Russia ban for Hull's round-the-world walker Karl Bushby
GLOBAL trekker Karl Bushby has been banned from entering Russia for five years, dashing his hopes of resuming his epic walk.
Former Parachute Regiment soldier Karl, of east Hull, has walked about 20,000 miles since setting off on his round-the-world walk 15 years ago.
He has dodged drug cartels in South America, survived jungles and crossed the deadly Bering Strait.
But there has been no evading Russian red tape on the latest leg of his journey, says his frustrated support team.
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Karl's dad, former SAS soldier Keith Bushby, who runs the Odyssey XXI expedition from his Hereford home, said: "Karl sent off his passport, requesting a three-month visa, as he has done previously, enabling him to resume his walk.
"But this time the Russians have told him, because of a border violation last year, he is banned for five years."
Keith said his son had not been aware he was crossing a state border when he was picked up by police.
"Not even the police could tell Karl exactly where the border was," he said.
"Karl had hired a man to help organise his route, fuel and other supplies.
"He had documentation with him, but you could have a cart-load of forms and you would still not have enough for the Russians.
"Over here, a guy could cross from Yorkshire to Lancashire, no problem. But in Russia, borders are a different ball game."
Karl, 42, was driven 300 miles to a police station, where he was questioned and fined, before being driven back to the spot where he was arrested.
Keith said: "The dangerous and biggest parts of the expedition are done. It's a simple walk back home now.
"Unfortunately, the only thing stopping Karl is this red rape."
Keith believes strained diplomatic relations between Russia and the West are not helping their cause.
"The West is still at loggerheads with the Russians, so I do not see them giving way," he said. "But maybe in a couple of years they will relent."
The Russians are notoriously strict about the granting of visitor's visas.
Karl has only ever been offered three-month visas, meaning he had to return to Alaska or Mexico, where he has friends, which incurred considerable time and expense.
Later this year, Karl plans a 3,000-mile walk from Los Angeles to Washington, in the hope of drumming up support.
Keith said: "Karl will walk across America, crossing Death Valley, to Washington, where he hopes to meet with Russian representatives.
"He has this ban to serve, so this walk across America will not do any harm."
Karl is currently in America meeting media moguls and potential sponsors.
He first entered Russia in 2006 after crossing the frozen Bering Strait.
It was not long before Karl encountered problems gaining the necessary visa and other official documents to satisfy Russian border guards.
Besides Russia, the expedition has taken him through South America, the US and Canada.
The journey is defined by two rules set by Karl.
He is not allowed to return to the UK until he arrives on foot, ensuring a continuous unwavering effort to achieve his goal.
And he cannot be assisted by any form of transport.
Keith said: "Karl briefly considered walking again from China, missing out Russia and returning to it later.
"But he quickly ruled that out."
Visit www.odysseyxxi.com for more information on Karl's walk.