A Perthshire weather man will combine science with mountaineering when he visits one of Greenland’s remotest regions in April.
Former MET Office weather forecaster Matt Hay from Scone is taking on the challenge alongside trainee army medic and soon-to-be-published author Leo Carew, whom he met on a British Schools’ Exploring Society expedition to the Arctic in 2010.
The friends will make for Greenland on a two-fold mission that begins with undertaking climate change research, measuring the rate of melt on the ice sheets of the Stauning Alps, which are major contributors to sea level rise but relatively under-studied.
The second aspect of the trip will see the pair climb between two and six of the mountain range’s unclimbed peaks.
To begin their expedition, Matt and Leo will pull all their supplies in sledges, known as pulks, on a 150km journey from their plane landing site to the mountains.
The nearest settlement will be Greenland’s most remote village, Ittoqqortoormiit (population 450), which is 200km to the east.
The adventurers will spend 40 days on the ice, with their progress being recorded on social media.
A satellite telephone will enable them to keep in daily contact with Matt’s girlfriend, Anna Weguelin. They will also have access to a radio and emergency beacon and have a logistics man on Greenland who can be called should anything go wrong.
Matt said: “We are very aware of the risks.
“Leo, in fact, spent 12 months in Svalbard in Norway training to become an arctic nature guide and living in a tent the entire time, as we will in Greenland.
“We will both be armed because of the polar bear risk – though the time of year we are travelling at should limit that – and there will be some threat from avalanches.
“The perimeter of our campsites will be ringed with tripwires so that a flare would go up if a bear was to stumble across us.”
The pair will also have to contend with 24-hour sunlight as well as what Matt describes as “a fairly severe polar climate”.
During their 40-day expedition, they will face temperatures of around -12 degrees during the daytime and -25 to -30 at night.
Matt has been undertaking winter weather training in Highland Perthshire, walking, mountaineering, skiing and outdoor camping.
As well as fitness work, he has also been encourage to pile on a few pounds – as the exertion ahead is likely to see him lose a stone or more in weight.
Sponsors have been helping to provide the nutrition that will help meet the 6,000 to 7,000 calories-a-day needed to combat the cold and physical demands of pulling the sledges.
They include Nairns Oatcakes, Aberfeldy Oatmeal, Glenlyon Coffee Roasters and Expedition Foods, who make dehydrated meals similar to those used by astronauts.
Anyone interested in supporting Matt and Leo on their adventure should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna’s updates during the adventure can be viewed on the Twitter page “@grnlnd2018”.