Greenland Crossing May 2009

Four teachers have been selected to be part of the Fuchs Foundation teachers’ expedition to the Arctic Circle in May 2009. The Fuchs Foundation is a charitable trust set up in the memory of the pioneering explorer Vivian Fuchs. The trust facilitates expeditions to Polar Regions to encourage teachers to engage in scientific field work with the intention of inspiring young people. The 5 week expedition in May 2009 is to be based around the high arctic snow fields of Greenland. We will complete a crossing of the Greenland icecap on skis and will be supported by a team of dogs. The expedition will leave on the 29th of April and return on June 12th 2009. The main body of the journey is from Ammassalik (65.36N 37.38W) on the east coast of Greenland and finishing at Kangerlussuaq (67.01N 50.72W) on the west coast.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


No real time to update the blog as I pack and spend some quality time with the family. However, there are two important scientific questions to face 1) How do you fit 250 litres of kit into a 120 litre bag? 2) The Arctic teachers face the eternal question-how many pairs of pants do you need to cross Greenland? I think Nansen would have done it in 2. Keep your thoughts positive. Dan

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

FW: 2 Days to go

Well nearly time to leave. I do not know where the time is gone, it does not seem that I have been preparing for things for over a year. We lead such busy life’s what with work, family and occasional sleep. I have had a good week with things beginning to finally coming together....the finance is in place(thanks to UoB, J&S, Sangers), final bits of kit sorted (thanks to Alpkit, Chocolate fish and Howies) and a feel in a good space (both mind and body). It has been really good to talk to friends and family (John, Sue, Jack, Resh, Tim, Mike, Paul, Nicola etc). Wouldn’t even be going if it was not for my close family members. Thanks one and all, hope you enjoy following the journey. Dan

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Finse, Norway February 2009

From our various points of the UK we descended on Standstead with intuitive precision, arriving within 2 minutes of each other. The battle with the baggage began, checking-in a mass of specialist equipment and personal kit. This included 5 bags of sparkling new skis, a pile of paulks and food for the week. The 12 hour journey to Finse commenced and we settled into excited journey mode, it was good to catch up with everybody particularly Caroline and Carl who we had not seen together since the Cambridge teacher Talkback.
After a long train journey through snow covered Norway (from Oslo to our destination), we eventually arrived in darkness at Finse, a remote hamlet with a railway station (no roads) a hotel and just a few houses. We dragged our mound of equipment 200 metres to our comfortable base for the week.
Refreshed from a welcome rest, the next day we spent the first part of the morning, organising our equipment and ‘tweaking’ our personal kit. We were soon ready to explore the area on our new skis. Early trepidation soon gave way to confident striding as we crossed the frozen lake and headed up towards the heights of a mountain pass. Three hours of rhythmic skiing took us to a superb, pristine high level Col fuelled by cheesy wraps and haribo. Returning via the gentle downhill slopes we were all amazed how well we had developed the cross country techniques, but we were all tired from the 14 kilometre trek. The next day was spent locally on the Finse inclines having fun dashing down the slopes and more importantly making use of Carl’s custom boot fitting service. This consisted of baking our boots in the oven and wearing them tightly buckled for 20 minutes of agony. However, there was wisdom in this endeavour as the boots were now moulded perfectly to our feet.

The highlight of the trip was the overnight expedition. We dragged the paulks up through a stunning, remote valley and made camp in a wild, windy plateau. Our camp craft was tested but we all coped with the difficult -12 degree conditions, thankfully cocooned in several hundred pounds worth of high quality down. Finse’s rugged beauty provided a the most impressive snowy backdrop that brought home the magnificent bleakness of Arctic environments...Greenland began to feel just a little closer in our minds as we tackled with the prospect of our future endeavour. Returning to Finse, we were significantly advanced in our preparation for the Greenland crossing thanks to the considerable input of Carl, Carolyn and Steve. A thoroughly fulfilling trip with many highlights.