Trekking across Antarctica (in the field next to my house)
As some of you might have read, I’m lucky enough to be in with a chance of joining the International Scott Centenary Expedition, that will head to Antarctica next year. It all started when I saw a competition in The Telegraph newspaper over christmas and wrote an essay entitled ‘Why Captain Scott is important to me’, which really got me thinking.
I thought the odds of getting this far were pretty slim. So after a few too many mince pies, and whilst I still had a ‘reasonable excuse’ to do something rather silly and totally unnecessary, I geared up and headed out. Over christmas we had a considerable snow fall (for Essex at least), by good fortune, this would provide the perfect setting for a mock South Pole attempt.
Connoisseurs of the polar travel world prefer car tyres as a training tool, but as a lack of these quickly became apparent, I settled for a couple of humble logs and old rope for a harness. A heavy mist descended, adding to the occasion and I rather contentedly trudged across the field in the snow.
I learnt quite a lot in the process:
- Pulling logs is hard work, and so, I assume, must be pulling tyres or sledges. Hats off to Captain Scott.
- Friends and family will think you’re a bit silly, which you are.
- Logs are not designed for sledging and constantly get stuck, which consequently jerks you to a standstill.
- You, appearing through the mist, dragging logs, is not what a casual dog walker was expecting.
- Pulling logs is really quite fun, I wish I’d tried it sooner.
Arguably, one of the best bits was retreating back inside to finish off the leftover turkey, a luxury that the majority of polar explorers would not have. In any case, fortunately, I am not the only young chap pulling things in the snow for fun, and thanks to a bit of ‘The Next Challenge inspiration’, on this occasion, I found my excuse.
Next week I will be attending a selection event, hosted by the Royal Navy. As one of ten, undoubtedly very able candidates, hoping to join the expedition, I think it’s best to just be myself and enjoy the experience. Whatever happens, I’m glad that I had the chance to give sledging a try.