Arch2Arctic are on their way to Svalbard

On June 14th Arch2Arctic set off on their completely human powered expedition to Svalbard. Two people, running, swimming, cycling and rowing to reach the arctic in aid of UK Scouting.

They’ve already completed the 81 mile run starting in Marble Arch, Central London and finishing in Dover, and are now on to the cycle part of their journey. Starting in Callais they will cycle to Puttgarden, Germany where they will then put their bikes on the ferry and kayak 20km landing in Denmark.

They will then continue to do a mix of cycling and kayaking across Norway and Sweden and land in Tromsø, Northern Norway. This is where they will meet up with their row boat and their 80km row will take place.

On their journey they will be using a mix of Extreme Adventure food to keep them going and for easy, filling meals. The lightweight low profile pouches of our food means they can easily pack them if rowing, cycling, or even running.

You can track their progress on their website here.

Three-Man British Expedition Team Sets Speed Record Crossing Lake Baikal

This March three-man British expedition team’s trip to Siberia was successful, and they’ve broken the speed record for crossing the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal in Siberia!

The speed record is now set at 12 days, 21 hours and 13 minutes, set by Scott Gilmour, Michael Stevenson and Rob Trigwell, in March 2018 with the previous record at 13 days, 16 hours, set in 2010 by Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab.

From the press release sent to us – “Scott Gilmour, Michael Stevenson and Rob Trigwell covered a distance of around 640km (397 miles) in 12 days, 21 hours and 13 minutes, finishing just after 6pm GMT on Tuesday 13 March.
The trio beat the previous record of 13 days and 16 hours, set by Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab in 2010, by around 18 hours.

To do so, the three adventurers had to put in a final continuous push of 135km over 42 hours, during which time they slept for just two hours, in their bivvy bags.

“I’m totally knackered, but very happy,” said Gilmour, as he feasted on bacon and eggs at the finish. “I’m very relieved to be finally finished. I had a very tough last couple of days, but felt inspired and encouraged by my team mates, Mike and Rob, who helped me through. I’m just proud to have shared this experience with two great team-mates.”

“After five years of planning this trip, it’s finally come off!” said an emotional Trigwell. “I’m extremely happy to have ticked this one off my list – finally.”

“Relief is my number one emotion,” said Stevenson. “The terrain really saps you. It’s so draining. I want to thank my two team mates, they’re great guys. I can’t wait to get home to see my kids. What’s next? Maybe the South Pole!”

The record-breaking attempt took place in the highest snowfall in the region since 1969, with temperatures regularly down to -35°C, and often strong winds. Though the team had spells of good weather too.
During the expedition, the team had to navigate around areas of ‘rubble ice’, as they pulled sledges containing all their equipment and food, covering 50 kilometres a day on average.

They survived most of the trip with just one working stove, meaning every night one of them would stay up late melting water for the others, while their team-mates slept. They averaged four hours’ sleep per night over the 12 days.

“It’s an amazing effort by a team of relative beginners in the world of polar travel,” said Philip Hayday-Brown, a polar adventurer, guide and co-owner of Ultra Endurance Series, who was in charge of operational support for the attempt. “Two of the three have very little experience of this kind of expedition, making this record all the more meaningful and impressive. They’ve proven that with some basic knowledge of how to survive and perform in regions of extreme cold, anything is possible.”

The team benefitted from expert training in Sweden on a Polar Endurance training package from Weatherised.com, prior to this trip.

The trio would like to thank Extreme Adventure Food, “For the excellent products that got us through a demanding expedition”.

Evidence of the new speed record crossing of Lake Baikal, a GPX route from the spot tracker, showing the whole route with times and dates, will be available shortly.”

Great job guys, and we’re glad our adventure food could help you reach your goal!

**Photos provided by Scott Gilmour/Weatherised.com**

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Ski to the Edge – A 500+ Mile Ski Expedition

This February, Ski to the Edge plan to complete a 500+ mile ski expedition across Northern Canada’s wilderness from Mayo to Fort Good Hope, in the Arctic Circle.

During the expedition the team will be using our expedition food, the low weight and high calories is ideal for an expedition where adventurers need to carry their own food and still get the nutrients they need.

The Ski to the Edge team have embarked on and completed numerous tough challenges before. Many of these have been human powered expeditions requiring their combined skills of mountaineering, skiing and survival.

The Ski to the Edge Project and 500+ mile route through the Mckensie Mountain Range will push the team to the limit of their endurance for kit and physical exertion. At the average temperature ranges experienced during winter the team will consumer over 6,000 calories a day and will still lose weight.

