August 26th – September 11th 2016. Military charity Pilgrim Bandits, based in the New Forest, Hampshire has announced the line-up of injured service men and veterans taking part in its kayaking expedition for 2016 to Greenland. Those taking part from all over the UK are; L/Bdr Ben Parkinson MBE, Doncaster. Cpl Hari Magar, Canterbury. Cpl Vince Manley, Plymouth. Adam Cyr (Canadian Special Forces) Stuart Holcroft, ex Royal Artillery. Steven Allen, confidential as serving. L/Cpl Tyler Christopher, Cardiff along with Alex Lewis (a civilian quad-amputee), Stockbridge, Hampshire.
For two weeks’ teams will travel across a section of the Artic amid icebergs and glacier fronts in the frozen waters around Greenland the world’s largest island. The injured members will be paired with able-bodied in double kayaks, with fee paying kayakers joining the trip to offset some of the expedition costs and contribute to the charity’s fund raising toward a purpose built kayaking training centre on the South Coast of England.
The teams will paddle for up to five hours each day, stopping only for lunch covering up to 20 miles per day. Exploring fjords and a labyrinth of islands and outcrops of land, they will wild camp, cook local produce whale/seal meat, black cod which must be caught as they kayak. Evening camp is a time to relax ready to repeat the following day.
The injured members of the team have completed comprehensive training for the trip and three have gone on to achieve Level 1 Coaching qualifications with the BCU in Kayaking all funded by the charity. Pilgrim Bandits provides training working towards qualifications for those injured interested in pursuing a career in the leisure sector or to simply train for expeditions like this one.
Andre Edwards, general manager for Pilgrim Bandits explains “This is a hard core trip. Hazardous and gruelling and fraught with dangers. We have employed the expertise of highly regarded guides but this trip will certainly challenge everyone taking part. We will be completely isolated and away from all civilisation. The glaciers are active and the waters -30c – with luck nobody will be capsizing. On the upside we expect to see all manner of wildlife including seals, eagles and foxes and to see the Northern Lights.”