30 September 2014
I can’t quite believe that this is really happening, but there’s no going back now! Today I went to the bank to pay the final balance to the Antarctic logistics company, plus the flights are booked. Our tiny team of Conrad (the arctic guide) and myself will be flying via Madrid and Santiago to arrive in Punta Arenas after more than 24 hours travelling, before going on to Antarctica three days later.
When we get there, after landing on an ice runway, we’ll spend some time acclimatising to the cold – the coldest ever recorded temperature is -89 degrees – but we’ll have the relative luxury of a permanent tent for the night and even a heated mess tent! Not for long though, after a practice 2 day expedition we will pack up our 50kg each of kit and food and get taken to the start point of our expedition… 222 long, cold kilometres away from the pole.
I've just been looking up some facts about Antarctica to share with you all (for example...did you know that there’s no time at the poles because there’s no longitude… so you can choose your own time zone?) and I've found out that Antarctica is “the largest, coldest, driest, and windiest desert on Earth”. Suddenly it sounds rather scary! However, training is going very well and my next post will be about the Great Langdale half marathon, where I managed to get a few photos.
not so scary after all...penguins on Antarctica
9 September 2014
I'm an adventurer at heart; my friends and family always say I'm mad but I can't help constantly looking out for my next challenge. I've climbed, skied and toured the Alps for many years including the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt and climbing Gran Paradiso and around Mont Blanc. I spent the most amazing and challenging 17 days 3 hours and 30 mins sailing across the Atlantic from Gran Canarias to St Lucia in 2010 and I’m a keen cyclist, having done the London to Brighton bike ride more than 25 times along with numerous charitable bike rides around the UK and Ireland.
|Skiing in the Alps|
Many people ask me why I didn’t raise money during these challenges, with the honest answer being that the thought didn’t even cross my mind…I did it just for the doing of it, for the challenge, because there’s a huge world out there to experience!
I have always given to charity through my life and have never been sure about asking since I know we are all so generous in our giving.
Then, 18 months ago I undertook a slightly different challenge: I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with my nephew. This was after my diagnosis of bowel and skin cancer, and after surgery on my bowels, muscles, lymph glands. At this stage I was not aware that my prostate would also be removed along with a variety of other bits and pieces.
I did this trip simply because it was there and I needed some goal to recover my life in the crazy thought that lightening would only strike once, not three times!
But now, at the age of 58, I am going to attempt to walk the last 2 degrees to the South Pole. Through this expedition I will be supporting two causes that are close to my heart:
Bowel Cancer UK: Bowel cancer is the second largest early death killer but this is only the case because, like me, we are all completely ignorant of the signs and symptoms. This challenge will be undertaken in the memory of a good friend of mine, Gary Williams. He was also diagnosed with bowel cancer at around the same time and a similar age to me but passed away on Sunday 10th August.
The Voice of the Listener and the Viewer: Public service broadcasting is probably everybody’s greatest source of unbiased information on the radio and television but in 2016 the license fee has to be re-negotiated. However, no political party wishes to discuss the issue because they all know it is a graveyard (excuse the pun!), so I am setting out to spark a debate on the subject. I believe without it the incidence of early death cancer, ill-health and higher costs to the National Health Service are inevitable through the inability to spread awareness. This is a realistic way to improve the survival rate of bowel cancer.
I intend to use this blog to keep a record of my preparations and my journey, and invite you to support me and follow me along the way.