What's this all about?

I'm joining an expedition to sled over 200 kilometers across the wilds of the Arctic Circle in the depths of the Norwegian winter (January 2009). With possible temperatures down to as low as -30C and extreme conditions such as blizzards and high winds, it's going to be a huge challenge both mentally and physically - I think just trying to keep the sled upright and in a straight line will be a challenge in itself! Added to that there are very steep inclines to run and push the sled up, and with the fact we'll be working hard and travelling long hours - I think this is going to be tough; the huskies will expect me to be working as hard as they are. We'll be looking after the dogs ourselves for the week, each of us having our own team of 4-6 dogs and a sled to work with.
I'm going to have to get very fit, and yes... even give up smoking... so that's just another reason to sponsor me. I'll try and keep this blog up to date with progress and information about the trip.
I'm doing this for many reasons, but one of the main ones is to raise money for Amnesty International. I'm funding the costs of this all myself, so every penny you give will go to Amnesty International. If you'd like to donate(sponsor me) just click on the Donate button in the Justgiving widget on the right or you can go to www.justgiving.com/jonandthehuskies

Donating through Justgiving is quick, easy and totally secure. It’s also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust gets your money faster and, if you’re a UK taxpayer, Justgiving makes sure 25% in Gift Aid, plus a 3% supplement, are added to your donation.

If you don't want to use Justgiving or just want to make a pledge, or just want to get in touch, then please email me at jonandthehuskies@googlemail.com

Thank you for considering sponsoring me... it'll really will make a difference, and it'll help keep me going slogging up hills (in the rain and cold I'm sure) trying to get fit in time...

Monday, March 9, 2009


Photos now available...

Enjoy, but be warned, there are a lot of pictures of huskies and snow.

Snapfish Photos

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Read all about it, read all about it...

I have I hope finally corrected all the errors and typos!

Anyway, thanks for you interest and here is my report on my Arctic Adventure

I will now start getting on with sorting out the photos...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tense moments

My little report is pretty much done, I confused myself by writing it in two tenses at once, which took rather a lot of unpicking... sigh... anyway - nearly done!
I found this accidentally, 

Apparently they do remember me!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Quick Update

Just to let you know that I am working on my "report" for you all, and will get it finished and available within the week I hope!

In the meantime here are another couple of (quick and low-res) photos....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quick Pic 2

quick pic

Just a picture off the phone, but something to be going on with.

220km. done.

In fact i'm now sitting on the train back from London, we just arrived back in the UK. All tired, some a little bruised or frost-bitten, but all happy.
The last section of the sledding was amazing, as we had been warned, it tested all the skills we had learnt in the week. There was a long downhill section through the trees with hairpin bends, ditches, low hanging branches and all sorts of little surprises!
It was quite strange coming back to taps, indoor toilets and hot showers! Amazing how having to put on an Arctic suit and trudge up and down steep hills to the frozen lake for a bucket of water will make you value fresh water and the miracle of cold water taps!
Hopefully over the next few days i can get some photos, videos and soundbites loaded up for anyone interested. You must hear the sound of 70 huskies wanting to be off and running!
Thanks again to everyone who has sponsored and supported me!

Friday, January 23, 2009

N 69.7546 E 23.9345

Day 4, and i guess day 3. Since the last blog I guess we've done 120 km or somewhere about there.
The weather has been kinder to us, which has helped... i can't begin to explain what an amazing experience this is... But i promise i'll tell you all about it when i get back.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

69.4261 N 23.6847 E

Day 2. We've safely completed another 30km and are holed up in a cabin somewhere near Mazi.
The weather was a lot better today, and the route was more protected by trees (mainly a sparse brush of birch), so it was a much more enjoyable experience. Many more hills for us to deal with which meant a good lot of pushing. We're all working a lot be better as a group and all the spills, crashes and loose dogs and sleds were deal with much better... These dogs don't want to stop until they catch up to the leaders.
We also had to deal with snowdrifts and a brief but scary section down a road.
Water had to be collected by filling buckets with a ladle dipped through a hole drilled through the ice of the frozen lake this evening, the bucket then carried up a very steep hill. All of this in the dark.
So much more to tell, but i need to sleep. Tomorrow is a very long hard day we've been told. 50-60km over a mountain. We'll leave in the dark and arrive in the dark.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

