On Thursday evening I went along to the central London ship chandler of Arthur Beale Ltd for a talk by Alasdair of the Sumara of Weymouth about their trip up to Jan Mayen and ascent of the mighty Beerenberg.
I really enjoyed it: even though I'd followed the story on their blog and watched the YouTube videos hearing it all in one go certainly gave a better feel of the expedition.
It took a lot of planning, over 3 years. What struck me was the comment that maybe as many as 100 people were involved in ways big and small. To keep the wider group in touch there were newsletters and meetups.
There was useful tips about training (ice work in the Alps, some half marathons to keep the strength up and weight down, camping expeditions) and gear (the 15 kg Rocna anchor is apparently the one of choice).
Most of the talk was of the voyage north over three summers: the first and last year's tasks involved delivery of Sumara between the London estuary and the Scottish highlands.
I must admit I got rather misty eyed hearing about the sailing part:
- When Alastair talked about his transit of the Faroes I was remembering navigating between those islands in 2012
- When he talked about meeting Siggi on Aurora and encountering ice in the Denmark Strait I could picture my bunk in that yacht and sailing her between ice bergs as we escaped engine failure in the Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord
- When he talked of climbing the extinct volcano of Snaefellsjokull I remember a bumpy night's sail passing it with Tristan in Goldeneye
- And then there was Isafjordur and Reykjavík...
It was such a shame I got sick this year so couldn't go north again!
On display was the Tilman award they received for their climb of Beerenberg:
A very enjoyable evening and talk, with two more to come, so check out the calendar of events at Arthur Beale. The next one early November is about Albert Strange and then the one in December about Bill Tilman - by someone who I met at the talk who actually sailed with him!
Worth putting that in the diary.