What is the aim of your forthcoming Arctic expedition?
We will retrace Roald Amundsen’s 700 mile sledging route that he made from Herschel Island to Eagle in 1905. Nobody has successfully made this journey since Amundsen. The expedition will take place in February and March 2016 in one of the coldest and most remote wildernesses left on the planet.
Is it just for fun or is there a more serious purpose?
I am not sure that ‘fun’ is the word! Yes, we are linking schools in Alaska, Canada, Norway and the UK to carry out historical, geographical and environmental projects around the expedition, and we will use the expedition as an educational tool to help raise awareness of global warming and its impact on the Arctic.
You have over 40 years’ experience in the property and construction sectors. What skills will help you on your journey?
Practical skills form the early years of working on sites and a determination to get the job done irrespective of obstacles.
What characteristics of the property and construction worlds will you leave behind?
The hassle and excitement of building and development in London which is not for the faint hearted. Also I will be leaving behind any type of structure other than a tent.
In terms of Arctic kit, what is the essential thing you will be taking that has been developed as a result of the digital revolution?
GPS and PLB (personal location beacon) which shows your position on a map on the website as well as having an SOS button.
If you had to add the skillset of an architect, a structural engineer, a QS or an agent to your team, which would it be and why?
A QS to help with the Logistics and weight problems for the fly in and on the sledges.
Which one would you leave behind?
All of them! For something like this you need a different skill set although I am sure there are plenty of architects, QS’s, engineers and agents who would be keen to give it a go.
You are also Chairman of LAMDA’s Building Committee overseeing the building of its £18m theatre, rehearsal studios etc. We know that one of Lamda’s tasks alongside the construction of its new theatre and teaching block is to fundraise. Have you found it easy to raise funds for your expedition?
I have been really fortunate to have had the support of the Royal Geographical Society via the Neville Shulman award which has helped financially and with raising the profile of the expedition and its aims. I have so far been dealing with permissions and logistics – in March this year I spent three weeks in Canada & Alaska getting things sorted which involved 13 flights in the three weeks. I now have to get on and raise the rest of the money – about £30,000!
Are you giving any talks about your expedition before you go? Where can we find out more?
I have given talks to the schools involved in the education side of the expedition in Canada and Alaska. I will be doing some talks when I get back. Before I go I will be busy with the day job, fundraising and final preparations. Further information is on my web site WWW.INAMUNDSENSFOOTSTEPS.COM where you can also sign up to receive the expedition blogs.