A YOUNG adventurer from Bolton has become the first person in history to officially ride from India to Pakistan.
Steve McCutcheon, from Bromley Cross, has now left Pakistan and is now making his way across China as part of his epic 6,000-mile horseback journey along the ancient Asian silk routes.
Steve, aged 26, saddled up for the mammoth trek India to China in November of last year in a bid to become the first person to ride the route made famous by explorers such as Marco Polo.
The former Turton School pupil is hoping to raise at least £100,000 for Action Aid, a charity which aims to improve education in Asia.
According to the Long Riders Guild, he has already been the first person in history to officially ride from New Delhi in India to Lahore in Pakistan.
Steve embarked on his journey, called Ride for Education, after experiencing the poor education provision in Asian schools he had spent time teaching over the past three years.
He has only become a competent horse rider during his travels and, while in Pakistan, he visited 10 schools.
"Visiting schools on this journey is important," Steve said. "These are real examples of education across Pakistan and direct evidence of why donations towards education in Pakistan, India and China are so badly needed."
Recalling the time he left Pakistan and entered China, Steve said: "Individuals have long taken goods across the harshest expanses of Central Asia, seeking their fortune in trade from one side of the world to the other.
"Those individuals belonged to a another time, 1,000 years ago. That time was the Silk Road and those harsh expanses lay in Xinjiang, China.
"Xinjiang is by definition almost timeless. To the north and south, two great mountain ranges lock this region away from the world and, at its centre, sits the deathly wastes of the Takla Makan desert, the second-largest, sand-shifting desert on Earth."
Steve is now at the crossroads of the Takla Makan and Gobi deserts.
After stopping to visit the thousand Buddha caves, Steve will continue his journey west, heading along the Great Wall of China. Then he will make his final approach to Beijing later this year.
People can read about his exciting travels and donate to the cause by logging on to www.r4e.org