Antarctica Plans and the Peruvian Amazon!
Feb 2023

The pre-amble to this blog is on the home page of this website...

The direct version - Antarctica is on! I am living in 35 degree heat in the Amazon jungle, off grid, with no gyms or climbing walls. We are building a two story house with no power tools. I have ordered a pulk-pulling harness to Iquitos, which I will have to travel by boat to pick up from a borrowed address. Training will be hard. 

I will complete a training trip in a cold environment this end of the year and then will spend a few months travelling down Chile and Argentina in Patagonia, with my full pulk setup, in the few months preceeding the Antarctic expedition. This route has emerged from the culmination of where I am currently, what requirements I need to meet relative to my own training and the requirements of Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), my ambitions to design and test out some kit designs of my own, as well as the opportunity to spend that time in Patagonia 'on the approach' to Antarctica later in the year. So, in a way, the expedition has already started! 

In the last month - I left Scotland, I arrived, I met my friend, and I got used to the jungle (as best as on ecan - the flying termite attack was a bit much, actually). After about two weeks in Peru, I decided to go to Antarctica in November. I am now organising a training expedition, most likely in Sweden, in April. And I am speaking to sponsors about how this is all going to work. In one week, I will obtain weights from Iquitos and pulleys for tying logs to, and in two weeks I will receive my training harness From Aguillle Ltd in the Lake District, so I can start dragging heavy things around the jungle (which may prove to be useful for the house project as well!).

Above: The 11x11m site marked out with strings ahead of building.
Below: Scary shit (a tarantula) and cute shit - an 'Aye aye Mamma' - Peruvian spelling unknown! 


The house, so far, has also turned a bit more exciting than perhaps initially anticipated... Meaning that I got a little over-excited and designed something more along the lines of a 'grand design' than a simple building. The shape will be a diamond and increase in size towards the front, with a massive panoramic view of the jungle out of the front facing two walls. The two back sides will be insulated against the sun, so a bit like an enormous, inverted version of the 'polyhouse' we built up at Youth Vision last summer, designed to capture and preserve the heat, temperature regulate itself and catch water for growing plants in, in Scotland. Obviously, in Peru, nearly on the equator and for containing humans, not aubergines, we are after the opposite effect. The 'diamond' shape (of course, being a square in reality but built internally in triangle sections), makes is slightly less simple and the desire not to have posts inside the building means using huge timbers with no machines and only manpower to move them. The longest stretches of building will be 11m and the longest upright post required will be 9m - probably to be  constructed in two parts. With few to no power tools, this is not a straight forward project! How exciting! And because we are in the middle of the jungle, the first task at hand is to go 'make' the wood, which is currently underway.

Above: When we initially arrived here there was nothing so will constructed enough of a hut in a day to sleep on with mossie nets (a platform with a roof, effectively) and worked on improving it over the following weeks.