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!
A wise old sage once said: “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run”
Are we folding? Perhaps, but not quite yet. Are we running? The fuck away from Larry (see last blog)
You’re damn straight we are.
We half hobbled, half waddled, frozen to our skis like a pair of prolapsing penguins south. Away from Larry and his empty promises of a direct route onto the Isurtuq. It took hours to clear the ice from our equipment and as we sat near hypothermic in our shelter wearing every piece of warm clothing we owned, we finally got to addressing the great big elephant in the tent.
We can reach the Isurtuq; south and east through another maze of valleys and lakes and from there we can continue our route. The problem? Our delays so far from the conditions and ground have eaten into 5 days of our expedition. Another 3 days puts us on the river further back than we originally intended which means we would have 20 days to ski the 230k up the river and the 130k up and over the ice cap. 18k a day, no mean feat, right? A brave man would say so, though this is pure exploration, and we must make our choices based on the ground we have already seen. The Isurtuq has at least 12 sections from where we join it to where the ground funnels like in the areas that have already caused us huge issues. If one area can slow our pace to 500m an hour what can 12 do over the course of our trip.
Taking ourselves to one of the most remote locations on the island with that knowledge would possibly be called a bad decision by some. The only way out for us up there is a 10 grand twin otter taxi and I’m pretty sure that even a twin otter would struggle to land in some of those valleys.
Sometimes you just have to be realistic.
Cemeteries across the world are made up of countless brave young men and women that are a testament to that.
They say fortune favours the brave. She almost certainly does not. Fortune favours the cunning. Fortune favours the clear critical thinkers. Fortune favours those that can take ego and pride out of a situation and appraise it with rational logic.
And she also favours those with a Plan B.
So, beating about the bush aside let me introduce you to Plan b. I’ll be the first to admit that she may not be as glamorous as plan A. I’ll give you she’s got a couple of teeth missing, a bit of a lazy eye, but I promise if you squint you can barely tell the difference. And I tell you one thing Plan B does for the lads that Plan A cannot. She saves our lives.
Right now, we are stretched beyond our limits, capabilities and if we’re not careful, our supplies.
80km to our southeast lies a series of rivers and lakes used by the Inuit for generations travelling from Pangnirtung to Nettling Lake to hunt and fish. If we can get out this maze of cluster fuckery we find ourselves in now and onto these waterways we find ourselves on a bonafide proven route to the east coast.
It’s not a glamorous or pretty finish to what was an exceptionally ambitious route
but if you’ve ever met Lou or me you will know we are neither A- glamorous nor B-pretty. A technical victory is still a victory in the lad’s books, and it beats becoming another foolish Englishman with plans beyond their means.
Plan B is no walk in the park.
We still need to find our way out of this serpent’s nest of valleys and rivers in order to reach the hunting trails. From there we end up in a position where we are back close to the coast for a prolonged period which means more diligence and time spent avoiding and preparing for polar bears. Split sleeping shifts and setting the bear fence up each night will eat into what little rest periods we have whilst trying to
cover the ground we need to. Also, when all is said and done with the zig zagging through valleys we need to do in order to reach the road to salvation the total distance isn’t going to be all that much different.
Plan B is on, all we need to do now is get to it.
Wish us luck.
If our story inspires, bewilders (it fucking bewilders me), or entertains you we kindly
ask for you if you haven’t already you ‘Chuck Us A Fiver’ to our chosen charity the Royal Marines Charity via the button below.
Catch you on the Plan B side.