A chronicle of my first ever Arctic crossing. In fact, my first ever expedition! As part of a 2 man team I will cross the Greenland ice cap, covering approximately 500km taking around a month. I will be pulling up to 100kg on a pulk across the ice in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celcius. With no previous experience to call on, you can follow my attempt to transition from expedition layman to Arctic adventurer.

New website launched!

In between dragging tyres around and various other training regimes I've finally managed to complete the new website for this challenge.  It is online now at:

This site is now the main portal for all things related to this challenge, including my blog. will be the main portal for all things, effective immediately.  This blog has been moved onto the new domain and is available by selecting the "Blog" menu from the sites navigation bar.  Subscriptions to this blog will automatically carry over onto the new blog so you don't need to do anything.

Thanks to everyone who has followed so far!  Things are really starting to get rolling now so I hope to retain you as a regular visitor to the new site as I add more exciting features!!

Andy - The Arctic Virgin

P.S.  If you have any issues with your RSS/Atom/Reader feeds subscription then you can access my feed again directly at



The 3 charities I will be raising money for are now finalised - Thank you to everyone who had input and voted on the 3rd charity to be included.  The charities are Marie Curie Cancer Care, Mind & Age UK, who will receive 50%, 30% and 20% respectively.

I have set myself an ambitious fundraising target of £3500.  It took some thought, but I am happy that this amount is proportionate to the challenge ahead of me and I hope that you will share that view.  Anything you may be able to contribute to help make this trip a success and for me to reach this target would be so gratefully received.  As daunted as I am by the ice cap crossing I am even more daunted by reaching this fundraising target, but in the spirit of this whole event I figured I should aim high and see where it takes me.

My fundraising page is here -

Virgin Money Giving allows most common methods of payment including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, Solo and PayPal.  To make a donation through their page takes just minutes and affords you all the secure protection you would expect from such a reputable company.  Donations from overseas are welcome.  Anyone who prefers to sponsor me 'offline' can contact me directly and I can make arrangements for that and just update my site to reflect the offline donations.  Any potential donors looking for further information can find it here.

Now the charities are set I have no more excuses and can get underway on reaching the target.  In my head, it also allows me to move on to the small matter of training.  That is, really getting the hours and weight of tyre pulling up (look out Swinley Forest!).  Then there is the cross country skiing to pick up (never been on skis before), familiarising myself with the weapons we'll need to carry (to guard against polar bears), getting navigational stuff down, getting ALL of the kit I need, reading everything I can about similar expeditions (so I have a slight insight to what is ahead) and many other things.  A few of these things I have started where I've been able to, and my expeditionary partner is putting all appropriate plans in place for everything else.  I will be blogging all significant progress in terms of kit arrival, training and also my mental state as this challenge builds.

Thanks all for reading and, again, for all and any support you provide.  It's gonna be a hell of a journey and it would be nice to have you along for the ride! :)

Andy Norman.

Please VOTE NOW to decide my 3rd and final charity!

Thank you so very much to everyone who has offered their support for me since I announced this trip a few weeks ago.

As requested, a few of you left suggestions for the 2nd and 3rd charities that I will be raising money for and I am very grateful for that.  It is from these suggestions that I have decided to select MIND as my 2nd charity.  They will be receiving 30% of all money raised.

This leaves just the one slot for my 3rd and final charity.  I have compiled the shortlist into a survey at the right of this blog and now require you to vote.

The charities in contention are:

The Prostate Cancer Charity -

We provide vital support for anyone affected by prostate cancer: concerned and diagnosed men, their partners, friends and families.
We are working towards a world where lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer. To get there, we provide a broad range of services and fund a robust research programme as well as awareness raising and campaigning work at a national and local level.

Help for Heroes - 
Help for Heroes raises money to support members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in the service of their country. We ask our supporters to “do their bit” to show these extraordinary young men and women that they are cared for by us. Over a million people have responded to date and millions of pounds have been raised to buy much needed services that will aid their recovery

The Royal British Legion -
The Royal British Legion is a UK charity that has been helping Service people past and present for 90 years, and although their needs have changed over that time the need for our work is as vital as ever.

