Tough going for the Pole Cats

IT'S been tough going at times so far for Suffolk adventurer Sam Eve and her team-mates crossing the frozen Arctic waste in the race of a lifetime.Sam, 26, and her colleagues Tori James, 23, and Felicity Aston, 27, are the only all-female team taking part in the 368-mile Polar Challenge to reach the magnetic North Pole.

IT'S been tough going at times so far for Suffolk adventurer Sam Eve and her team-mates crossing the frozen Arctic waste in the race of a lifetime.

Sam, 26, and her colleagues Tori James, 23, and Felicity Aston, 27, are the only all-female team taking part in the 368-mile Polar Challenge to reach the magnetic North Pole.

After five days' racing the team - known as the Pink Lady Polecats - was tenth of the 16 taking part and had not found the going easy as they tried to complete the first stage and reach the 110-mile checkpoint.

Sam, who went to Ipswich High School and whose parents live in Felixstowe, said day four had been a difficult day in which they were forced to stop for a while and regroup.


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"We ran into difficulties and had to pitch the tent. We rested during the day, and all is now well again. We mean to travel during the night and are eager to make up for lost time," she said.

Experts say pitching up is the right thing to do if a team is having problems, then restart later and make some good progress afresh.

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Team Hardware.com was the first to reach checkpoint one on day four and organisers believe the race finish time record could be broken because of the steady progress being made.

At the checkpoint, teams have an enforced rest period of 12 hours with access to doctors, dentist and the support crew.

After re-charging their batteries, they push on to the next checkpoint 95 miles across the frozen sea to King Christian Island.

The trek - which started a day late because of blizzards - is expected to take three weeks on skis, with the teams hauling sledges weighing more than their own bodyweight.

The North Magnetic Pole - a wilderness of snow and shifting sea ice, with temperatures as low as -40C and dangers of frostbite and dehydration, and prowling polar bears - is visited by less people than the top of Mount Everest.

Teams carry shotgun and flares to scare off inquisitive bears that come too close.

Sam, marketing manager with British Schools Exploring Society Expeditions, said the race was about stamina and the team wanted to pace itself and push on with a spurt at the end.

WEBLINKS: www.polecats.org.uk

www.polar-challenge.com

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