Official Suppliers to the Antartic Fire Angles

We love supporting different ventures here, even though we are a family run business we love giving something back to the community. Last year saw us backing the stunning team at HMS Oardacious on their quest to row the Atlantic in the worlds toughest rowing race and they really did need a protein fix and yes we supplied the whole team for just over 12mths with enough biltong to keep them going that came to nearly 1000 packs of Biltong. No mean feet for a "Small Family Business" we think.

HMS Oardacious/Biltong Power/Biltong Protein/Made By Us

So this year we wanted to find something just as amazing as what the lads did last year and we think we have found a real winner in the team at "Antarctica Fire Angles" this time its the turn of the Girls and its a beast of a adventure.

As an all-female team of Firefighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) and London Fire Brigade (LFB) they intend to be the first emergency service team to use muscle power alone to ski coast to coast across Antarctica on a route that has never been done by an all female team before.  The team will cover 1900km pulling pulks (supply sled) in temperatures as low as -50 and wind speeds of over 60mph over a period of about 70 days, that’s 27km everyday. And we think that they will need a whole lot of Biltong and yes that's where we step in again.

What the Girls have to say.

SWFRS and LFB currently have only between 3-5% female operational Firefighter representation.  We believe that becoming a Firefighter has made us into the strong women we are today, and we want this expedition to have a positive impact on future recruitment, so that others can benefit from a rewarding career like we have.  As a team, we are committed to improve this percentage and it would be amazing to see this reach double figures before we retire and leave a legacy for all those girls and young women who’ve ever been told ‘You can’t do that’ – Proving to WOMEN what WOMEN can do.  

Antarcia Fire Angles/Biltong Protein Power/Sponcership

 

Firefighters are often seen / portrayed as strong individuals who are impermeable to tragedy, able to cope in every situation and able to continue without question.  However, we know this is not the case, with many colleagues being impacted by incidents on a daily basis – this has been brought sharply in to focus in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy where PTSD has had a significant impact.

We want to highlight that Firefighters are affected by mental health too.  We intend to expose ourselves to one of the harshest environments in the world to give a full insight of who we are as individuals, not as people who are ‘stress resistant, super human or as people able to cover up our true feelings’.

We feel the key to our expedition is the total transparency with which we intend to document it.  There aren’t many people willing to be so totally honest and upfront about their mental health, especially when pushed to their limits as this is the time when firefighters would traditionally put their walls up and put a brave face on it.

PROJECTED TIMELINE:

Jan 2020

Start physical training program

Jan/Feb 2020

Cross-country skiing course at the Huntly Nordic Outdoor Centre

Mar 2020 – Nov 2022

Regular exposure training, long hours in mountains carrying large packs including navigation exercises and first aid training. Camping in snow. Regular trips to Scotland, Sweden.

Nov 2020

2-week Polar expedition training, Norway

Feb 2021

Crevasse rescue training. Glenmore Lodge, Plas Y Brenin

Nov 2021

2-week Polar expedition training, Norway

Early 2022

3-week polar expedition exposure - either crossing the Greenland icecap, ski expedition in Svalbard, Canada or Northern US.

Early 2020 – Nov 2023

Other additional specialist training - timetable to be confirmed

Nov 2023

Start expedition

 

Leg 1 

The expedition will start at Berkner Island which is an Antarctic ice rise where bedrock below sea level has caused the surrounding ice sheet to create a dome. If the ice cap were removed, the island would be under water.  It is approximately 320km long and 150km wide. From here the Angels will ski 1341km gradually uphill towards the South Pole which is at 2835m in height

Leg 2

On reaching the South Pole the Angels will be just over half through the expedition.  After a re-supply at the South Pole the next leg takes the Fire Angels uphill towards the Titan Dome and nearly two thirds into the expedition.  Titan Dome is a large ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau, running east to west and rising to 3100m between Queen Maud Mountains and the South Pole.  It is likely to be an extremely harsh environment.  What makes this section particularly hard is that it takes the Angels into the last quarter of the expedition where food is low, they would have lost weight and their kit is wearing out and possibly not functioning properly. It is at this point that the Angels will have to be at their highest level of focus.

Leg 3 

The Angels will now have travelled 1795km to the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier (48km long) and have 105km remaining to the finish.  From the top of the glacier, they will have to descend onto the Ross Ice Shelf.  Although this section is by comparison the downhill section of the expedition, glaciers come with their own hazards such as crevasses. The Angels will have to maintain their focus, so close to the finish as it may be easy to let concentration lapse

 

Team Safety

Safety is paramount, and the team will be contracted with ‘ALE’ - Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions to oversee the entire expedition.  Included with this is a rescue package for medical emergencies such as injury and or evacuation.  The team will have a satellite phone and make daily calls to ALE for weather reports and to report on the condition of the team.  If no contact is made from the team to ALE in 48 hours then an emergency team is automatically deployed to evacuate the whole team. A doctor is on call 24/7 and will advise the team should anyone need treatment and or evacuation.  No member of the team will be in a position to advise another member if they should continue or not as ‘Summit fever’ can be a strong influencing factor.  Once out of the Antarctic, normal repatriation protocols apply.

See what the three of the Girls had to say when on the BBC CLICK HERE.

 

Post Expedition

It is anticipated that team members will have significant post expedition depression.  An engagement plan is required that will help the team to reintegrate back into normality, into routine of working etc.  A series of media / speaking opportunities can be pre-scheduled to help with this to help ‘download’ all the events that took place.  This will also re-engage with the aim of the expedition - to inspire and challenge stereotypes in the eye of the public.  We have engaged with ‘Elisabeth Sews’ – a company that makes trauma teds from old, sometimes treasured clothing.  We have already initiated a scheme where each member of the team has an avatar ted to take on the expedition and become a metaphor for their mental state.  Post expedition, it is intended to publish children’s books focussing on mental health eg. My Mother is a Firefighter; Brave people cry too etc.  Counselling will also be pre-booked to help with the highs and lows of such a challenge.

 

We have already started to supplier the girls with Biltong (to start with we drop them all a 10 Pack Selection Box so they had chance to try a lot of what we do) to help them with their training that will last until the expedition starts in 2023 and as you can see its going to be a massive venture over the next three years and we intend and helping in any way can.

To find out more details of what they are up to please visit. HERE


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