‘And of what value was this journey? It is as well for those who ask such a question that there are others who feel the answer and never need to ask’
– Wally Herbert (from Mind Over Matter, by Sir Ranulph Fiennes)
Why Snugpak? Yes, I love a great British outdoor gear brand, which still manufactures in this country – a rare thing indeed these days. And yes, every soldier worth their salt has a Softie sleeping bag for chilly nights in drippy woods. But when I met the team, and I told them about my plan to ski to the South Pole, they believed I would from the very first moment. I don’t know if they could see it in my eyes (very earnest!), or that that they themselves knew the same yearning for adventure, but they were immediately keen to support me. Straightaway they were thinking up new prototypes and ideas for saving weight, advising on kit and giving me tips on safety planning.
That belief was a huge boost. I think they believed in me more than I did myself at that moment, and I could see me working with such a like-minded company. I was more than thrilled when they told me I’d be their new brand ambassador. Ok, I’m sure people think that I get a bit of nice kit and go on my way. But there is a huge responsibility on my side too, to help them grow and tell more people about their products, to be out testing new equipment in some pretty cheeky conditions.
There is now so much planned – from visiting their Skipton site, to product testing and a few Snugpak adventures! I’m so chuffed to be writing this as a brand ambassador. I really am ordinary – I didn’t grow up on a mountain, I wasn’t born on skis, or with wealthy parents – but thanks to someone, somewhere (Viking blood in my veins, my mother always says), I have the will to succeed and the curiosity to find out what else is out there. And that is more powerful to the ordinary human than any else.
So here I am with Snugpak, starting out on a long road to Antarctica, but I know they’ll be supporting me every step of the way.