30,000 mile pub crawl that started with a pint on Dartmoor

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

A man has driven a sports car across 21 countries, starting at the most northerly pub in the world and finishing at the most southerly – the idea coming to him while having a drink in a pub on Dartmoor.

Ben Coombs, 38, from Plymouth, drove 30,000 miles across three continents from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost tip of Chile. It took him seven months to complete the challenge.

The journey started on the Norwegian island of Svalbard in an abandoned mining settlement called Pyramiden, which has a population of four.

Mr Coombs said finding the northernmost bar “was an easy investigative process. Pyramiden is less than 700 miles from the North Pole, is the northernmost settlement on earth with a permanent civilian population, and has only one bar,” he added.

“The residents all live in the only building still functioning – the town’s old hotel – which happens to have a still-functioning bar.”

To find the most northerly and southerly pub, Mr Coombs looked for licensed premises where anybody could walk in off the street and buy a beer. Although there are bars in Antarctica they are located on bases and are not accessible to members of the public or are not licensed.

So Mr Coombs looked for the southernmost settlement outside Antarctica, and came across Puerto Williams in Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

From Pyramiden, Mr Coombs drove his green 20-year-old TVR Chimaera, called Kermit, across Europe to Southampton from where the car was shipped to New York in August. The final destination was Puerto Williams, where Mr Coombs arrived on 12 February and found the southernmost bar.

“It’s a bit of a dive actually,” he said. “There are probably more appealing places to travel 30,000 miles to get to, but that’s not really the point. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.”

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