in for a long night. The next day, Ewan and Charley are emotionally hit during a visit at a local primary school – site of a horrific massacre in 2005. Riding on, Ewan struggles with his motorcycle, finding the particularly tough terrain to be incredibly challenging. Arriving at their lodge, the boys are welcomed to camp by the site of elephants grazing off in the distance: the first big game sighting for the group. Visiting Losai National Park, Charley and Ewan meet Sanburu tribesmen who are preparing for the circumcision ritual of the teenage sons – Charley and Ewan wince at the thought! Traversing over soft sand as they continue across Kenya, the boys are barely able to stay upright. Finding themselves face-to-face with extensive muddy water, the team must get the bikes and cars through or turn back and find another way.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 21 September, 10:30pm

Motorcycling through Sudan, Ewan and Charley contrast the Sudan discussed in the news to the country they have seen firsthand. Preparing to leave, the local police chief takes Ewan’s bike out for a test drive much to Ewan’s disagreement. After a brief stop in Khartoum, Ewan and Charley set out for Ethiopia under the blistering sun. Arriving late, the boys must spend the night in customs. The boys have a full agenda while in Ethiopia, visiting one of its oldest churches. The boys also visit the Eritrean border with armed guards and meet with UNICEF to discuss local efforts to prevent landmine fatalities. The trek to Addis Ababa is difficult – Ewan is tired and has a big fall from his bike. While Ewan comes away from his fall physically unscathed, the boys are at an all time emotional low. Weary after five weeks without a break, Charley and Ewan are tired of trying to beat the clock. Acknowledging the distance between them, things between Charley and Ewan come to a head. After an unpleasant morning, the boys take a step back, evaluating what they would like to take away from the trip. With the air clear and the journey half way done, the boys are ready for the second half of this experience of a lifetime.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 14 September, 10.30pm

Stopping at the Tobruk War Cemetery, Ewan and Charley press on with their journey. Arriving safely in Egypt, the team reunites with the two Americans from the trip who were unable to make the journey into Libya. With the deadline of catching the weekly ferry from Egypt to the Sudan rapidly approaching, the hard rides are taking its toll. The boys have just enough time to stop for lunch in Alexandria before heading straight to Cairo. Spirits are lifted as Charley and Ewan take an incredible ride by the pyramids. After a private tour of the pyramid of Khufu, the team receives an armed escort for the last three hours to Luxor – travelling through countless checkpoints. Taking a detour from the trip, Ewan and Charley fly down to Kenya to visit Riders for Health – a charity which helps using local health practitioners get around to patients using bikes. Heading back to Egypt, the boys catch the ferry to cross the border into Sudan and their first day biking on the sand in Sudan. With nothing but tough roads and 44 degree Celsius heat, it looks like another long trek for the team, and Ewan has his first fall of the trip.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 7 September, 10.30pm

In Rome, Charley and Ewan battle traffic before heading down the winding roads of Sorrento and along the Amalfi Coast. Tensions are high on the ferry ride from Sicily to Tunisia, as voices are raised over safety concerns and Charley’s dangerous bike stunts. The whole group is edgy, making for a shaky beginning to the African adventure. However, the long boat ride helps the team work out some of their differences, and everyone is excited about the first leg of their trip through Africa. Leaving the customs office four bottles of vodka lighter, the group is ready to head through Tunisia and pay a visit to the original Star Wars set. Taking in the beautiful landscapes and the ancient Roman ruins of Leptis Magna, the boys begin to settle into their journey. Riding across the coastal roads of Libya, a sudden change in weather slows their progress to a halt. Putting up camp for the evening, the winds pick up and trouble looms as their first Libyan sand storm approaches. The next day, Charley and Ewan travel well into the night to reach Tobruk, Libya, spending more than 13 hours on the bike – barely able to see from the darkness and sand. Physically drained, they finally arrive in Tobruk.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 31 August, 10.30pm

With more than 24,000 kilometres ahead of them on their upcoming three month trip, Ewan, Charley and the team have much to do. To prepare for travelling through a few dangerous areas, Ewan and Charley spend an afternoon practising how to deal with a hostage situation and difficult border interactions. Meanwhile, Ewan’s wife Eve has asked to ride with Ewan and Charley for part of the trip. Ewan is enthusiastic about having her meet them, but Charley has reservations – worrying about her ability to handle riding on tough terrain when she has never ridden a motorcycle before. Before the adventure has even begun, Ewan has a bad fall off his motorcycle in London, breaking his leg. With the departure date just days away, the team still does not have visas for the second African country on the trip: Libya. Heading to Scotland to start their journey, the team gets off to a rocky start – Libyan visas have still not come through for the Americans on the team, Charley’s wife has come down with pneumonia and Charley gets detained at the airport. The team hopes this is not an ominous foreshadow to the rest of the trip.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 31 August, 11.30pm

Making their way from John O’Groats at the top of Scotland, Ewan and Charley begin their epic adventure, riding through the Scottish Highlands. Ewan’s dad and brother join up with the duo for the first part of the trip and all four stop at Ewan’s parents’ house for a dinner to see them off. On the way out of Scotland, Ewan and Charley stop off at Robin House – a children’s hospice – to visit the children, their families and staff. After a miserable ride to London, the team push on to France where they continue with bad luck: facing wind and rain on top of a long day’s ride. Despite arduous weather conditions, the team must stay on a very strict schedule in order to make the ferry from Sicily to Tunisia. Arriving in Italy, Ewan and Charley camp out by Lake Como, breaking bread with a biking couple who share their own stories of motorcycling through Africa. Reaching Siena, they come across a classic car festival, and the boys are in their element.