L O U ' S D I A R Y
Day 8 in Antarctica. Lou faces his hardest day so far. Strong head-on winds pick up to around 25-30mph, whipping into spindrifts. Temperatures drop to the low -25s. Lou's face mask freezes and moulds around his face, making eating and drinking difficult. Still he's made 11.8 nautical miles and reached 2,750ft. Having served in the Army for 33 years, and lost a lot of friends, Lou will be pushing on through Remembrance Day today thinking of his lost comrades.
Nov 10 2018 -
Good evening everyone…
Reporting in now from day eight of the expedition. A very different day today and very different conditions, and definitely the hardest day so far of the trip.
I woke this morning to pretty strong winds – I estimate 25-30 miles an hour – enough to raise spindrift as well, and really drive the temperatures down, with the wind chill. I’m not carrying anything [to measure the temperature] I’m just feeling it on the skin on my face and it’s getting into the -25s. An almost head-on wind as well, which made progress really difficult.
The minute I set off, and felt the weight of the pulk and the drag and the resistance, I knew it was going to be a long, hard day. The pulk felt like it weighed 500kg, and it’s obviously just the effect of the surface and the wind on it as well. Where the wind was hitting me from a bit of a side angle, rather than the pulk pulling directly behind me it was getting pushed out sideways so you’re then dragging it an angle and that’s again adding to the resistance and it just felt like it weighed an absolute tonne, despite the fact that it should be a bit lighter now. So it’s a case of head down, audio book on, into the wind and just trudge away.
I felt like I was going so slow in comparison to previous days, so it was kind of frustrating but you’ve just got to keep chipping away at it. It was quite uncomfortable, stopping for breaks today. My face mask also froze and moulded around my face and to get that down, to get food and drink in, was very difficult. You just know that the minute you stop, to take one of these breaks to get your food and drink in – which you’ve got to do – your hands are going to go off really quick and then you just spend the next 20 minutes once you start moving again getting your hands back again – they go off so fast. So you’re shaking your hands, getting the blood back in and then an hour later you stop again and repeat the whole process. A really difficult day compared to the ones I’ve had so far. I carried on, and finished at 6 o’clock, I’d had enough by then, and got the tent up. I thought maybe I’d gone five or six nautical miles, so I was really pleased to see that I’d done 11.8 nautical miles, which in those conditions is great progress. And slowly climbing as well – a lot of long uphill trudges. I’m now at 2,750ft. I’ve gone up again a bit, which is great.
I just wanted to finish off… it’s obviously Remembrance Day tomorrow – by the time you guys get this message it will be tomorrow, Sunday, so Remembrance in the UK, which is always a very poignant day for me, having been in the Army for 33 years, and lost a lot of friends, so I normally commemorate that by attending the Remembrance Day service and I won’t be able to do that this year, but my thoughts will be with lost comrades throughout.