03-Mar-2005 -- This is a journey from Ulaanbaatar (UB) in Mongolia to Kirriemuir in Scotland, covering 110 degrees of longitude and visiting 15 CPs on the way. The story starts at 47°N 105°E. This is CP 9. The previous point is 47°N 93°E.
From Khovd the journey to Bayan Olgii is not long but does go high (two passes over 2600 metres) and therefore needs care as there is a lot of snow around. Sylvia took us over first pass and then left us in a snow drift for Erka to extract us. She then resumed her normal sleeping position. Erka and David finished the drive down to Bayan Olgii. Olgii is the only aimag of Mongolia which has a majority Kazach population. The aimag centre has a “foreign” feel to it as the language is different, the population look different and there are mosques in the town. We decided to do the point first.
The point lies just a couple of km NE of the centre. We drove up the road leading towards Achit nuur and then walked 500 hundred metres up to the point. The snow here was crossed by many animal tracks – sheep and goats are kept in the aimag centre and walk out daily to grazing lands away from the town. We passed one man collecting wood – the only wood is low thorny shrubs – a lot of effort for the amount of heat they will produce. The town lies under a pall of smoke in the valley bottom.
It is interesting to note that despite the huge size of the country there are several points close to towns (Bayan Olgii, Ulaangom, Erdenet and Ulaanbaatar).
While Sylvia went off to see friends Erka and I explored the town and had an early night in the comfortable hotel. This was the last night we got up to start the car during the night (12 and 3am).
Next morning – 6am – off to the Russian border. Farewell to Mongolia and see what customs will do to us. Continued on 56°N 71°E.