The team’s satellite phone in Rwanda is red hot with press interviews from all over the world.
Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre took a breather to give their thoughts on the moment…
Cam – “Fortnum & Mason Hazelnut and Dark chocolate never tasted so good! The last few days have been very testing. It’s been hard work to get here but we’re quite chuffed!
The Rwandan guides were fantastic, they never gave up and they never questioned some testing decisions we made.
It’s very good”
Garth – “After all the trials, tribulations and tragedy we are all totally elated by today.
I am very tired and looking forward to a hot shower! It’s been a long odyssey but worth it”
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Rwandan Government expresses delight at British/ New Zealand Expedition Achievement.
Director General of the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks, Rosette Rugumba has confirmed her delight in the Ascend the Nile team’s achievements.
She confirmed that the Government can’t wait to mark the source. For now they will immediately erect a flag at the spot. This will be followed by an eco-friendly plaque.
She commented “The Expedition means so many things to Rwanda. We know what happened here twelve years ago but it is a true statement that the country is now safe when you have the whole Expedition travelling through it.
We changed history for the wrong reasons now we can change text books for the right reasons. Rwanda is such a small country and yet how exciting it is to have the longest source of the Nile within it.
This is just the beginning. The celebrations are going to go on and on”
Ascend the Nile is complete!
The team have reached the longest source of the longest river in the world
After travelling for 80 days, though five countries and a multitude of experiences a delighted Neil McGrigor, Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre have reached the source of the Nile.
For the past five days they have treked through the river and forest in pouring rain but they reached the source today in bright sunshine.
Minutes after Neil McGrigor arrived at the source he said “It’s an awesome achievement by the whole team. The planning and preparation has all paid off. My thanks go to everyone who has made this possible and especially the guides and local people who are with us now at the source.”
A low point without a doubt
“We’ve been wading up to our knees in marshy water today. It’s just hellish here” – Neil McGrigor reports.
He went on to say that the team reached a real low point yesterday. They had thought that Wednesday was bad enough but in fact it got worse. They have been clambering over rocks and through thick vegetation just to keep sight of the all important Nile. The river almost disappeared in some places and then reappeared as a strong flow.
Neil says spirits are now rising a little as they can almost “smell” the source.
So near and yet..
Neil McGrigor, Cam McLeay and Garth MacIntyre are just hours away from the source of the Nile but fading light has forced them to stop for the night.
They will resume at first light tomorrow.
Maybe not today – that’s the latest news from the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda.
Despite their best efforts and real desire to reach the source of the Nile it looks like the frustrating conditions in the Forest have held them up for yet another day.
The rains are still falling hard and even the experienced local guides are finding this trek tough.
With only a couple of kilometres to go it’s really becoming a severe test of the team’s stamina, will and patience.
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The second Party Leaders Debate is taking place this Thursday starting at 8pm on Sky News. Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron will again be going head to head in a TV debate in the run up to the General Election on May 6th, this time leading on Foreign Affairs.
The first half of the 90 minute Election Debate on Sky News will be devoted to Foreign Affairs, with the rest on any topic. The debate comes from Bristol, and will be chaired by Adam Boulton. Sky are inviting questions before the debate, with more information at http://news.sky.com/skynews/Election/debatequestion
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You can see the debate live anywhere that you usually watch Sky News: Sky Digital Channel 501, Virgin Media Channel 602 and Freeview Channel 82 and online at skynews.com Live Video Streaming. BBC 2 will also be showing the debate in full at 11.30pm after Newsnight.
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In polls published on Tuesday, the Liberal Democrats lead in two, and polled between 34-26% of the vote in all of them:
Angus Reid for PoliticalBetting: LIB DEM 33%, CON 32%, LAB 23%
YouGov in The Sun: LIB DEM 34%, CON 31%, LAB 26%
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ComRes for the Independent/ITV: CON 35%, LIB DEM 26%, LAB 26%
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News from the team is that they have decided to call a halt for the day.They are all exhausted. They are having to cut their way through thick undergrowth and the river keeps disappearing and reappearing.
They are sometimes in the river but then have to take to the bank where the growth is 10/15 ft high.
The team will camp close to the river tonight and push on early tomorrow.
They have 5.2km to go!
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Latest from Sat phone
“Progress very slow. 1km/hr. 7kms to go. Excitement here – it looks like river may be much longer than even I thought!”
12.50 BST – more news from the Forest!
Just in from Sat phone
“11 kms to go. Very slow progress. We are wading in the river as the vegetation too dense in places. River 6ft wide now. Flow 6km/hour. Warm and sunny. Cold at night. 7860ft”
So near so tough
Noon BST:1300 Rwanda
News just received via the Sat phone indicates that the source will not be reached tomorrow but is more likely to be early on 30 March.
The going is getting very tough indeed and much time is being spent just making a clearing through the dense, lush Forest. The rainy season weather is making life easy either. A soggy and taxing trek.
It’s getting very close!
The latest report from Rwanda is that the team should reach the source of the Nile tomorrow.
Neil, Cam and Garth finally abandoned the three Zap Cats on the morning of the 26 March. As expected, and despite heavy rainfall in the past few days, they simply ran out of water in the river.
The team’s progress on foot has been nothing short of remarkable. They have now entered the Nyungwe National Park in South West Rwanda. Despite its name this is no walk in the park.
Nyungwe is a full blown mountain rain Forest, severely undulating, overgrown and, at the moment, very slippery underfoot. Rwanda’s impressive conservation laws dictate that the team now have to travel with guides from the Park and they are also travelling with a tracker. This Forest is home to a number of groups of both habituated and wild chimpanzees. These would be amazing to encounter on the way to the Source but only if prepared!
The team have also resorted to the use of a small number of porters to assist with the minimum of equipment they require to trek duing the day and camp over night.
Despite the terrain and the weather the team are now within striking distance of their goal, the precise pinpointing of the longest source of the longest river in the world.
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