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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Epic ride across outback near end
Anna Hingley
Anna is travelling from Broome to Cairns in Australia
An English woman is preparing to finish the ride of a lifetime - a 2,000-mile trek through the Australian Outback.

Anna Hingley, 24, began her epic journey in January with her Australian boyfriend and six horses they caught and tamed beforehand.

Along the way the veterinary nurse from Stourbridge, West Midlands, has faced searing heat and deadly snakes.

She set off from Broome in Western Australia and will end her journey in Cairns, Queensland, on 5 August.

'Quiet but determined'

Her mother, Marlene, has been keeping in touch with her through weekly phone calls.

She said: "Anna has always been a special girl. She is quiet and unassuming but very determined."

Anna's adventure began two years ago when she decided to take a break from her job and travel to Australia.

Anna Hingley and John Ostwald
Anna met boyfriend John while travelling alone in Australia
Travelling from Sydney to Darwin she met John Ostwald, 28, a man her mother describes as a Crocodile Dundee-type and a horse whisperer with a passion for wild horses.

"John was driving the bus. They got chatting and discovered they both had a passion for horses," Mrs Hingley said.

The couple kept in touch and when they both visited her Stourbridge home at Christmas they had already discussed plans to do the trek.

"It had always been John's passion to do this ride.

"My attitude was that Anna should go for it. Something like this comes along only once," her mother said.

Barren land

The ride has taken them across some of Australia's most barren land. The couple have to do most of their riding during the early morning as a break from the heat which can reach 100F (37C).

Anna Hingley
The couple face temperatures of 100F
The rains came late to the area meaning the couple have struggled to get their team of horses across the rivers and there have also been a couple of near misses with snakes.

The city of Cairns is waiting to greet the two riders who have been raising money for Australia's Angel Flight - a charity which provides air transport for patients needing treatment from distant hospitals.

Anna's family, including her twin sister Abbie and younger sister Lucy, will be there to greet her.

"I don't know if we haven't lost her to Australia for good," her mother said.




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