I’ve never shied away from a challenge, in fact, I thrive on them but 3 marathons, the e’tape du tour and a cycle to Paris is nothing compared to this …
On Thursday 17 January, my friend and I went to a talk at the Royal Geographical Society. I had no idea what the topic was until I got there as I was gifted the ticket for my birthday. Upon entering the RGS, I saw that Sir Chris Bonnignton and Jim McNeill were going to be ‘in conversation’. After a quick Google on both of the men on stage, I found out that Jim is a polar explorer and Sir Chris is one of the best known mountaineers of all time.
This excited me.
I sat through the talk listening to their adventures, stories of conquering mountains, Polar Regions and pushing their minds, bodies and spirits. After the talk, my friend and I went for the obligatory glass of wine. Chatting about the adventures, the mountains and the Arctic, Chris Brisley came over to talk. He mentioned that he was in training for an expedition to the Pole of Inaccessibility…. What is this, I asked. I soon found out that he was part of a 28 person team to walk (ski walk) to the Arctic Pole. Questioning him more on the ‘walk’, I found out that they were heading from Canada to the Arctic Pole in February 2015 and perhaps, most importantly, that the team had not been finalised.
I sat on this information for a few days, dreaming about walking to Arctic (literally dreaming for 3-nights in a row) before I decided to contact Jim McNeill, or Polar Jim as I like to call him.
I read more and more about Jim’s training, his time in the Arctic, his Frozen Planet days and what training was involved to be part of the ‘Pole of Inaccessibility’ team. I decided that although I’m not a particular fan of the cold (I’m a sunshine worshipper, sea jumper, sun bather) I wanted to try and survive the basic polar expedition training in Norway from 17-23 Feb… ‘going to the arctic’ is on my bucket list.
In the last 4-weeks I have met Chris, met Polar Jim, hired, purchased, borrowed, begged for kit from colleagues and friends; now I am about to embark on an adventure to Svalbard in Norway.