VIDEO: Horncastle to Istanbul cycle DAY 38 - ​Sleep deprivation and "interesting" campsites

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​Brutal 36°c temperatures, forest fires, and sleep deprivation in unique campsites have made the last week a challenge for two hard-core cyclists.

​​Paul Bargh and Neil Steeper are currently cycling from Horncastle and Scunthorpe respectively to Istanbul, raising money for Horncastle Squash Club, Cancer Research UK, and both of Paul’s former primary schools, Frithville Primary School and New York Primary School.

When we last caught up with them, they were due to arrive in Bratislava, which will mean they have reached the halfway point of their epic challenge.

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And now they have passed that halfway mark past Budapest, Hungary, and have now even made it into Veliko Gradiste, Serbia.

Paul Bargh on the balcony of their Air B&B in Belgrade.Paul Bargh on the balcony of their Air B&B in Belgrade.
Paul Bargh on the balcony of their Air B&B in Belgrade.

"Yesterday we cycled 77km and there was a forest fire in Romania caused by a lightening strike, so it’s all been very exciting!” Paul said on Tuesday (July 9), “We’ve had an interesting few days in Serbia, the trip is becoming more demanding as the temperatures have been higher and facilities have been more “interesting”.

"Some of the campsites we’ve seen on Google Maps have ended up not existing as the locals knew nothing about them, so we’ve had to continue on – we did 105km on one day because the campsite wasn’t accessible so we ended up in a B&B because we couldn’t go any further.”

Paul said they found that many of the camping sites in Serbia turned out to be in the gardens of country homes, and because of this one memorable site they sound themselves in this week had no shower facilities except an outdoor tap, and was riddled with ants and mosquitos, and dogs barking during the night meant the duo got very little sleep.

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"As we cycled today [Tuesday], we heard a wild boar grunting in the forst about 30metres away – we cycled a lot faster!” Paul added.

Paul Bargh and Neil Streeter admire the view through Serbia.Paul Bargh and Neil Streeter admire the view through Serbia.
Paul Bargh and Neil Streeter admire the view through Serbia.

They have also dealt with a number of mechanical issues to their bikes, including replacing three spokes on Paul’s bike, but they are still making good progress and should be crossing into Bulgaria either today (Thursday) or tomorrow, before briefly travelling through Romania, and then back into Bulgaria.

The hot temperatures, Paul said, meant that they’ve had to take on electrolytes as well as 6-7litres of water, and take precautions to protect themselves from the sun.

"We’re doing this for Cancer Research, so the last thing we need is to contract skin cancer,” Paul added.

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You can follow their progress on Strava at, and make a donation to their cause via their JustGiving page at

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