Gruelling Days

Why does the clock go so quickly when we are enjoying ourselves?

If only we could accomplish the tiring gruelling days of the mundane as easily quickly and enjoyably as those spent in the field, then packing vital equipment food and supplies would be a pleasure. Sadly these jobs do have to be done and the success of a trip frequently depends on the dedication and hard work put in by all the team members on the tedium of the organising.

Everyone helping out

Last Sunday saw the whole Team plus the Group Leader (who will be acting as Home Agent) sorting, stripping away all non essential packaging and filling our now familiar plastic barrels with the food tools and equipment on which the whole Team will rely whilst in the field, starting in two weeks time.

This time it was a lesson in the economical and the planned allowance of seven sixty litre barrels was soon reached then just as easily overtaken.

We are now in the situation of having to book more and more additional barrels onto our freight. How grateful we are to SAS who have accommodated our wishes without turning a hair.

Safe water support

Rotary Club of Wirksworth have been very generous in providing the expedition with an Aquabox family filter unit, to clean all of the water that the expedition members will drink while in the Arctic.

The Aquabox project has saved countless lives around the world by providing safe drinking water using simple, hand operated pump/filter units. The innovative AquaFilter technology produces safe and clean drinking water instantly and reliably without the need for chemicals. The pump/filter units contain sub-micron filters which are impenetrable to bacteria and most viruses.

Please help this very worthwhile cause and visit their website here

And Here is the News

Two recent interviews on BBC Local Radio have meant the forthcoming ARG expedition is now better publicised and the projects more widely known and understood.

Arctic Tern entangled

On Tuesday, Steve Staley and Chris Searston both gave a live interview for BBC Radio Nottingham and discussed the challenges of research work in the Arctic, including attack from Polar Bear, the need to raise funds as a charity and the plans for the 2019 expedition, then Wednesday saw Ian Frearson delivering an account to BBC Radio Derby on the background and make up of the ARG together with details of the 2019 expedition projects. Ian described the projects and highlighted the dramatic effects of pollution on wildlife in the Arctic.

Solid Support

Without a firm foundation the best of plans will almost certainly struggle and most will fail. It is not surprising that the smallest of elements may prove to be most important so it is with great delight that the Tarpaulins Direct company have agreed to help us with a much needed tarpaulin sheet for our Base Camp tent.

Click on the image

A spokesperson today agreed the donation that will provide a sound and comfortable base on the frozen tundra and on which the members will sleep.

Rachel McGuigan, Customer Service Manager said ” We’re happy to help. Can you just confirm exactly what size you need? We have something like a 5m x 5m, would that suffice? “

2019 Expedition members named

At last the final group that will form the 2019 Expedition to Bockfjord North Spitsbergen has been named.

Leading the Expedition will be Dr Steve Staley, a founder member and veteran of several ARG expeditions.  His scientific role will be looking at the geological elements surrounding the warm springs that are to be visited and the supervising of sampling.  It is also planned to look for ancient fossilised fish remains and log all findings with a view to recording locations and attitudes within the rocks.  Steve will be heading the whole team when they are locating, recording, collecting and disposing of beach pollution, particularly plastic, that is now an unsightly and dangerous feature of Arctic shores.  This work is being undertaken in partnership with two other international organisations and data and results will be shared to provide maximum input to the understanding of this global problem.

Professor Graeme Shaw, another veteran of the ARG will be undertaking research into the vascular plant species present and their species distribution around and remote from the springs, as well as investigating the climate change balance of early colonisation of recently exposed ground due to glacial ice retreat.

Mike Haynes, founder member and a member of several previous ARG expeditions is to explore the use of drones in increasing the data collection possibilities for Arctic research.  This will allow less physical damage to be caused to the delicate Arctic environment by exploration physical visits for data collection.

Chris Searston, another ARG previous expedition member and very experienced Svalbard traveller will be undertaking a search for meteorites at suitable locations where glacial ice retreat provides the best opportunities for success.

Dan Clarke rejoins the Group following his previous trip as Joint Expedition Leader in 1996 as logistical planner and Safety Officer.  He will also be running the day to day operations of the pollution programme.  Dan is in charge of the First Aid provision.

Two first time expeditioners join the make up the full compliment.  Henry Staley, a fourth year medical student in Dentistry joins in a general assistant category and to undertake some human physiological experiments on the rest of the team.

William Shaw, a second year student of Computer Science completes the seven man team and brings his expertise in computing to help log and record the whole of the research information in anticipation of the papers and reports that will be generated.

ARG join International Group on Pollution

A spokesman for SALT recently acknowledged the ARG as one of its partners. 

The ARG has now joined forces with other similar minded groups to undertake research into pollution by plastic and other elements on beaches in the High Arctic.  One of the Group’s projects planned for 2019 will be the systematic collection logging and examination of pollution on  stretches of beach in Svalbard as part of an international Group who are also undertaking this valuable work.  A spokesman for SALT recently acknowledged the ARG as one of its partners.   The following statement was received by the ARG during the past few days.

Letter of Support
We are writing this letter in support of the Arctic Research Group (“ARG”) for their
proposed research work on macro beach litter in Svalbard during the summer of 2019.
We are providing advice to the ARG on the design and execution of this work, which we
understand will include the clearing of rubbish from one or more beaches in northwestern
Spitsbergen and its in-depth description and cataloguing. The ARG have
indicated that they will share the results of their work with us, all interested
organisations in Svalbard and with the wider scientific community.
SALT is an independent consultant company with knowledge about and for the coast
and the sea delivering services within research, consultancy and outreach. Marine litter
is one of our core areas of work. SALT consists of high professional competence on
marine ecosystems, coastal industries and entrepreneurship, particularly concerning
northern issues.
Tromsø, 04.11.2018

Photograph courtesy of Steppes Travel

Bear amongst pollution


Freight at last

Phew I can relax again for a day or two, the freight is on its’ way. 

So long in preparing & getting a price, the freight has at last been taken to Immingham and accepted by our shipping line, Bring International. They have been so good today in helping sort it all out & get paperwork done, so well done Scott & staff, we will not be seeing it again until Svalbard hopefully.

New Grant

The ARG is pleased and proud to announce that they have been given a grant by the Gino Watkins Memorial fund that will cover the outbound freight to Svalbard, a vital element in the overall scheme.  packing of all the goods to be sent from UK is now underway and we expect it to leave for Svalbard by the end of this month.  Our grateful thanks to our referees who gave us such good references to help secure the grant.

Coming to a head

At last things seem to be coming to a head, With the collaboration between the ARG and Professor Andrew Hodson we now have a robust and well planned revised proposal that will see us marrying up with another group, all studying some facet of the Warm Springs of Jotun & Kjell.  In order to minimise the effect on the environment we have now combined our resources regarding transport so we go out on Lance and return on a ship chartered by another group. this will reduce our overall footprint considerably, something with which we are very pleased to be a part.

Charity Boost for 2017 Research Expedition

Only weeks after being registered as a charity the ARG has received a bonus in the form of a gift of shares in a leading UK company that will help fund not only the forthcoming reconnaissance but also the 2017 Expedition.  The Group are delighted with this early response to their recent status update and will be offering an evening of photographs to their latest supporters by way of thanks.