We're committed to the welfare, interests and memory of the Service family - those who we feel have made a unique commitment to their country and deserve to be rewarded for that with long term care.

We are probably best-known for our role as the nation's custodian of Remembrance and for the Poppy Appeal, our annual fundraising campaign. But the Legion is not just about poppies in November, but caring for people all year round.

We believe that age needs respect. It needs kindness. Sometimes it needs help. Because there is strength in numbers, Age Concern and Help the Aged have joined forces to become Age UK – so that we can be here for everyone in later life.

Encouragement for strangers in training

From now on if I ever see anyone training hard for anything I am always going to throw some encouraging words towards them!

When I'm in the middle of a tyre pulling session and things are hard it is a welcome distraction to have people show an interest and ask what I'm training for or to say well done for the obvious effort - and my effort probably is very obvious with my bright red face and sweat dripping freely off my nose!  I can even raise a smile for the 1 in 5 that tells me I have a flat tyre or that something has got caught on my backpack - I forgive you wannabe comedians as at least it stops me thinking about what I'm doing for a second.  Or as just happened today, cheers of very enthusiastic encouragement from a mixed group of mountain bikers as I was half way up a fairly steep hill.  I don't know if it was just the exhaustion but the cheers of support actually moved me.  Being a cynical Englishman raised in a country where it seems uncool to support each other I always suspect some of the shouts may be a little sarcastic for the 'nutter in the forest', but I use them for positive energy so I don't care either way.

Today was the first day I've gone out and trained with a lot of other people out - as it's Saturday afternoon - and I was really pleased by the general reaction of people.  I genuinely appreciated the support and it definitely helped get through some of the harder parts.  I even took 15 minutes off my last time over the rather hilly 5km, this time pulling 30kg of tyres in a time of 1hr 5mins.

I am not sure that always training up and down hills is the best method but the nearest space for me happens to be quite a lumpy bit of forest so it will do for now.  I will research a bit on the web to see what experienced adventurers advise.  I'll also try to gauge a consensus on the best type of terrain and also body positioning whilst pulling, in order that I best prepare for and mimic the pulling of the pulk on the ice cap.

So thank you good people of Bracknell and Swinley Forest for an enjoyable session today!

Nominate YOUR Charity!

For a month I'll be putting myself through extreme temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius and I thought I must use the leverage to raise some money through my wonderful friends and family that we can all help some great causes.

Marie Curie nurses care to terminally ill
patients in their own homes or hospices,
while offering support to their families.
The first charity I will be raising money for is Marie Curie Cancer Care.  My expeditioning partner has personally experienced the care and support that they offer through what must have been an unspeakably hard time.  I can't think of many groups who deserve to be supported more in order that they can continue their amazing work.  The fact that I would never be endeavoring on such a trip without his trust and faith in me makes this an even easier choice and seems an apt way to show my appreciation.

50% of all funds raised will be contributed to Marie Curie.

Charity 2 will be your choice,
receiving 30% of all funds raised.
Now, THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP!  30% of all funds raised and 20% of all funds raised will be going to two additional charities.  As of yet these two other charities have not been chosen and I would like your input on who should benefit.

Anyone can nominate an officially registered charity to fill one of these two remaining slots and be responsible for them receiving either 30% or 20% of all the funds that I raise!  All you have to do is to comment on this post with the name of the charity you are proposing.  If you would like to also provide an explanation as to what they do or provide a story as to how you have been involved with them then that would be wonderful.

All the charities that have been proposed by the end of next week (Friday 14th October) will be compiled into a survey which will then remain on this blog until the end of this month.  Here, every unique visitor will be able to vote on who they think should receive the 20% donation.  

Charity 3 will be selected from
amongst your suggestions.
Charity number 3 will be one of my choosing out of all of the suggestions that are received.  I will make every effort to educate myself on each nominated charity and will reach a final decision based on what I feel is most meaningful to me.

Please, please get involved in this and make your wishes known through the comments section below.  I  rarely call on the help of my friends and family in order to raise money for charity - and I'm still not (yet) - though I do want your input!

The three finalised charities will be announced through this blog on Tuesday 1st November.

Best Wishes,


P.S.  You can also contribute towards making this expedition happen by clicking on any one of the promotions from my targeted advertisers.