Two of our safety flooring products, Altro Stronghold and Altro Suprema II, have been selected for Sir Ranulph Fiennes latest expedition, The Coldest Journey.
The flooring will be used in the specially designed cabooses (sledge-mounted living quarters) which will also be used for storage and as a base for scientific work as part of The Coldest Journey, the first-ever trans-Antarctic winter expedition and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to interview Sir Ranulph Fiennes and go on-board the ship.
The day begun with some well needed research, as to what an expedition to an Antarctic entailed, other than the fact that it was cold!
Some interesting facts I found out;
This specific expedition has been in the planning stages since 2007
Sir Ranulph Fiennes has completed over ten expeditions
No one has ever walked the South Pole over the winter months
Should there be a problem, no rescue attempts can be made due to the harsh conditions
There will be total darkness for most of the trip
Walking 8 hours a day
Every 1 day in 3 is planned for a rest day (in case of illness, tiredness of mechanical problems)
So after my research was complete, I then set out to London Bridge to meet the ship, SA Agulhas which was taking all the equipment to this expedition and to interview one of Britain’s most famous explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
SA Agulhas was docked alongside HMS Belfast therefore we were told to bring ID with us. It was a bitterly cold day, in fact that night it did snow, however in my head I kept saying don’t mention the cold, don’t mention the cold, as this is nothing to what these guys are going to be facing!!
First up for us was the interview with Mr Fiennes, so we were taken to the passenger lounge where all the press team were preparing fortheir interviews. As expected there was a delay, which gave the photographer and I a chance to take in the views, and discuss how this lounge most have a. been some extreme places and b. experienced some very interesting conversations!!
After a twenty minute wait our time was ready, so we were introduced to the famous explorer who was very pleasant, was very well briefed on Altro and even remembered a conversation with myself. The interview went will, Ran is a certainly a pro when it comes to press interviews’, saying the right things for Altro, but also name dropping a popular bank who is in no doubt funding much of the trip. We then had to chance to take some beautiful press shots!!
The second part of the day was a tour of the ship, which we waited for a long time; my feet were well and truly numb by this point!! We got shown around by some of the South African cadets, who were so passionate about effectively their home, showing us practically every detail. We were really keen to see the cabooses, which are where our safety flooring has been laid, however it quickly became apparent that this would not be possible as they were being loaded to the hull, which was a shame, however you can see one of them in the picture below – it’s the blue container. There will be three of these which will be pulled buy Caterpillar D6N vehicles during
the expedition. The cabooses will hold the science facilities, and be the explorer’s
homes for six month.
All in all it was a very insightful day, great to meet Mr Fiennes and I now have a real interest in the expedition. So keep track of our twitter feed @AltroFlooring and come March next year we hope to see inside the cabooses and keep track of this remarkable journey – so stay tuned folks.