Fife student taking on 10,000 mile project

Charles Stevens cycled the old Silk Road in 2016.
Charles Stevens cycled the old Silk Road in 2016.

A University of St Andrews student is to travel more than 10,000 miles over 64 days, as part of a project to detail one of the world’s most ambitious infrastructure schemes.

Charles Stevenson (21), a second year history student, is the founder of the New Silk Road Project, which will explore China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The initiative is a $4 trillion scheme which includes construction developments in 68 countries.

“We will be following the arteries of this emerging trade route across Eurasia, looking at the people, places and companies helping to refashion global trade in the 21st century,” Charles said.

“We have an interest in the effect this is having on the locals and how it is perceived in these communities.”

Charles and his team of five will be visiting more than 24 projects across Eurasia, interviewing staff and managers.

The group will start in London on June 1, before crossing over to Belgium.

The 10,000 mile trip will see them heading through Europe up to Russia, then south to Turkey, and then heading east to China, taking in numerous countries including Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Throughout the trip, the group will be uploading videos and blogs on their website – www.thenewsilkroadproject.com.

Charles got the idea for the project having cycled the original Silk Road in 2016 in a bid to become one of the youngest people in the world to have completed the feat.

He said the endurance challenge gave him a “first-hand insight” into the various projects being undertaken as part of the BRI.

Now, after 10 months of planning, the group are preparing to head off.

The team have been sponsored by Jeep, which has provided them with a new Wrangler Rubicon to take them on their huge journey.

Charles explained that the BRI, while a Chinese project, will have an impact on the UK.

“Although this is a Chinese initiative, in the world that live in, this will have consequences in the UK,” he told the Citizen.

“It’s important for understanding the future of UK-China relations and where the UK sits in the world, that we understand what is happening.”

The group are still looking for other volunteers who might want to take part in the project.

If you would like to take part, visit the group’s website.