Join Patrick at one of his public presentations to hear about his experience of Antarctica.

5th March 2015 at Canon (UK) Ltd, Reigate, 6.30pm
This event is organised by Royal Society of Arts, Surrey. Click here to register.

14th April 2015
at the Lloyd Hall, Outwood, Surrey, 7pm
Join Patrick for drinks and nibbles. For a free ticket please email or phone 07551 255544.

28 November 2014

...Even Nittier and Even Grittier

...this is continued from the previous blog post

8:30am After a final kit check, we harness ourselves up to the sledges and march off into the distance. We will ski for 2 hours, then rest for 15 mins; ski for 2 hours, rest for 15 minutes; ski for 2 hours, rest for 15 minutes and a final 1.5 hour ski until we have travelled for 7.5 hours total, with 45 minutes of rest. In this rest time, of course we will have eaten lunch and had a hot drink from a flask but it is important not to stay still for long so that we keep warm enough.

What a forecast!
At a pace of 3km per hour we will therefore cover 22.5 km per day, but this plan is of course flexible, and I will certainly have to gradually build up to such long periods of skiing at an apparent altitude of 4000m at such cold temperatures. I’m hoping to be able to cover even more than 22.5 km per day by the end of the expedition!

Building up my core strength for dragging a sledge

5:15pm This brings us to the evening routine, when we will erect the tent and an area in which to cook. We can change into ‘tent boots’ which are less cumbersome than the ski boots we’ve been in all day, then sort out our damp clothes and boots from the day as well as setting up the sleeping bags. This is an opportunity to write a diary for the day before dinner.

7:30pm Dinner will be a glamorous affair, consisting mainly of a dehydrated meal. 

I told you it was glamourous!
We will be aiming to consume more than 5000 calories each day, so we will also have cup-a-soup and noodles, biscuits and fudge and more coffee with powdered milk.

This is our opportunity to communicate with the UK using the satellite phone, and my granddaughter will be blogging our conversations regularly so be sure to come back and read that. We will also have a tracker with us which will transmit our location every hour, so you can all see our progress across Antarctica. There will be a link on this website before we set off so you know where to look!

A map similar to the one you will be able to track us on
(The map above is from another Antarctic expedition)

It’ll then be time to go back to my sleeping area to tend to my sore feet, of course taking with me a pee bottle for the night, I don’t fancy waking up and having to go outside!

10:00pm Time to put on an eye mask and sleep, ready to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

no comment...
This is only the outline for our daily plan, so I’ll be sure let you know afterwards because I’m sure it won’t be quite the same in reality.

26 November 2014

The Nitty Gritty

I’ve been very busy recently, speaking at various different places about my South Pole trip, and the questions which I get asked time and time again are all about the nitty gritty – what do you eat? How do you communicate? How do you go to the toilet?

Before a recent lecture at Hurstpierpoint school
So here’s a bit of a breakdown of what I’m expecting it to be like when two old blokes are dumped in the middle of bleak Antarctica! Bear in mind that it’s going to be light 24 hours a day so 7:00am is an arbitrary measure!

7:00am We wake up in our little red home – a tent which was previously used on the Walking with the Wounded expedition in 2013 – still wearing our clothes (you’ll all be glad to hear that I won’t be stripping down to my birthday suit unlike Alexander Skarsgard!) and pack up the sleeping bags and mats, then brush off the ice on the inside of the tent (!) and start the breakfast process.

I'm not looking forward to waking up to a frosty tent!
Breakfast will be an enticing mix of granola and milk powder, mixed up with melted and sterilised ice and chased by an instant coffee.

We’ll also make up our lunch of cheese, nuts, chocolate and biscuits at this point along with a sweet powdered drink to keep our energy and hydration up while we’re moving. We must have our food to hand throughout the day, as any time spent rummaging through the carefully packed sledge is wasted time when we’ll be getting cold.

We don't want to get any colder than we have to!
8:00am Time to put on the amazing Norwegian Alfa boots and peek outside for the first time of the day. We will use the opportunity to go to the toilet in the relative shelter of the tent ( a bottle) before packing up the sledge, checking our ski bindings and taking down the tent.

Our little red home
Now, Conrad is a military man and has a strict tent disassembly routine which will mean that when it comes to the end of a long day of battling the katabatic wind of Antarctica (this means that whichever angle you approach the South Pole from, you will be against the wind since altitude is increasing) we can whip up the tent in five minutes flat.

File:Katabatic-wind hg.svg
Katabatic wind - one of our hazards
I don't want you to doze off while you're reading, so I'll end this blog here and post the rest of it soon!

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