An old schoolfriend, who now lives in Ireland, set off for the North Pole today.
I've written about Bill before. As I explained only yesterday I spent part of my honeymoon with him in the Cayman Islands.
In 2011 (as reported by the BBC) he climbed ten unchartered peaks in Greenland.
The previous year he climbed the Eiger. Before that it was Mt Blanc and before that it was Mts Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
There was also the little matter of reaching the South Pole, on foot.
A few years ago I also posted a picture of the pair of us, with two other friends, taken in the Lake District in 1975.
As I noted then, that experience clearly inspired his subsequent exploits. (I was joking.)
The North Pole Last Degree expedition is described by the Norwegian guides as follows:
This is the real way to the North Pole. In about 10 days you will experience everything the Polar Sea has in it’s armour: The cold, the pressure ridges, the leads, the drifting ice, the stunning light, the team spirit, how to survive and conquer the harshest environment on earth!
To reach the 90° North will fill you with both pride and immense happiness – this is a world and an experience for the very few.
Anyway, you can follow their progress on this dedicated blog.
Please follow along and enjoy the journey. We have been training hard for several months and it should prove to be a big challenge at minus 35°C and approximately 120km (60 nautical miles). There may even be pictures depending on the satellite.
As it happens my wife Clare and I are joining up with Bill and his wife Patty (a keen walker) in August.
Together we're going to New York on the Queen Mary. No walking, no climbing, no exercise, nothing strenuous except regular visits to the many restaurants and bars located throughout the ship.
Now that's my idea of an expedition.