Sometimes you get one of those emails in your inbox that make you smile and burst with enthusiasm. Last week, I received just that kind of exciting email from a woman named Hannah who reads my blog, and asked if I would be interested in sharing her friend Gavin’s story. Without hesitation, I instantly agreed as Gavin’s adventure to the North Pole rates right up there with the kind of amazing travel and giving back philosophy that prompted me to start blogging in the first place.
I asked Hannah to put together a brief write-up and send me more details on Gavin’s trip which I edited below. I can already tell that this is going to be an amazing journey that I’m betting some of you will love to follow along. I know I will be!
‘Race me to the Pole’ says adventurer Gavin Bate
On March 27th, philanthropist and adventurer Gavin Bate left the UK with one goal and dream in mind: To ski more than 550km from Resolute Bay in northern Canada to the magnetic North Pole all in the name of charity. An avid climber, adventurist and outdoorsman, Gavin has successfully scaled Mount Everest six times thus has a great deal of experience in extreme climates and conditions. However, this particular expedition poses unique threats including trekking through “Polar Bear Alley”, open water cracks in the ice known as “leads” and a wind-chill that can push temperatures down as low as -45 degrees Celsius.
Gavin left the UK on March 27th flying via Ottawa and Iqaluit to Resolute Bay.
Several days were spent at Resolute Bay, packing and testing equipment. Then on April 6th Gavin headed off for the journey of a lifetime with a mission to raise important funds for charity. The team is expected to reach the Pole approximately a month later on May 5th, as long as all goes according to plan.
As part of the expedition, Gavin aims to raise £22,000 for the Moving Mountains Trust, an international development charity that he founded more than 10 years ago. Gavin acknowledges “to some, skiing to a pole or climbing a mountain can be viewed as essentially a selfish and pointless exercise in the grander scheme” but explains, “These personal expeditions do however gain public interest, and if I can use my personal endeavors to also raise awareness of, and funds for, the fantastic work of the Moving Mountains Trust, then it also greatly enhances the motivation and satisfaction behind the trip.”
The ‘race’ to the pole will see donators pitted against Gavin in his journey across the thinning Arctic sea ice toward the Pole. Every pound donated by the ‘Donation Team’ is worth 25 metres of Gavin’s trek, and as he gets ever closer to the finish line the Donation Team will race to achieve their target of £22,000 worth of donations.
Importantly, all of the money raised via donations associated with this expedition will go towards Moving Mountains Trust which supports sustainable development projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Nepal and Borneo. Gavin covers all overheads himself via profits from his ethical adventure company, Adventure Alternative. It’s well known that tourism is one of the most over-exploited industries, especially in the developing world. Breaking the mould, Adventure Alternative was formed on a strict ethical policy, employing locals and offering them a fair wage, with benefits.
Moving Mountains’ primary aims are to provide aid for the relief of hardship, poverty, suffering and inequality through education and vocational training, medical treatment, sport and employment. Most importantly, in my mind, all projects are developed over a number of years with the local community; the community’s voice is actually heard! After completion, they are handed over to the community to manage alongside the Moving Mountains committees in each country.
Completing this expedition will also see Gavin ever-closer to achieving the ‘Explorers Grand Slam’, a challenge that includes reaching the North and South Poles along with all of the Seven Summits. If he successfully reaches the North Pole, he will have just the South Pole left to visit! Everyone can follow the daily progress made by Gavin and the Donation Team via the constantly updated race record at racemetothepole.com and via a host of other social media streams. Thanks to Yellow Brick tracking we will receive Gavin’s location every four hours. It’s near impossible for the team to carry any other form of (functioning) electronics due to temperatures that often reach -35c!
To join the donation team in the Race to the Pole, text ‘POLE13 £1’ to 70070. You can substitute the £1 with £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. To learn about more about the expedition and to find out other ways to donate, visit the campaign website at www.racemetothepole.com
To follow along on Gavin’s amazing journey and progress: