Well other than the whole team on edge, Covid dodging at the beginning of the year, and a couple of members getting over a bout of Christmas Rona, the year started with an absolute blast!
Sadly, due to the fact we were avoiding catching the lurgy to ensure we all made it to Norway, we had to cancel a couple of the team training sessions. One was going to be in Wales at George’s place, and another at Emily’s parents farm in Surrey. This just meant that Norway was going to be full throttle, and actually the first time we fully practiced everything as a team.
Once in Oslo we had lots to do, we trekked around the city with luggage in tow, popping to the XXL store for a few supplies, before the serious shopping started at the Piteraq shop, where we had our Ski and Boot fitting. Three hours later and heavily laden with our bursting bags, luggage and ski’s, and only an hour after the store closing time (sorry guys), we started the next stage of our journey to meet Helen, our guide from Newland Expeditions.
Here came our first Norwegian challenge… transporting all our belongings, (might as well have had the kitchen sink, I mean we had everything else!) and survive the uphill ice rink to Helen’s beautiful and very welcoming cabin. We spent one night here before the next slightly crazy minibus journey to Kvitavatn, where we spent the first week with our fabulous guides Helen and Ilsa learning to cross country ski, campcraft, and packing our pulks and sleep systems.
We experienced a real range of conditions, which gave us a good insight into the adverse weather we could face in Antarctica, including a storm on the last evening where the weather turned on us in just minutes. We decided to get a tent up in the middle of the storm and cram all of us in whilst we checked the incoming weather via satellite, it certainly made for an exciting and surreal last night, but that’s a whole different story entirely!
Amazingly, through more luck than judgement… we ALL managed to ski back down the winding hill, I use the term ski very lightly as the majority of the time we were climbing out of the ditches, or recovering our pulks from the banks, but we made it! Yes, granted we left the Plateau with a few bruises, a whole bunch of stinky wet gear, and a craving for fresh food, but ultimately everyone was still in one piece. A special thank you to our guides Helen, Ilsa and finally Aina who had the most intense week living with a bunch of crazies in tents on the Hardangervidda Plateau.
Once home and on firmer less icy terrain, we had more excitement to come, with some brilliant school talks and zooms booked in, a live Q&A with a company for International Women’s Day, a visit to the Outdoor expo for Becky, and finally George and Bex’s big day out to join the fabulous Lorraine Kelly on her Breakfast show, and what a fabulous lady she is! They could have talked for hours, though anyone that knows George and Bex, will know that’s not a hard task!
Training has been stepped up a gear since Norway, with lots of tyre dragging, functional training sessions, roller skiing (which is proving lethal), and several of the team subjecting themselves to cold showers and baths ready for upcoming training in Sweden, stay tuned for that, it’s going to be…ummm, interesting!
It’s not long before our next training trip, and this time we will be travelling back to Sweden to meet with Toby again. With longer daylight hours, and hopefully more snow and colder temperatures, it’s set to be another great but very intense training session.
Thank you for reading all about our adventures and for supporting us on this crazy journey, we honestly would be nowhere without you all!
Written By Emily Butler