Exped Report 8 - Many Thanks
Foxy Friends, fantastic messages, the media and Foxy HQ
The support that we received from our family and friends and from people we met along the way was incredible. A great number of people donated money to our expedition and became Foxy Friends. In return for donating £50, Foxy Friends received a limited edition “I am a Foxy Friend” pin badge, regular updates from the ice, entry into a prize draw and free entry to our Foxy events.
Our website included a message board and we loved reading the posted messages. We regularly updated our online diary during our six months of preparations so that people could stay up-to-date with our training and schedules – this included pictures of us kite-skiing at Finse in
Two very important people who were part of Team Fox were Rob Hollingworth and Kate Abel. Rob was our project manager and Kate coordinated our press and PR - together they were Foxy HQ and we would have been lost without them.
Rob's position required complete devotion from him to us for the entire 35 days we were on the ice. We called Rob every morning to give him our position and where we expected to set up camp at the end of the day. We also let him know our daily experiences and general well being so that he could send emails to our family and friends. He was our main contact with the outside world and it was always very exciting for us to speak to him on the ice, especially when he relayed messages to us that had been left on our message board and gave us news from home. Our satellite phone did not always pick up a signal and if we missed our first call window to Rob in the morning we would attempt a second call in the afternoon – if that also failed then we would wait until the next day. The longest period that we lost contact for was two days, and when we returned to the
Rob was the person who knew what to do in case of an emergency and had we activated our EPIRB (the emergency beacon that we carried with us), it would have been his duty to ensure that the emergency services and police in
Kate contacted print and broadcast media and successfully set up interviews for us before, during and after our expedition. We conducted a number of telephone interviews whilst we were in Greenland and it was great to know that people in the
The day after we arrived back in London we spent the day being filmed and interviewed for a variety of media companies including The Sun, ITV's Meridian and Westcountry TV stations, Radio Devon and Radio Kent. We were all severely lacking in sleep, however, the thrill of being back kept us going, as did the knowledge that from now on we would be sleeping in a bed without all our damp clothes shoved down our tops to dry them against our body heat!
The media coverage we received was excellent, and it culminated with an appearance by Felicity and Rachel on Radio 4's Excess Baggage, hosted by Sandi Toksvig, two weeks after we returned.
The Met Office
The Met Office were one of our sponsors and their contribution to our Greenland Quest was a dedicated team of forecasters who we would call every day for the weather forecast for
The sponsorship was a two-way partnership, as the Met Office asked for feedback about the accuracy of their forecasts and a daily ‘actual' forecast so that they could gather data that would help them to build up a picture of the weather tendencies on this polar desert.
We were working on Zulu time (the equivalent of British Standard Time), the same as the Met Office, and we would call them between 1.30am and 2.00am each day for the forecasts. The calls took place at the end of our day, and one of us would use a compass to work out the wind direction, note the wind speed in knots (which Felicity – who is a trained meteorologist - taught us to work out from the speed at which our union jack flag was flapping), cloud cover and visibility prior to making the call.
The calls always followed the same pattern: we would ask the forecaster for the one, two and three day forecasts first, to include wind speed and direction, temperature, visibility and general weather, and we would then let them know the actual forecast for the day and how it compared with their predicted forecast. We asked the Met Office to provide us with the information first, as the satellite telephone had a tendency to cut out if the signal was weak (there were times that we were unable to call as we could find no signal) and if we gave the actual forecast first we may miss hearing what was potentially in store for us the next day.
It was great to have our own personal forecasters. We generally found that they were accurate with regards to temperature and overall weather, although predicting the wind direction seemed to be harder, and sometimes the wind came at us from an entirely different direction! Knowing the weather in advance allowed us to mentally prepare for days of high snowfall and nil contrast, when we knew that the going would be very tough, and it was also essential in our decision to walk back rather than wait for suitable winds for kiting. The Met Office told us that these winds would not come, and they were right. Without their advance warning we may well have been stranded on the east side waiting for the winds that never came. Thank you to all of the fantastic forecasters who helped us on our Greenland Quest.
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