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.