Last week I visited Abbots Ann Primary School to talk to the children about Challenge, Olympic Values and in particular my challenge in the Arctic. I did a short presentation, asking them about challenge, what challenges they had done, or were doing; and gave them some information about my trip and preparation. We then had a quick practical session. One of the daily challenges in the Arctic is tent management – putting up and taking down the tent with gloves, goggles, big coats, hats etc. So three children and one teacher got togged up for the Arctic and helped me put up a tent. It is always a bit of a laugh for the helpers and the audience; it also gets home the message of how hard it it can be to do straight forward tasks when you change the parameters a little. Imagine how much harder it will be in the Arctic with temperatures down to minus forty and strong winds…

We then had question time. And the children from Abbotts Anne school were fantastic. The questions were non stop for 20 minutes, and even then we had to call time; there was school work to be done after all!

Some of my favourite questions:

Building igloo

Building an Igloo

  • Why don’t you build an igloo every night!
  • How do you keep clean and wash (we don’t …)
  • How do you go to the toilet (very quickly … this one worries me a little!)
  • How do you find your way ( with a GPS, the sun, snow patterns etc etc)
  • How long will it take you (around 4 weeks)
  • How long will you be walking each day (10 – 12 hours)
  • How do you keep drinks warm (thermos flasks)
  • How do you make hot drinks (using melted snow)
  • How do you carry all your stuff (In a sledge which we pull)
  • How heavy is the sledge (50kg – about my body weight)
  • What kind of animals do you get in the Arctic? (Polar Bears, Caribou, Wolves, Seals, Owls …) 

    Polar Bear 2

    Visit from a Polar Bear

  • Polar Bears …. what if they attack you. (we frighten them away with a gun)
  • What if they steel you food (we keep all our food in big plastic storage containers)
  • What if they come into your tent …….
  • Can we follow your progress (yes
  • Can we follow you during you race in the Arctic? (yes …..hopefully I will be able to blog on this site, sharing with you all the many daily challenges. and on the Race Site
  • Will you come back and talk to us when you get back from the Arctic and share all your adventures (Definitely ….I am already looking forward to a whole new range of questions, and being able to share photos)

I have three children of my own, but never ceased to be amazed about how inquisitive a child is. We lose so much of this as we get older, accepting life and all our own rules, barriers and limitations. Why not think about yours this weekend? ….. have fun!