 

“A small team will re-trace the route of Alex Van Biber’s historic expedition covering as much of the orginal route as possible. They will then continue onwards to finish at the Fort Good Hope, inside the Arctic Circle. (This area has recently featured in the TV show’s Ice Road Truckers).  In an age where climbing Everest has become a commercial activity and there are polar races this project offers something historic and yet epic, operating at the edge of man’s limits for endurance, survival and testing the team and the kit .” (Excerpt from The Ski to the Edge Project)

 

For the full project logistics and trip details, visit the Ski to the Edge Project’s website.

Meet Adventurer – Martin Rickard

Martin Rickard spends a month or so every year in East Greenland, guiding annual trips based out of Tasiilaq, Angmassalik. Here is his account from one of his trips;

“This summer a small team, of what I now consider to be very good friends, embarked on a rather special trip, heading north, off my regular stomping ground, to try and reach Lake Fjord (Tugtilik) where Gino Watkins died in 1932. Two of the team, James and Donna had been part of a team who attempted this with me in 2014, however on that occasion we had been unsuccessful. This year Geoff and John joined us, making a strong tight team of five.

We were keen to save time in order to make the most of a favourable weather window so the trip started with a fast boat drop off in the settlement of Sermiligaq, the most easterly of Tasiilaqs five small satellite communities. Subsistence hunting and fishing is the major focus of life in Sermiligaq – although now mainly done using motor boats, they are very proud of their kayaking culture. We are always made very welcome there and have often been told , with a flexing of their biceps, that we were not tourists – but kayakers. This is obviously as high up the visitor’s ladder as it’s possible to be.

We had checked out much of our route in 2014 and so headed for the few known camping sites, while all the time taking note of any possible landings or emergency get outs, should conditions change and force us to retreat in poor conditions.

The coast is all very spectacular, with high cliffs, calving glaciers, precipitous islands and the constant back drop of alpine style mountains and the Greenland icecap.   Even for the Angmassalik region this area is very remote. Few if any kayakers venture to Sermiligaq, let alone past it, and even the local hunters are seldom seen heading north along our intended route. We definitely felt out on the edge.

On trip you soon settle into the simple routine. Breaky, toilet, dry suit on, de camp, wait for someone who’s faffing (make sure it’s not you again) , load and then carry boats as a 4, paddle, paddle, paddle with a bit of chat and a few photos. Lunch, paddle, paddle, paddle, land, have a pee, carry boats, set up camp, cook, chat, read, explore, set bear fence, sleep. Repeat. It’s great!!

Polar bears or Ice Bears as the locals refer to them are a potential hazard in this area – “You can never say there won’t be a bear” – is how one hunter several years ago described the risk to me. At the end of the summer they are referred to as “Ghost Bears”. They are there but you probably won’t see one – then all of a sudden you might.

With my regular teams we have 8 folk on trip to allow for easy night watch rotas, however with a group of five we didn’t have the man power to do a waking shift, so instead relied on a couple of well deployed trip wires and two loaded guns in different tents.

Ironically on the way back to the relative civilisation of Kuummiut James and I were woken by the sound of something big wading through the shallow water by our campsite  – although inquisitive they are also often easily spooked and our still burning fire probably saved the day.

Our interest in the area and in particular this trip was as a result of discovering the story of Gino Watkins – who explored and mapped the area in 1930 / 32 as part of his research for Pan Am Airways and the British Arctic Air Route Expedition. Watkins learnt his kayaking and hunting skills from the locals, so as to provide food for the members of his expeditions. As a result he was taken in and adopted by the hunters, who acknowledged his talent and skill, which was often superior to that of some Inuit kayakers.

We had brought along several period books and round the fire each night read about the adventures and escapades experienced by Watkins and his team on the following day’s section of our route.

The weather remained settled and although completely devoid of ice the seas stayed calm – Brash and Pack ice is pretty crucial on an exposed coast like this as it keeps the swell down and can give you a landing for lunch or an opportunity to sort stuff out in an emergency.

As a result we knew that there would be no landings on the two days just before reaching Tugtiliq and both days would be at least 8+ hours of paddling . Given the potential for unpredictable weather, down drafts from the huge cliffs and the chance of winds and tides funnelling out of the fjords and round the headlands these two days going in and then returning would be the crux of the trip.