69.5879 N 23.5289 E

Not sure of the name of the place we are staying at, so just the coordinates I'm afraid.
Where to start? This morning i guess! Up early to meet and feed the seventy dogs that will take us on our travels. The first thing i see it 140 eyes reflecting my headtorch amidst the howling of seventy hungrey huskies in the dark of the arctic morning... That was some start to the day.
So then, after they're fed it's our turn, then after dumping half our kit and fully suited up it's time to harness up the multitude of excited dogs... I can't even begin to describe the sound and the chaos involved, the dogs are amazing but they're not pets.
Eventually we're all ready... And we're off... Probably within 15 minutes we hit the blizzard... It lasted for the whole day... And well into the dark... About 30 km apparently...
Not sure what to tell you about it all... the depth of ice in the goggles rendering them completely useless? the new skill i learn (how to defrost your eyelids so you can open them)? The most amazing skill the dogs have to tangle their lines? Why one of my dogs is called 'Tractor'? One of my fellow survivors talking to a rock because she thought it was a fallen comrade? The odd effects all this has on your mind? How real this whole experience suddenly became?
It was a really hard day for all of us, but everyone came through more or less intact and we all learnt an awful lot about dog sledding.
Ok, well, i gotta in sleep, i'm on dog feeding duty first thing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

lat 69.8063 gargia base

We're here. Well and truely in the Arctic. We are finally at our base in Gargia. It was a fairly turbulent landing at Alta, which is really just a small town. From there a bus took us to our base here at Gargia.

This will be the first outing for the dogs this year so they're raring to go and although we haven't met them yet we can hear them!
It's pretty darn cold, but calm and clear. For dinner we had cabbage soup and reindeer stew, sorry Santa...
We've been briefed and had our suits issued. Tomorrow morning we're up early to feed the dogs then breakfast for ourselves..
Hoping to be learning to drive by nine tomorrow...

60.194 N - Oslo Airport

Not in the arctic yet... But there is an awful lot of snow! Makes it seem a lot more real. The group all seem a good lot... First snowball fight has been had, we have only lost 5 of the team so far!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Latitude 51.4832 N

If this works, which i will have to assume it does, this will be the first mobile blog. So far so good. I have made it to the Heathrow Sheraton bar and an happily sitting here reading The Mammoth Book of Polar Journeys. It's crazy what some of those guys went though... Eating lichen and leather to stay alive!
I'm proud to announce my first corporate sponsor - Kate's Taxis. If you are ever in the Box and Corsham area and need a taxi then you can reach them on 01225 810404.
In terms of Adventure, so far things have been fairly straightforward. There was a minor encounter with a policeman, a unexpectedly free bus ride and I forgot to pay the taxi. You may attempt to fill in the blanks yourselves.
I should meet one of my fellow sleddees later, so looking forward to that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

All Packed - Ready to go!

OK, well this will probably be the last blog before I leave. I'm all packed, repacked, unpacked, and finally, packed. I had to ditch some of the chocolate, it's surprising heavy! I suppose I had more than I really needed. I have however added some pork scratchings, as according to local knowledge due to their rather high fat content they're pretty good for such things.
Total weight of kit - 20.8 kg, which I thinks not too bad.
I have discovered many new things about my rucksack today (ok this is probably not the most interesting moment in this blog), including how many bits can be detached... I'm not 100% sure I've reattached everything the way it originally was, but it's close enough.
Keep an eye on this page as I'm hoping I may be able to send the odd blog via my phone while I'm away, the Norweigian phone coverage maps seem to indicate this is possible - but I'll have to wait and see I think.
I bought myself a Norweigian phrase book today, I thought it might be useful to learn "Excuse me, have you seen my huskies?"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Publicity

that was scary... I just did a phone interview with the local radio station (GWR FM Bristol and Bath)... didn't expect that!

