L O U ' S D I A R Y
Day 25 in Antarctica. It's a day of strong winds and low temperatures. A strong headwind hits and passes. It blows around 30-40mph for a couple of hours before easing off. Lou's mask freezes and moulds to his face early in the day. He switches to mitts which creates difficulties with drinking and eating. Then he switches back to gloves to pitch his tent and get it bedded at the end of the day, having made 13 nautical miles.
Nov 27 2018 -
Good evening everyone…
Reporting in now from day 25 of the expedition. A very different day today to yesterday. Today was all about wind, and really low temperatures; quite a strong headwind and it came and went in the katabatic gusts that you get. It would blow really hard – a good 30-40 miles an hour for a couple of hours, and then you’d get a little easing. It really drove the temperature down. It must have been in the -30s with the wind-chill effect. I knew that because my face mask and everything froze really quick early in the day and I had to mould it into shape because I knew once it froze I’d be stuck with whatever shape it was in, so you mould that round your face and then you get a lot of ice build up around it.
I had to get the mitts out for the first time today – I’ve been managing to ski in five-finger gloves so far for the whole journey but not today, again with the temperatures down it was mitts. It just makes everything that bit more difficult. When you stop for your breaks you’re trying to open flasks and get food out and put on your down jacket and things like that – it’s all a bit trickier in mitts. As I got to the end of the day, I switched back to my gloves just before I stopped to make it easier to get the tent up. And again, quite tricky; you need to be really careful with getting the tent up in these winds. Before I even get it out of the pulk, I’ll clip a guy line on, carabiner it on to the back of the pulk so I’ve got it fixed to something solid straightaway. Then I get the tent out really carefully, erect it and get it bedded in. It makes everything that little bit more difficult with the lower temperatures and the strong winds.
I still managed to achieve over 13 nautical miles, so I’m quite pleased with that considering the challenging conditions.
It’s probably worth now answering the quiz question that I put out a few days ago about the piece of kit. There’s one piece of kit that’s done every single journey with me, since 2011. It’s actually my pulk harness. The old faithful has been with me on every journey and is still going strong. So that’s the only bit of kit I’ve used on every single journey. Every other bit of kit has worn out, or been updated or replaced. Well done to anyone who got that right and the expedition manager Wendy will arrange for a sew-on patch for this expedition to be sent out.
Just to finish off. I’d like to thank Lamont Kirkland from Team Army, who’s been one of my sponsors for the expedition. Brilliant organisation; it’s a private enterprise – they generate funding to support Army sport. Brilliant cause. I’ve really enjoyed working with them. Lamont, I’m looking forward to coming to the Army Navy game in May and presenting on the expedition. It should be a great day out!
That’s all from me, on day 25. I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow evening.