Paddling past Ailsa Island into Lake Fjord was an emotional moment (that took over an hour). We first visited the headland overlooking the North branch of the fjord to locate his memorial cross and take some photo’s. Then before we got too cold we headed on into the left hand branch of the fjord to find the site and remains of the base camp. We quickly set up camp and settled in for the night with a warming fire.

The next day was spent exploring. High up on the beach, in the winter storm boulders we found the remains of “the Whaler” one of Watkins boats abandoned in 1932. We excavated this and moved it to a safer place on higher ground. Up at the lake John and Donna discovered the site where the Sea Moth had landed and been refuelled in 1931, there were many old empty fuel drums on the lake shore marking the deep water spot where the plane could taxi in. After referring back to our book, and another good nose about, James found the rock behind the hut site, where Watkins details had been calved soon after his death.

Given the forecast and conditions at sea we didn’t want to linger and headed out late that afternoon on the high tide, keen to get past “Hell Corner” and back into some safer areas for the remainder of our trip. The return paddle went well with a slight tail wind pushing us along. We landed at midnight; it was still light but now very cold, and hastily made camp and turned in. The next day would be a rest day, to do some washing, eat and rest up a bit. We had done well and still had over a week left to wind our way back before finally packing up my store for the winter.

There were far too many highlights to mention them all here. It is such a fantastic place I am still impressed after years of exploring the area. And to retrace a route done during the early 30’s, when folk had skin kayaks, and none of the modern day clothing and safety equipment we take for granted these days was pretty humbling. Paddling in using their books for reference and copies of the original maps made it even more special. Thanks to Donna McCready -USA, James Pigdon – Wales , Geoff Murray – Tasmania and John.”

Anyone interested in more information can contact Martin Rickard   info@seakayakadventures.co.uk or visit http://seakayakadventures.co.uk.

Meet Newall Hunter – Engineer Turned Explorer

(Photo from Newallhunter.com North Pole Photo Album)

Newall Hunter is an extreme adventurer from Scotland who has climbed 7 of the worlds highest mountains, of which only 15 people including Newall have accomplished.

He wanted to climb one of the highest mountains but thought he should have some practice first, so started with Aconcagua in South America, at 6,961m. The other few climbers he was with got altitude sickness so he carried on without them and made it all the way to the summit.

You can read more about Hunter and his life leading to adventure on the Red Bull website where they did an excellent profile of him.

Now Newall is ready for his next adventure starting the beginning of September, and he is taking Extreme Adventure Food packs along with him.

Its a two part exped this time. A one month cycle recce, and then a
three month solo unsupported trek. It is a world first.

He is taking Extreme Adventure food as he can take the lowest weight packaging that is still tough enough for shipping and dragging in a pulk/cart.

Newall has used the Ultra Fuel liquid food before on past expeditions, and really understands how useful it is, especially the Hot Chocolate version in cold conditions.

The food he plans to take for this three month expedition is outlined below:

First one is the Recce – at the beginning of September 

Porridge & Strawberries 10
Porridge & Maple Sysup 10
Healthy Fruit Muesli 10
Porridge with Sultanas 10
Hot Cereal Start 10

1000Kcal Expedition Mains
Beef Shepherds Pie 6
Chicken & Vegetables Pasta 6
Chicken tikka masala 4
Mexican Chilli Con Carne 6
Chicken Korma 4
Moroccan Chicken Couscous 6
Spagetti Bolognese 6
Spaghetti Carbonara 6
Thai Chicken and Rice 6

ULTRA FUEL Hot Chocolate 30

Second block is the Exped – Leaving late October

Porridge & Strawberries 17
Porridge & Maple Sysup 17
Healthy Fruit Muesli 17
Porridge with Sultanas 17
Hot Cereal Start 17

Beef Shepherds Pie 26
Chicken & Vegetables Pasta 24
Mexican Chilli Con Carne 24
Moroccan Chicken Couscous 24
Spagetti Bolognese 24
Spaghetti Carbonara 24
Thai Chicken and Rice 24

Chocolate Cip Dessert 25
Rice Pudding & Cinnamon 12
Strawberries & Custard 12
Apple & Rice Pudding 12
Apple and Custard 12
Rice Pudding & Cinnamon 12

ULTRA FUEL Hot Chocolate 255

We look forward to following along with Newall’s adventures! If you want to follow along too, you can follow his Twitter or Instagram accounts where he is currently posting photos from a cycle trip across Poland. You can also visit his website to keep up with current and past adventures.

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New Extreme Lightweight Multi Day Liquid Food Pack

We’ve recently added a new 250 km multi day pack, our Lightweight Liquid Food pack. These are perfect for multistage races or expeditions where you need to carry all of your food with you.

