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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 September 2007, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Three-year Genghis Khan trek ends
Tim Cope arrive in Opusztaszer with horses and dog
The journey took more than double the time Mr Cope anticipated
An Australian man has completed a three-year journey from Mongolia to Hungary, following in the footsteps of the Mongolian leader Genghis Khan.

When Tim Cope began his 10,000 km (6,200 mile) journey in June 2004 he expected it to take 18 months.

However, a stint at home when his father died and other delays meant it took more than double that.

Throughout the trek he travelled on horseback and relied on the hospitality of local people, including nomads.

He travelled with three horses at any time, one to carry him and two to carry feed and supplies and briefly, whilst in Kazakhstan, also used a camel.

He needed 13 horses in total to complete the marathon journey, though two of them - Taskonir and Ogonyok - have been with him since October 2004 when he was in Kazakhstan.

Vodka and raw eggs

His other companion was Tigon, meaning "hawk" or "fast wind", a black and white hunting dog given to him as gift in Kazakhstan, whom he now hopes to take home to Australia.

Tim Cope and Tigon his dog (from Tim Cope Journeys website)
Mr Cope's dog Tigon nearly died when he was stolen in Ukraine
Arriving at his final destination, the Hungarian town of Opusztaszer, Mr Cope paid tribute to the animals saying that they, along with the numerous people who had welcomed him into their homes, were the "real heroes" of the journey.

Both he and the animals faced much hardship as they endured life on the steppes of Asia and Central Europe, experiencing temperature ranging from minus 52C to plus 54C.

On two occasions his horses were stolen and even Tigon was taken whilst in Ukraine.

Mr Cope eventually found him nearly frozen to death, locked inside an ice filled mine shaft.

It took hours in a hot sauna and a diet of raw eggs and vodka to revive the dog, who was not able to continue the journey for three weeks.

Separation fears

Such is the bond between Mr Cope and the animals that he told the Associated Press news agency that he was concerned about letting them go.

"I'm feeling a bit panicky about finishing because I can't imagine saying goodbye to the horses," he was quoted as saying.

According to Hungarian tradition, Magyar leaders arriving in the Carpathian Basin from Central Asia met in Opusztaszer, 90 miles south of Budapest, in 896AD to divide the land they had conquered among themselves.

"Here at the Danube River is where the Eurasian steppe ends, with its beginning in Mongolia and Manchuria," Mr Cope told AP. "So Opusztaszer is the perfect ending symbolically and geographically."

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