Ant and Louis are regularly contacting the team back at home via satellite phone. This blog was sent back to England, 20 words at a time by Ant. You can’t question their dedication!
Those unfamiliar with the Royal Marines will probably not have ever heard of such a thing known quite simply as “The Regain”.
The British Marines pride themselves on their Maritime history. For that reason, during the arduous 32 weeks of basic training every recruit goes through to receive their green beret a lot of focus is given to rope climbs and various rope climbing drills as boarding a ship could involve a number of these. The Regain, is a training drill done in full combat equipment, where the recruit hangs on a rope running above a tank filled with cold water, pulls himself up onto the rope and using his arms and legs swings his full body back onto the top of the rope and continues to crawl across.
This training is done again and again for a number of reasons. The first of which it is very funny to watch broken men fall into a tank of ice-cold water, but further down the list is to make sure the recruit can properly right themselves should they ever slip off a rope whilst boarding a ship. Royal Marines old and young know very well The Regain, and for the Bootneck community the word has a dual meaning for righting yourself when you have well and truly fucked up:
“Bloody hell mate I thought I’d really had it when the Mrs caught me on Babestation again last night, but I got her some flowers and I’m pretty sure I’ve cracked a regain”
Right now, Louis and I are dangling above the tank and only the knowledge of the cold water below us is keeping us from letting go. Forging our way to the Inuit trail has been extremely difficult. Long cold days picking the lowest ground through an ice and cliff walled valley eventually led us to a long lake that we were hopeful we would finally be able to start upping our distance on.
We never ever learn.
The first morning on the lake we were hit with extreme winds gusting to 15 meters per seconds coupled with temps in the minus 20s. Any exposed flesh in this wind with this temperature succumbs to frostbite in seconds. It also makes every break we took at the end of each leg unbearable as we would get extremely cold trying to force food and water down. Putting the tent up is a very calculated endeavour as well. If that was to catch the wind unsecured, we would be without a shelter and in big trouble.
After two days of being battered by the winds, they finally lifted, and we were treated to warmer weather and a scattering of snow showers. We finally made our first 2k leg since Nettling Lake as well which was cause for much celebration. The fly in the ointment here however has been the warm weather and snow has met us once again at the most inopportune time. At the end of the lake, we reached the waypoint we knew as the start as the Inuit trail to the coast…
The only problem?
Trails followed by skidoos and dog teams are not exactly trails designed for men hauling heavy sledges. That, and all we have to navigate this route is our GPS and picking the best-looking path through the very tricky undulating terrain towards the coast.
Once again have to navigate a series of very steep very narrow water ways through rocky mountainous terrain. Snow drifts and avalanche central.
Not what the lads are in the market for after the trip they have had so far.
Well, it is what it is. We can only play the hand we are dealt and right now all we can do to crack this regain is keep putting one foot in front of the other. 30km of soft snow, frozen waterfalls and avalanche madness stands between us
and the coast and with it the end of a near 5000km journey that has took us to every extreme environment imaginable on earth.
It was never going to be an easy finish, was it?
If you have enjoyed our adventures to date and haven’t already, we politely ask that you ‘Chuck us a fiver’ to our chosen charity The Royal Marines Charity via the button below.