In the pack is our best selling Liqid food Ultra Fuel and Extreme 4:1 Energy, Endurance, Electrolyte and protein recovery drink. These slowly release high quality energy that starts to take effect after around 6 minutes compared to the normal 35 minutes that other food and energy bars take.

The pack does not include anything for Breakfast on the first day as that does not need to be carried and can be anything you like and does not include afternoon or evening on the last day, as it is a short day, and most will be finished by early afternoon. It is expected that you will supplement with your favourite snacks & treats to meet the Event oranisers rules and regulations.

How we recommend using them are:

  • Day 1              is 2 x Ultra Fuel, 2 x Endurance Fuel
  • Day 2              is 3 x Ultra Fuel, 2 x Endurance Fuel
  • Day 3              is 3 x Ultra Fuel, 2 x Endurance Fuel
  • Day 4 & 5        is 7 x Ultra Fuel, 5 x Endurance Fuel
  • Day 6              is 3 x Ultra Fuel, 2 x Endurance Fuel
  • Day 7              is 1 x Ultra Fuel, 1 x Endurance fuel

Of course you can use any combination you would like, as well as any other food items you bring along. Pack prices are £99.99, saving £20 as opposed to if you were to order individually.

If you need any help with your race or expedition nutrition, our expert staff are always on hand to help.

Completing the Kungsleden Trail in Sweden

Image copyright Scott Gilmour www.sgfotograf.com

Scott Gilmour recently completed the Kungsleden expedition, which was approximately 450km. The team started the route at the Northern end of Abisko and terminated in Hemavan. Scott was the only member of the team to complete the whole route.

They had very mixed conditions throughout the expedition, some nights it was as low as -35c, while some days they skied through energy sapping thigh deep snow.

He took some of our 1,000kcal food packs, Ultra Fuel and more on their trip to keep them going and had this to say-

‘During my 2017 Kungsleden Expedition I was very pleased to have the 1000kcal, Ultra Fuel and 4:1 Endurance Fuel available. Amazing products, lightweight, easy to prepare and a welcome reward after a long day on the skis.’ – Scott Gilmour, Race Director,  Montane Spine Race

Image copyright Scott Gilmour www.sgfotograf.com
Image copyright Scott Gilmour www.sgfotograf.com

Scott also runs a Polar Training Programme in Sweden. For more information you can visit his website here. They are working at firming up the dates and making adjustments to the program, so be sure to check back.

Images used with permission from Scott Gilmour www.sgfotograf.com

Meet the Rowers of Indian Ocean 2017

In June, just over two months away, 4 British rowers will attempt to row across the Indian Ocean (3,600 miles!) completely unsupported, to raise awareness of the difficulties people living with Parkinson’s face day to day and to raise money for charities that help them. The three charities they will be supporting are Clear Trust, Spotlight YOPD, and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
One of the crew members was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2015, and hopes to show exactly how Parkinson’s effects him, both good and bad, and is working with researches at Oxford Brooks to hopefully help others with Parkinson’s and similar disabilities.
The crew are also helping to raise more awareness by breaking records, the world speed record to be exact. To do this, they are using a Rannoch, developed by Charlie Pitcher, which has beat out other boats in past races.
We asked the rowers some more questions about their row, their experience, and charity.
1) Have any of you rowed any long distances before? What experience do you have?
Barry and I both rowed together in the Inaugural Great Pacific Race, rowing from California to Hawaii, which was about 2,800 miles, and the crew took two world records in the race. James currently holds the world speed record for rowing non stop around the UK 

2) How are you preparing for not only the rowing physical side of things, but being out at sea for so long?
We have a training programme developed by CHHP and professor Greg Whyte (he’s quite famous in his field, find him on Google). As mentioned, 3 of us have experience at sea already, and I have over 28,000 sea miles under my belt from sailing, including crossing the Indian Ocean twice. It’s mainly just about getting into the right mindset. You know that it is going to be tough, but you just have to adapt to whatever is thrown at you. James and Robin will be going to Hamble school of yachting to do coursed in First aid at sea and sea survival (Barry and I have already done them). We are also eating as much as possible to put on healthy weight before leaving, as we will loose a lot of weight while at sea. Then there is also fundraising and logistics to sort out, and PR too!!
3) Why have you chosen Spotlight Y.O.P.D as your chosen charity to raise money for?
Robin has Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD), and I am one of the founders of the charity. Public awareness of the condition is pretty much zero, unless people have a connection to someone living with the condition. It’s a terrible diagnosis to receive……
4) What will be the route you will be rowing?
Exmouth in Western Australia to Port St Louis in Mauritius. Route will be dependent on weather conditions.
5) Are you taking anything to entertain you on this ocean row?
A pillow!! We are rowing in 2 hour shifts, so row for 2 hours, rest for 2 hours. That’s 24/7 from the second that we set off. During the rest period you have to eat, navigate, make any repairs and sleep, so you don’t really get much time for entertainment. I took a book with me when we rowed the Pacific, and didn’t read one page of it. The best entertainment will come from each other. it’s a great crew, and humour will be a large part of what gets us across as a team.
To follow along with Indian Ocean Row 2017, visit their website where they will also be posting live streams, updates, and more information about their row and chosen charities.

