Scots rally trio feared execution after war zone blunder

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THREE Scots feared a night-time desert execution after they stumbled into a warzone during a 10,000-mile rally race.

Dave Munroe was travelling through Turkey when disaster almost struck his Mongol Rally team.

Camping in the desert one night, the trio ignored “fizzing sounds” they thought were fireworks. Shortly afterwards, Dave stumbled out of his tent to see both teammates kneeling half-naked in front of armed soldiers.

Muir, Dave and Josh in Turkey before the incident
Muir, Dave and Josh in Turkey before the incident

 

The terrified trio from Berwickshire discovered that they were in the middle of the battle zone between Turkish government forces and Kurdish rebels.

The Turkish army, fearing the Scots were rebels, had fired warning shots over the tent and then moved in with machine guns and armoured vehicles.

Luckily, the team got away with a severe reprimand from army commanders and stern advice to spend future evenings in the safety of town.

The trio with their car at the start of the journey
The trio with their car at the start of the journey

 

The three lads – Dave, 25, from Greenlaw, Muir Gibb, 26, from Duns and Josh Hebdon, 25, from Leitholm – were roughly halfway through the Rally which saw them travel 10,000 miles from the south of England to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.

Despite travelling in a clapped-out Nissan Micra, their journey had ran relatively smoothly until they reached Turkey, where the army was on high alert.

The trio wrongly thought they would be safer spending the night in a secluded campsite, rather than finding a room in town.

They travelled 10,000 miles in total
They travelled 10,000 miles in total

 

Dave said: “We were travelling through an area where in the days before there had been a suicide bombing by Kurdish rebels.

“We thought, to be a bit safer, we wouldn’t stay in a town but we’d drive out a little way, get off the track and camp.

“So we got out there, and we started getting the tents set up, when I hear this fizzing sound go over my head – it was just like a firework but without the bang at the end.

A map shows the route the boys took
A map shows the route the boys took

 

“I said to the other two that something was up, but they weren’t having it.

“I was just drifting off when I heard something else, and I pull open my tent to see all this sudden bright light everywhere, and Josh and Muir, nearly naked, kneeling outside their tents.

“There are these soldiers everywhere with big machine guns, and this guy, obviously their boss, gets out of a massive armoured vehicle.”

The lads in Bosnia
The lads in Bosnia

 

Thankfully, the man spoke English and they were able to explain themselves before being sent on their way.

They eventually managed to make it to the Mongolian capital, with the help of miniature bottles of whisky used as border bribes.

Upon their arrival they found out that news of their encounter had already made them legends amongst other teams.

Camping in Uzbekistan
Camping in Uzbekistan

 

Dave added: “It was fantastic to get legend status on the Mongol Rally straight away like that.

“It was great to see all these different cultures and the way people live in different countries.”

The three lads raised over £1,000 throughout the journey, which they donated to charity once they had completed the mammoth distance.

Their trusty car was passed onto another trio who were looking for a cheap way to explore the country.

Muir and Josh continued their travels to Beijing and New Zealand, whilst Dave returned to Edinburgh where he now lives.

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