Snow, Sleds & Silence – The Story of The Nordkapp Expedition

Dog sledding to the northernmost tip of Europe – a trail thought to be impossible!

Do you want to know what it takes to dog-sled to the northernmost tip of Europe, on a trail thought to be impossible? To be in Europe’s lastwilderness where there is no running water and no electricity, with 26 hungry huskies waiting to be fed, where -4ºC is too hot for the dogs to run, where there is total silence, no birds, no trees, just you, your two companions, three sleds, with mountain after mountain to climb to find a trail that will take you to Nordkapp.

The experienced mushers of Norway said it was impossible, they said the sleds were too heavy (they weighed 120 kilos), they said we couldn’t start from Signaldalen as the sleds would not be able to withstand the trail through the forest and would be broken within two days, they said that Cathy and I were too inexperienced to do the trail as the expedition leader and wanted to take us round the Haalti Mountains. They thought he was crazy to try. But he believed it could be done, he believed the sleds would withstand the punishment they would take and he believed that Cathy and I could do it. So in April 2004 the three of us set off to dog-sled 600 kilometres to Nordkapp, the northernmost tip of Norway, to do a trail that had never been done before.

This is the story of how The Nordkapp Expedition turned from a dream into reality and how the leader and two women from totally different disciplines, one a British round the world yachtswoman and one a South African mountaineer, took up the challenge to prove them wrong.

Foreword by Sir Chay Blyth, CBE BEM

‘Rona Cant had the courage to leave the conventions of an ‘ordinary’ life and do something different!’

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Moira Furmage March 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Well, I’ve finished the book, and I must be honest…………….. I couldn’t put it down ! It was excellent, and it certainly took me back to the C.R.UK. challenge. It has made me re- read my log and look at my photos! I also said ‘never again’ but I meant it, there is no way I could have tackled what you have done, I do have stamina but not that much and certainly would not have had the strength to lift the sleds when they overturned. I didn’t supply the Brandy and apple juice, but I did the Easter eggs, and enjoyed BOTH. Dear Susan was poorly (we shared the room at the ice hotel) and she persuaded me in the end to get Digger to see her because she thought she had food poisoning! I think Digger agreed with me when after a ‘consultation’ he said “Och Susan you’ve got a hangover!” She was not convinced, as you said – the jury’s still out.

I am sure people who read the book and say ‘I couldn’t have done that’ have no real idea of the hardship, the cold, the frustration, and the responsibility towards your fellow travellers.

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Iain Cunningham April 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Congratulations on the book! Coming from a non committed book reader, once I got started I kept going until I finished it. It took me straight back to the community challenge, the scenery, the dogs, the ice palace. The trials and tribulations of handling the dogs and sledges, the comfort when we reached the lodges at the end of each day. All realistic and I even felt your pain and shivered at the mention of the biting winds and snow storms. I was the unfortunate sole that was sent flying from the reindeer that pernels tied the sledge to and had to walk back to the lodge. It brought back many happy memories.

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