An Expedition to Svalbard with Rob and Poldy

On 16th June 2018, Robert McArthur and Poldy van Lynden will set off from Marble Arch on a world first expedition. They will run, swim, cycle and row 5,000km to the Arctic island of Svalbard.

Their challenging route will include running three marathons from London to Dover, swimming 21 miles across the English Channel, cycling over 2,000 miles through seven countries from Calais to Tromso, in Norway, and finally rowing 700 miles across the Arctic Seas to Longyearbyen, on the island of Svalbard.

All of this is in aid of the Scouting, whom they are raising money for as it’s an organisation they believe helps so many young people not only enjoy adventure, but learn important life skills. As Rob says, ‘As a former Cub Scout myself, I know the amazing benefits that Scouting offers. It set me on a path to adventure and gave me skills and values I have to this day. It’s about giving every chance to every child. We want all young people, especially those in the most deprived parts of the UK to get the same great start in life and the chance to develop skills for life.’ 

We asked Rob and Poldy some questions to find out a little more about how they came to choose this challenge and why;

What made you want to take on such an extreme challenge?

We’ve always wanted to do some kind of expedition and a couple of years ago we made a decision to take action before life got too serious. So we started planning what we wanted to do and through a process of selection and elimination this challenge was chosen!

 

What are you doing to prepare for this challenge?

There is obviously the physical side of it – we’re dedicating as many hours a week as we can to swimming, running, cycling and rowing. We will be taking our ocean rowing boat out to practice and to get used to living on it. The more time spent on it the better. We have changed our diet to eat slow releasing energy foods to improve our endurance. You can also train your body to be more acclimatised to the cold through cold water immersions and turning off the central heating!

Why did you choose the scouts as your charity to raise money for?

We felt that through our expedition we could have a direct impact on Scouts. When they’re in the frame of mind of being outside, doing fun activities, making friends and generally enjoying themselves, we hope they can follow our progress and our social media pages to get an insight into what a seriously tough expedition could be like. Ultimately we’d like to inspire them, and to get the message across that any dream, with time, commitment and perseverance, however seemingly unobtainable, can be achieved. And it’s a really good cause to raise money for.

 

What is one thing you will both each miss having while you are completing your expedition?

That’s a good question. We’ll definitely both miss our respective other halfs, but aside from that Rob will miss keeping up with sport (of every variety!), and whenever I go away for awhile I always crave a decent roast and a full english.

Is there any leg of your trip you are most excited for? Which bit?

Both of us are really looking forward to swimming the Channel. There is an exclusive amount of people that have taken it on and it will be a privilege to be one of them. It is also one of the most daunting parts of the trip. On top of that, cycling up the west coast of Norway will be spectacular, and rowing north through the Arctic will be unimaginably special. We both feel that it’s during the row that the real adventure begins.

You can follow along with Rob and Poldy’s Arch2Artic adventure on their website, Facebook, or Twitter. Their donation page to help raise money for the scouts is here. Extreme Adventure Food will be helping them out with nutrition, ultra fuel endurance drinks and other supplements for their expedition. 

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Widnes Vikings Train in Lake District

The Widnes Vikings spent some time training in the Lake District last week. The conditions were a bit wet and fairly cold. To help keep them warm and fuel them they made up some of our Extreme Adventure Food (Chicken Tikka Masala shown) freeze dried food packs on their breaks.

Our freeze dried pouches are a quick, easy and nutritious meal for when you are out in the wilderness. Just simply add hot water and within a few minutes you have a delicious hot meal. You can choose between 800Kcal and our extreme 1,000Kcal meals. Both have a range of tasty options and deliver high energy in a low weight pack. Being so lightweight means they are easy to toss in your pack for a day trip or longer expeditions.