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Cumbrian doctor all set to brave freezing conditions for charity
AN EDEN man sets off today (Wednesday) on what promises to be a memorable adventure across Antarctica.
Dr Rob Lambert, of Great Asby, will take on the role of team doctor for The Coldest Journey, an epic trek which organisers hope will be the first winter traverse of the continent.
It takes place between the two seasonal equinoxes - March 20 and September 22 - and those taking part hope to raise US$10 million for Seeing is Believing, a global charity to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries.
Veteran explorer and expedition co-leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes was forced to pull out due to frostbite on two fingers, but will continue to raise awareness and funds for the trek.
He said: “Today my colleagues begin what will be a significant and life-changing challenge. They are the first people ever to try to cross the Antarctic continent during the polar winter – it is a huge feat of exploration and daring.
“I have spent five long years planning, organising and masterminding the expedition, which I have now put into the capable hands of Brian Newham, the new expedition leader.
“We’ve had messages of support from all around the world and from all sorts of people – from HRH The Prince of Wales, Royal Patron of The Coldest Journey, to Joanna Lumley, a trustee of the expedition.
“It is a fantastic adventure and I am sure that it will succeed. Whilst the team are out there on the ice making history, I am proud to be here doing all that I can for the expedition and for Seeing is Believing, which is an incredibly worthy charity.”
“I wish the team the very best of luck and will be following their progress closely.”
Dr Lambert told the Gazette: “While I have participated in other expeditions, this will be the longest, and my first where my main role is as team doctor," he said.
"I’m expecting to treat a lot of blisters and athletes foot, and if that was all I had to deal with then I’d be very happy.
"However, in such extreme temperatures frostbite is a constant risk and could cause significant injury.
"It’s also surprisingly easy to become very dehydrated in Antarctica as the air is so dry, so we’ll have to take steps to prevent that."
During this six-month period the expedition team will travel 2,400 miles in temperatures approaching -90°C and in near permanent darkness. The expedition team will be entirely self-sufficient, with search and rescue capabilities severely constrained due to the hostile winter conditions.