Video and photo gallery: Norfolk world record-breaking polar explorer to lead arctic trek for charity

George Bullard, left, with Ross and Hugo Turner, on their trek across Greenland. Photo: Submitted George Bullard, left, with Ross and Hugo Turner, on their trek across Greenland. Photo: Submitted

Sunday, May 4, 2014
10:58 AM

A world record-breaking polar explorer from Norfolk is leading an arctic trek to raise funds for Spinal Research.

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Beautiful but dangerous terrain

■ Depart: The village of Kangerlassauq on the west coast on April 28 during sub-zero arctic temperatures and surviving hazardous storms. The twins and Mr Bullard will also have to avoid dangerous crevasses and cross the Nagtivit glacier on the east coast before reaching their final destination.

■ Arrive: Tasiilaq on the east coast, approximately 30 days later.

■ Total distance: 340 miles (550km)

■ The goals:

– Conquering the extremes of Greenland’s frozen ice cap.

– Raising £250,000 for Spinal Research.

– Helping to advance scientific knowledge with King’s College, London’s Department of Twin Research.

George Bullard, from Gressenhall, near Dereham, who holds the world record for the longest ever unsupported polar journey, has joined identical twins Hugo and Ross Turner as they attempt to cross the polar ice cap in Greenland.

With Mr Bullard acting as a guide, the trio took their first steps on the desolate arctic ice cap earlier this week and expect to take a few weeks to complete their charity trek.

They face sub-zero arctic temperatures, dangerous crevasses and wild arctic storms as they cross the vast isolated ice desert wilderness, over a distance of 340 miles.

The arctic ice cap is considered to be one of the most inhospitable places on the planet and just last year, along exactly the same route the twins and Mr Bullard will travel, but in reverse, the ice cap claimed the life of one young man, Philip Goodeve-Docker, 31, from Hampshire, who froze to death two days into a charity trek.

The three men, who are all 25, are laying their lives on the line to raise funds for Spinal Research – a charity close to the twins’ hearts after Hugo narrowly escaped paralysis when he broke his neck in a freak diving accident.

It is the latest challenge in a long line of epic exploits for Mr Bullard, who completed his unsupported polar challenge in 2008, aged just 19, with team mate Alex Hibbert. The pair spent 113 days on the ice and covered 1,374 miles crossing Greenland.

The University of Edinburgh graduate, who has cycled 2,500 miles from the UK to Greece, led a group of young people through the Amazon jungle and trekked across the Antarctic, said: “We are not undertaking this challenge for ourselves, or just to visit a beautiful place, but for an immensely important reason.

“Hugo broke his neck seven years ago and was just millimetres away from paralysis. These guys are a great example of people who are living their lives to the full and with Spinal Research, we are within years of giving people who have broken their back the chance to do exactly what we are doing, living life to the full, and reversing paralysis forever.”

As part of the fund-raiser, the Turner twins, from Devon, are conducting an experiment to see what it was like to be an explorer 100 years ago.

Ross is wearing kit similar to that worn by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914, during the famous “endurance” expedition to Antarctica, while his brother wears gear from the 21st century.

They are also helping King’s College London’s vital research into twins, broadening knowledge about human physiology to help in the treatment of various conditions and diseases.

To support the trek, which has won support from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, go to www.justgiving.com/turner-twins-greenland. For more information and to track their effort, go to www.theturnertwins.co.uk.
Are you undertaking an epic challenge for charity? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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