Temperatures at minus 30 on 100 mile trek – before bid to set rugby world record at Pole

APRIL 8th 2015: Andrew Walker, from Lakehead farm, Closeburn, near Dumfries, is spending the next few days making final preparations ahead of one of his toughest ever challenges: trekking to the Magnetic North Pole to play the most northerly game of rugby in history.


“This week I have been able to see my family and tying u loose ends at work before I head off to the frozen north. I’ve also been speaking to journalists about what lies ahead. So watch out for me popping up on Radio Scotland and Border Life!

“I’m one of five scots in the squad raising money for Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby. Ahead of us lies a lot of training when we arrive at Resolute Bay before 100 miles of trekking to the Pole.

“I have no idea what to expect of the rugby match. I don’t think it will be classic. After all, we’re playing on ice and we’ll all be still wearing our Arctic gear. I suspect it will be strewn with handling errors! What is important to us is that we establish a new World Record to be officially recognised by the Guinness World Record team.

At this point, I have to say that the other Dumfries man on this adventure is playing a blinder – that is Arctic explorer Jock Wishart. His knowledge of the conditions and his approach to our preparation has really put us in a confident mood – whilst recognising at the same time that we are all still to set foot in the Arctic.

The whole thing is all about raising money though. The whole squad is hoping to raise £300,000 to support projects throughout the UK and Ireland for Wooden Spoon to provide help for disabled and disadvantaged children. I’m committed to raising £25,000 myself.

“Looking ahead to the realities of the challenge is daunting. It’s going to be minus 30 or more degrees when we get there, so this is about as extreme as you can get. We’ll be sleeping in tents and

Andrew in training
Andrew in training

carrying all we need to survive on sledges we pull behind us. I’ve been training myself to be physically fit for the trip and I think I’m in good shape. The mental preparation is just as vital though.

“I’m going to be away for three weeks and living in one of the most remote places on Earth, where for much of that time I’ll be out of contact with the family. That will be tough, but after doing our survival skills training and working with the other challengers I realise that most of my effort will be going into completing the challenge – including simply getting the basic things done – like cooking – when the freezing conditions are making it difficult.

“Ultimately what is going to drive me on is knowing that my efforts have inspired people to donate to Wooden Spoon and give a boost to literally thousands of children who need extra help in life.”

1 a 1 a Andrew Walker 3 web

The Arctic Rugby Challengers leave Heathrow for Canada and the North America Arctic, Resolute Bay, on Wednesday 15th April. After a week of acclimatisation and training, they aim to reach the Pole by April 30th and then return as Guinness World Record holders to the UK on May 5th.

You can keep up to date with the amazing adventure at www.arcticrugbychallenge.org where there will be news, updates and a tracking system which will map their progress towards the North Pole.

Andrew’s fundraising campaign continues and donations can be made at: www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Walker87/

Follow the challenge at: www.arcticrugbychallenge.org or on Twitter @wsarcticrugby

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