A charity fundraising expedition for 'The Silver Line'
· World record attempt: longest polar ski expedition
· World first route
· Supported with resupply drops due to distance to be covered
· Targeted start date: 1 November 2020
This expedition is a personal initiative with all donations going directly to ‘The Silver Line’ charity.
Ok, so nobody likes to make their Mum cry, and admittedly mine shed a few tears when I first told about my aspiration of crossing Antarctica. …and perhaps a few more when I told her I intended to do it alone.
That said, my family are fully supportive of me trying to achieve my goal except my cousin Shaun, he said go to the beach!
With 115 days continuous travelling, 3,300kms to cover, hauling a pulka weighing over 100kg, and extended exposure at altitude, this expedition is on the edge of human endurance. Attempting it solo also adds the additional challenge of testing my mental fortitude too – because obviously it wasn’t cRaZy enough…
No-one has skied that distance, supported or not, on a single expedition. Only kiters have done more i.e. using wind assistance – similar to kite surfing but on skis. Will Steger and Jean-Louis Etienne led a team in 1990 that was on the ice longer but included three dog sleds and a rotation of 36 dogs.
The expedition is considered a ‘supported crossing’, given I will be navigating to resupply drops at critical pre-determined points along the way. With a finite amount of time available, it is almost physically impossible to cover the distance for this crossing with the weight that would have to be hauled if attempted in one go without them.
There are no guarantees of success, the risks are extremely high – it would be naïve to pretend otherwise – and right now my focus is just making it to the starting line.
Not a day goes by it doesn’t play on my mind, but what trumps any trepidations I may have is a huge feeling of excitement and determination when I think what can be achieved. It’s almost electric at times, and I believe in myself to see me through.
WHY AM I DOING THIS
… this is a question I’ve been asked a lot, by family and friends, and the truth is I’ve struggled to explain ‘why’ and put an answer into words, even to myself.
I love my winter wonderlands. Crossing Antarctica is the ultimate engagement with an environment I love. The stunning landscape, the isolation, the never-ending emptiness. It’s amazing how places so barren can bare down on you with such weight and presence. Arctic environments both command and demand your respect, yet on a whim can be unforgiving and that’s a humbling experience.
I’ve always been someone that tries to push himself past his limits, and this is a once in a life time chance to try and achieve a goal I previously believed was out of reach. A chance to also show that anyone with aspirations can achieve something extraordinary if they try.
Honestly though, I know there is something deep inside driving me forwards on this challenge, but whenever I try to reach for it and unlock the reason it slips away, like a shadow just out of sight it keeps evading. My feeling is I won’t truly have answers until the end, but I’m excited by the prospect of self discovery and enlightenment along the way. As the old saying goes: it’s the journey, not the destination.
WHY 'THE SILVER LINE', A CHARITY FOR THE ELDERLY
There are many charities that help children, but I’ve always wondered who was helping the older generation. I think it is easy to overlook that the elderly sometimes need our support too.
Some of my fondest memories are those I spent with my Grandparents. Be it Grandma and Grandfather on my Mum’s side, or Nana and Tati on my Dad’s. They’ve played a big part in my life and had a huge influence on my upbringing. They were always there to talk, joke, and listen to my adventures or share their own in return.
Grandparents were kids once too, with their own Parents – and Grandparents – to talk to, but often that’s not the case now. In this hyper-connected world, it’s too easy to assume everyone has someone to support them, and sadly this is not the case for many of the older generation today. Many elderly people do not have family, or even friends, and are left alone with no-one to turn to.
This is where ‘The Silver Line’ comes in.
‘The Silver Line’ does some great work in providing that missing support. This includes letter writing, scheduling calls, making home visits and much much more to help those in need. They offer a 24/7 line open for any elderly person to contact if they are feeling anxious, afraid or just in need of a conversation from living a lonely life.
Whilst we are all young, these simple things are so easily taken for granted, and if I am able to help raise awareness on the subject through my expedition, and open peoples’ minds to the problems facing the elderly in their day to day life, then that’s a cause worth championing.
An expedition of 115 days will definitely give me a true understanding of what it would feel like to have no-one to turn to.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
I’d be grateful for your support, 100% of money raised this way goes directly to ‘The Silver Line’ charity.
A pound or a dollar, every little helps and can really add up to mean a lot.
This is a self-funded, personal initiative, although I do hope to find some financial support through corporate sponsors to help defray the cost of the expedition. This of course is being conducted separately from the charity fund raising itself.
BE PART OF THE ADVENTURE
To share the experience with everyone, I will have an active map of Antarctica loaded on my website to show my position throughout the expedition via my tracking beacon. I will also be making where possible, a quick blog update on events and posting a photo or two once a week during the journey.
By the way… if you don’t see me move for a few days, call someone :)
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There will be insight on preparation, training and more as the big day approaches, including training trips to Svalbard in the Arctic circle to test equipment and systems, and make sure everything is in order for the big one.
Last things I want is to get on the ice and realise I didn’t bring enough underwear!
In the meantime, thank you in advance for all donations and your support at my JUSTGIVING charity fund raising page, I will need all the help I can get to reach my goal.
I would also encourage you to take a couple of minutes to visit ‘The Silver Line’ website at some point too. It is very well structured, easy to read, and I am sure the work they do will strike a chord with you the same as it did me.
Thank you again for your support and sharing the message. I look forward to keeping in touch and updating you as the big day approaches, but for now…
Keep on smiling!