Apparently - clips from the interview are due to be included in GWR Bath's news bulletins on Sunday morning - these are on the hour between 8am and 11am.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Wow, I've now made it into two papers! I even got page three in the East Lothian Courier! Hehe - I've always wanted to be a Page 3 model... ok.. maybe not, but I suppose for a sufficient amount of sponsorship a "red speedos in the Arctic" picture could be organised. If you don't know the history of the red speedos please don't ask...

The Bath Chronicle combined the piece about me with someone who has repeatedly made it all the way to the North pole.... I assume she is the one that the photographer had been talking about? Not really quite the same thing, although I would quite like to get to the pole(s)! Very impressive - I wonder if I can go along next time?

Maybe a little extra sponsorship might arise from the publicity? I can but hope.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Seven Sleeps to Go

Only seven sleeps and I'll be in the Arctic Circle! I think I have everything ready now, right down to the piles of chocolate bars (polar exploration fuel bars that is - well, ok, maybe just lots of chocolate bars).
I have been planning to eat a lot this week, and not sure if it's the because I've been thinking that, or because the heating is down, but I've been eating like a horse this week already (haha - no not hay - yuk!).
I had a photographer for the local paper (the Bath Cronicle) come round today to take some photos, so I spent most of the time asking him about taking photos in the Arctic, not that he'd ever been there, but he gave me some good tips - well - they sounded like good tips anyway! He reckoned white balance was a bit of a challange as everything was rather blueish - so it's as well I'm planning to use RAW format. I need to find a lens hood though.. hopefully as they are just bits of plastic they will be cheap!
He did rather put my mini adventure in it's place by mentioning he had just come from photographing some woman who had been dragging her own sled around the Antartic... ah well... Still, one thing at a time... lets see if I can survive my week!
I have spent the evening making up collection tins for the local pubs... a bit late I know... but well, better late than never. Actually, if I die a miserable lonely frostbitten death in the bitter frozen wastes that can be my epitath ,"Better late than never" - seems suitable! ;)

Friday, January 9, 2009

One week to go

Wow, it's only one week until I go... I have to admit I'm getting excited and a little nervous too I guess. I've been all organised this evening and put together a packing list, with everything on it I'm taking, if I have it (100% for sure), and what I'm packing it in. I've got 99% of what I need, so just a quick shopping trip tomorrow to get the remaining items... Most of them are additions to the first aid kit and things like sunblock, so shouldn't be too much of a problem to find.

I've packed both bags, and checked the weights, my main pack is just over 11kg so I'm qute proud of that, and the day pack (containing the camera kit) is about 6 kg. So all in all I reckon considering the kit I have to carry that not too bad a weight to go with.

The photo by the way was one I had to take for the local paper (where I grew up)... I am smiling on the inside - honest! Note the two vital elements... First Aid Kit + Hand Warmers


As the civilian death toll rises, the people of Gaza are in dire need of emergency food and medical aid.
The newly introduced Israeli 3 hour cessation arrangement is woefully inadequate. Palestinians are using the brief respite in a desperate search for food and medicines, even to bury their dead relatives. But what use is a three hour lull amidst the horror?
Amnesty International are urging the UK government to lead the call for an immediate and comprehensive humanitarian truce. This is essential to allow desperately-needed humanitarian assistance through, to evacuate the wounded, and provide safe refuge for civilians wishing to flee the conflict zone.
Act now for the innocent people of Gaza and Israel

Send a message to the UK government to lead the call for an immediate and comprehensive humanitarian truce.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A weight off my mind

After some investigation in this 15kg limit, it would appear this is a baggage limit for a flight, which I suppose must be the flight between Oslo and Alta, anyway, this makes things a bit easier as it means it doesn't include my heavy jacket, heavy shoes, carried liquid,or I guess my hand luggage... so I think I shall be just fine.
Of course, we've still got to dump as much stuff as possible at the Base in Gargia, so I've still got to pack as light as possible and keep seperate kit for the return flights (etc) - so sense in carrying that around with us.
I got some publicity in the East Lothian Courier today, so that was good, Mum sent them an email mentioning I'd been a student at the local school etc... not sure if it'll bring in any extra sponsorship but it won't do any harm, perhaps an old school friend or teacher might pop some pennies in the jar? ;)