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Solo and Unsupported to the North Pole

I’mm on the train this morning, travelling north to talk to some children and hopefully fill them with more fire than I manage in my day job. And I just received a text message from my mate Andy (the guy who walked from London to Istanbul). He flies this morning to Canada in order to manage a bold and impressive expedition. Another mate, Ben, is attempting to break the speed record for solo, unsupported travel to the North Pole.
Sadly there will be few future opportunities to break this record, and whoever holds it in a few years time is likely to hold it for posterity, or at least for as long as we have our planet. For global warming is melting the ice at a staggering rate and future expeditions to the North Pole will soon be more suited to kayaks and yachts than to manhauling sledges through the twisted, frozen chaos of contorted ice rubble, across black slashes of icy water and trusting to the fates that the ice floe you are on will drift north on the currents rather than south, hauling you imperceptibly but unfailingly away from the pole you are struggling towards.
Watch him here.
As I write this, and as I think of Andy and Ben’s bold determination to carry this expedition off despite the turgid inertia, doubt and lack of boldness that led to potential sponsors dropping out unwilling to take the risk and the ensuing panic to prepare for this project in just days rather than months, my shuffling iPod began to play Philip Glass’ Metamorphosis.
Ben- if you read this before you go: you will understand that that must be a good omen, serendipity, a portent for the sliver of luck that all bold projects need. Good luck both of you!
Get live updates from the ice here.

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Shouting from my shed

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