Rathfinny Wine Estate

Cradle of the human race

Rathfinny Wine Estate, here in ‘sunny’ Sussex is nestled in Cradle Valley which lends its name to our still wine.  Mark, our chef here on the Estate, recently travelled to a place described by Mark Twain as the “cradle of the human race” – India.  We felt we should hand this weeks blog over to him.

I have just returned from a road trip through the heart of India to raise awareness and cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  This is my report from the Dumball Rally 2017.  The idea was to borrow some ancient Mahindra Jeeps from some very nervous owners and drive around 2,000 km in 8 days through the heart of rural India.  There followed a fantastic adventure across one of the most amazing countries this planet has to offer.

We started in a tent in the Rajasthan desert with cold water and ended up in Goa in a beach hut with cold water! We drove through squalor and glitz, saw the rich and the very, very poor.  There were amazing smells and rich colours everywhere.  Our cars had vague steering, questionable brakes and intermittent lights.  We broke gearboxes, clutches, fuel pumps, fixed a leaky diesel line with a condom and gaffer tape, and had bald tyres that should have been on F1 cars and were branded Gripper!

We befriended an army of dogs, loved many puppies, dodged camels, goats, buffalo, sheep and pedestrians.  Saw dolphins, fruit bats and chipmunks, fed fish and eagles, drunk Kingfisher beer (other brands are available – Ed) and saw the ‘real’ things at the waters edge.  We shook a city full of hands, took a million selfies, and saw a zillion smiles.  We went from 2 degrees in the desert to 37 degrees in Goa.

We experienced roads that weren’t roads, roads without tarmac, and potholes like sinkholes.  We swam in the Arabian Sea, laughed over squids or squitts, washing hands in urinals and feet in dog bowls.  We sat and watched amazing sunsets with amazing new friends, said goodbye to others and raised £130,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  We drove 1400 miles with 130 people in 41 cars to 8 cities in 8 days, but there’s only 1 DUMBALL …


Mark Goodwin




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