North Tyneside Council Measles Advice


Connor off to Arctic Circle

My Arctic Expedition

In July I took part in a expedition with the BSES to Northern Norway, in they artic circle. Yet did I know this was going to be the best experience of my life so far, also helping me to prepare for university and help develop some vital skills which are required throughout life. While in Norway we would be doing some scientific research on a number of things ranging from the effects which the glacier melt has on the feeding streams, to the changes in snow density. Also we would be exploring the vase mountain ranges which Norway had to offer. I was about to take part in the most physically and mentally demanding experience of my life so far, within a group of 13 people which I had either never met before, or met briefly for 2 days on our briefing day in Derby.  

My expedition started on the 22/07/12, and the travelling to Base Camp didn’t end until a long and tiring two days later. Never the less after travelling from Central Station to London, Oslo, Alta and then to a little island which we would learn to call out home for the next 5 weeks. Even our travelling period was filled with things we hadn’t seen before, ranging from immaculate airports with oddly shaped statues, to breath taking mountain scenes covered in snow. Once we had arrive at base camp we got a taster of some of the work we would be taking part in while we were in Norway, our first task was to take our personal equipment (1 large rucksack and 1 smaller day sack) a mile to base camp. This hike was a mile long across rough, rocky terrain which at the time seamed horrible, yet over time I learnt to prefer this terrain over the steep, icy terrain of the glacier itself. This type of hike was repeated many of times, carrying a large variety of  equipment. Throughout the expedition we would be carrying loads of up to 30kg+ on our backs for hours at a time.

This of course doesn’t sound bad, but onto of the difficult and dangerous terrain and amount of time we carried out packs I’m you can begin to imagine the difficulty, we were basically carrying everything we had with us for 5 weeks on our back day in day out. Over the next 5 weeks we learnt mountain skill which would soon become second nature to us, these would be the skills that would save our lives if anything happened while being on the rocks, snow or ice. We learnt skill such as how to tie into a rope team, ice axe arrest, how to light a stove correctly and how to perform a sit-rep effectively using the kinetic alphabet.  We climbed peaks, built snow wholes (a snow bedroom is essence), rock climbed, ice climbed, explored ice caves, washed/swam in glacier lakes and roughed it out in our bivi bags with no tent and the Norwegian sky above us.

There are quite a lot of memories which I will always remember from this experience and I have met some amazing people along the way. I have to say one of my most memorable moments of expedition will be walking for 3 hours to a rocky outcrop in total white, we couldn’t see anything, the other rope teams could barely see us and we could barely see our rope team itself. Once we had completed the long 3 hour hike up and down snowy and rocky terrain we located a breath taking ice cave. The ice cave was the biggest out of the 3 we had found, the walls of the ice cave were by far the clearest ice I had every seen and will ice tunnels every where it seamed never ending. About half way down we discovered a crystal clean, ice cold glacial steam running out of the ceiling of the ice cave. Of course this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss and leaned under it and took as many mouthfuls of it as I could. It was by far the nicest and purest water I have ever tasted. Once we had explored as much as we can we then took part in the very daunting 3 hours hike back to our ice camp and yet another white out, all in all the 6 hour hike was definitely worth it!

I would highly recommend, if possible, going on a expedition with BSES. I guarantee you that you will have the time of your life, meet some life long, down to earth friends and have a lot of life long memories. Most importantly you, like I, will develop your commutation, confidence, dependant, mental, physical, team working and problem solving skills. All in all, you’ll develop all of the vital skill which you need to get by.