Siberia and Antarctica blogs

May 4, 2016
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There may be dinosaurs!

In 1908 the adventurer, explorer, cartographer, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and occasional spy, Perceval Harrison Fawcett, visited the great sandstone plateaus of the Franco […]
March 8, 2013
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Antarctic Lake Vostok yields ‘new bacterial life’

7 March 2013 Last updated at 21:51 By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website Russian scientists have claimed the discovery of a new type of […]
March 7, 2013
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Did UFO ‘hit’ Russian meteorite blasting it to smithereens? Conspiracy theorists’ extraordinary claim after new footage emerges – Daily Mail 27/2/13

Theory is based on analysis of several different pieces of footage U.F.O. watchers claim object seen close by could be a U.F.O. They suggest alien ‘guardian […]
March 5, 2013
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In search of tentacles

Only one wild creature has ever been sighted at the South Pole, a Southern Petrel; an opportunistic bird that was most likely sifting through the rubbish […]
February 27, 2013
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Fava beans and a nice chianti…

As often happens with binary predicaments there turns out to be a third option.  In the morning a stiff westerly breeze (appx 125 mph) clears the […]
February 26, 2013
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Wild thing

Tuesday (pretty early) – it is now shortly before the time I was scheduled to be home in London as a returning hero.  Instead I am […]
February 23, 2013
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The price of fish

In the morning we take an early zodiac from the ship in the face of a wind that could cut glass, to visit the ‘icebergs graveyard’, […]
February 22, 2013
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An empire built on custard

To Detaille Island, home to an eight man team from the British Antarctic Survey between 1956 and 1959.  Like many other survey huts, this has been […]
February 20, 2013
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Swimming to Antarctica

On Tuesday morning we get the chance to visit what is possibly the closest thing to a tourist attraction in Antarctica.  Port Lockroy was (and still […]
February 19, 2013
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Penguins!

  64 degrees South – Cueverville Island. This morning we will visit the Penguin colony of Cuerverville Island (as nothing in Antarctica possesses a ‘native’ name […]
February 18, 2013
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In search of the red otter

Today will be a better day. Yesterday we left Punta Arenas early to make our good weather window.  Two hours later we arrive at Frei Airbase, […]
February 18, 2013

The big spit

Sunday – South Shetland Islands Swell: 3 metres Today I am mostly throwing up
February 17, 2013
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Packed like Kate Moss

This morning I take a trip to the Punta Arenas cemetery to witness the Chilean way of death in all of its splendour.  Mausoleums of the […]
February 16, 2013
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All points North

Today Punta Arenas is my oyster. Capital of the Magallanes region of Chile it sits on the Magellan Straits, a natural fracture dividing the South American […]
February 15, 2013
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A trip takes us

  A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of […]
February 14, 2013
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Chilean surprise

Twenty seven hours of travelling later and I am approximately two thirds of the way to my destination having arrived in Santiago – much as I’d […]
February 13, 2013
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Completely bonkers (but in a good way)

I am ridiculously excited to learn that I will be in Antarctica at the same time as Sir Ranulph Fiennes as he sets out to attempt […]
February 11, 2013
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OMG, they killed Kenny!

In 1914, on the eve of the first world war, the great adventurer, leader and Irishman, Sir Ernest Shackleton left England to undertake the Imperial Trans-Antarctic […]
April 3, 2011
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The perils of Winchmore Hill

A week on and I am still being struck by the ironies – the worst toilet on a 5,500 mile journey was in the arrivals hall […]
March 28, 2011
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Back in the bubble

The vastness of Beijing airport makes Heathrow Terminal 5 look like a provincial bus station.  Inside I watch the check-in crew line up for their formal […]
March 27, 2011
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The hairy foreigner

“Can we take your picture please?” She is about seventeen and accompanied by three generations of her family.  Standing in the queue for the cable car […]
March 25, 2011
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Thanks, but I had bugs for lunch

I am a little stunned to arrive in Beijing; it is quite the largest city I have been in since I left home.  I am not […]
March 25, 2011
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The good, the bad and the ugly

My eighth and final train takes me from Ulan Bator to Beijing.  It is by far the most modern and well equipped train I have been […]
March 24, 2011
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The horse master

My last day in the camp and we are invited to visit the nomadic home of Bachka who lives nearby (at least he does at the […]
March 23, 2011
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Among the Golden Horde – Part 2

22nd March There are not many guests in the camp; apart from our guides there is Kevin, a fuel technician who lives in Alaska and works […]
March 23, 2011
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Among the Golden Horde – Part 1

21st March In preparation for arrival at Ulan Bator I get up at 5.00am and do the Indiana Jones thing over the open tracks to get […]
March 20, 2011

Princess Anne vs Ghengis Khan

The Trans-Manchurian line runs from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator and on to Beijing for the next leg of the journey.  The rolling stock is considerably older […]
March 19, 2011
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Nikky Nakky Noo!

I spend the day  in Irkutsk before catching the train that takes me to Ulan Ude and then over the Mongolian border to Ulaan Baatur.  Irkutsk […]
March 18, 2011
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A lesson in leadership

The dog sledging centre is based in the valley high above Listvyanka in the heart of the pine forest. The centre is run by Natasha and […]
March 17, 2011
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Breaking the ice

I disembark from the train at 6:15am at Irkutsk.  In the last 24 hours the cabin next to mine has been occupied by two police officers […]
March 16, 2011
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Camping for boys

Today is my last full day on board the #2 Moscow-Vladivostok train and there is a touch of cabin fever in the air.  The carriage is […]
March 15, 2011
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Fascinating facts file –Vol 1

Sometime during the night we passed over the Ural mountains and through Ekaterinberg (famous for being the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin and where the Tsar and […]
March 14, 2011
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The odd couple

Train number six takes me from Moscow to Irkutsk and is the longest single leg of the journey.  As I will spend four days on this […]
March 12, 2011
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Lenin is being washed

It’s Saturday morning and I have roughly 24 hours to “do” Moscow.  My guide is Lena, a Muscovite schoolteacher who works part time as a tour […]
March 11, 2011
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Why the toilets are shut.

At 1am we cross the border into Belarus.  The train attendants wake us up and the border guards come on board to check passports.  There is […]
March 11, 2011

Get well Steve!

I have just learned that my friend and talented musician, Steve Dagleish is unwell and in hospital.  Get well soon Steve, we have need of your […]
March 10, 2011
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Anoraknophobia!

I have decided I like trains.  Not in a geeky sort of way; I am hopefully a long way from wanting to stand at the end […]
March 9, 2011

My hovercraft is full of eels…

My first day of solitary travelling and already I am on my fourth train; the Belgian countryside is rolling past the window; cars are driving on […]
March 6, 2011

On Wednesday I leave for Siberia…

…and how often can you say that? When I broached the subject with my wife she was very understanding.  “I want to go to Siberia,” I […]