By Shelley Marsden
THE granddaughter of late Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton has lent her support to an exciting new expedition to be led by renowned explorer, Jim McNeill.
At a launch event in London, McNeill announced he was looking for fellow explorers to join him on his trip to The Northern Pole of Inaccessibility.
Alexandra Shackleton, who also spoke, said that her grandfather, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton is always identified with ‘white south’ yet in 1920 he too had been planning an expedition to a ‘white north’.
“He intended to seek out the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Beaufort Sea which Shackleton referred to as mare incognita and terra incognita. However, problems with finance meant it was too late to go north in the season, so he went south. He died at the outset of that expedition.”
She added: “Nearly a century later, Jim McNeill of Ice Warrior is planning his third attempt to the Pole of Inaccessibility. The terrain is known for being extremely hostile and dangerous; but I am confident that Jim and his team will be successful not only in reaching the elusive pole; but in conducting an environmentally vital transect of the Arctic Ocean; for as Ernest Shackleton said “difficulties are just things to overcome”.
‘Ice Warrior’ McNeill, said he is looking for both experienced adventurers and complete novices to take part in the extraordinary journey.
The Northern Pole of Inaccessibility is the last significant place on earth as yet unreached by mankind. By definition, it is the furthest point from land on the Arctic Ocean (the very centre) and 270 miles from the Geographic North Pole. The expedition will start in mid February 2015 and finish in May.
The journey is an 800 mile, 80 day expedition, divided into 4 legs of 20 days and team members are being sought for each of the legs. A fully comprehensive training programme will ensure that all participants are safe and competent polar travellers, gaining skills that will be really useful in both business and life, post expedition.
“I am looking for determined people with the right attitude and commitment who have enough time to put in the effort required. It’s not easy, if it were lots of people would be doing it and the pole would have been reached by now,” McNeill said.
Those accepted on the trip will need to raise a total of £20,000, from training to kit to a contribution to the overall expedition cost, but McNeill believes it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity it offers.
“If someone told me when I first started polar exploration way back in 1984 that I could get out on the Arctic Ocean AND take part in a World First for this amount I would have bitten their arm off! This is a tremendous opportunity for someone looking for a life changing experience ending up with a whole new set of life skills and lifelong companions.”
The Ice Warrior Project patron is HRH Princess Anne and Project Patron is explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and other supporters include London Mayor, Boris Johnson, Michael Palin, Lord Robert Winston, Donal McIntyre and Zac Goldsmith MP.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was born in County Kildare, and led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
For more, see www.ice-warrior.com.