THE spirit of polar explorers is alive and the South Pole dazzles minds as strong as it did when Scott and Amundsen reached it first in 1912. A century later, a small Irish/Russian team is ready for an expedition which aims to reach the very heart of Antarctica.
Niall Carton (44) from Newcastle, Co Down, and his two Russian friends Alexey Borichev and Alexander Zozulya will depart from Punta Arenas in Chile in early January to fly to the Union Glacier Basecamp in Antarctica. After a short acclimitisation stay, the team will fly further to 89 degree of the south latitude and start skiing towards the South Pole… a distance of about 111km (60 miles), and they aim to reach the Pole on 14 January.
Speaking to Down News from Moscow, Niall said: “ With temperatures as cold as -40F, strong winds and with altitudes varying from 2,500m to 3,000m the trip is very demanding to the physical conditions and equipment. This is exactly the reason we started training and preparation already in summer which included gym, swimming, squash, boxing, running and trekking. We also want to dedicate this adventure and effort to support the work of The Greater Chernobyl Cause and their work at Ivanovskoye Hospice in Kostroma, Russia, the last shelter for the old and infirm, which was cut from the government support in 2010 and patients were left to the mercy of their fate.”
Niall has worked in ING for over 15 years. He spent 10 years in London in various roles within the Market Risk management department and almost 5 years in Moscow heading up the financial markets department. Niall’s said: “It has always been a dream of mine to go to the North Pole and although I never expected to realize it I did it! It was a great opportunity to test my own limitations, drive and is a huge physical and mental challenge. To be able to realize a dream and at the same time raise money for a good cause like the Tula Orphanage was too good an opportunity to turn down. I enjoyed it so much that I have decided to go again this year but this time to the South Pole.
“This year I will also dedicate my adventure to a great cause and you can read more about the project below. Please join me in making this a very special journey by following us on our blog and sending messages of support and also making it an extra special journey by supporting us on our charity fundraising by donating.
Alexey, who works for Barclays in Russia trading local currency and rates, has joined the TNK-BP team in the last summer. He said:” I think people should always be on the boundary between the possible and the impossible. This is what enables mankind to progress, opening up and developing the hidden capabilities of the body and the mind. For me the North and South Poles have always been places that no ordinary person can reach and I’ve been drawn to it by its inaccessibility. Doing this for charity gives the project a special meaning. It makes you feel that you not just waste your life entertaining yourself but you do something to help others, making their life more colorful. I hope my daughter will be very proud of me when I come back.
“I love photography so hope to have lots of incredible photos when I come home.
“Please support us in our effort – donations would be a massive help to those who are the most in need and who are completely defenseless . You can help by logging on to:
or contact Fiona Corcoran The Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 4 South Side Industrial Estate Pouladuff Rd Togher Cork Ph 021 4323276 087 9536133 email:fiona@
IVANSKOYE HOSPICE KOSTROMA RUSSIA
Niall carton added: “The hospice at Ivanovskoye in the Kostroma oblast, gives the last shelter to the old and infirm. In late 2010 it was in such a dreadful state that the Government shut it down, condemning the patients to the prospect of a slow and painful death. The only ambulance was withdrawn and with no other way to bring them to hospital, there were several cases of old people being found dead in their beds weeks after they had succumbed to the freezing conditions and left with nothing to eat. Doctors in the area have been forced to walk up to 20 km a day to visit their patients.
“Now, twelve months on and thanks to generous donations and the charity\’s hard work, there have been major improvements to renovation, diet, medical care and hygiene. The Greater Chernobyl Cause has now re-opened the hospice but there is so much left to do.
“The plan is to have this facility fully renovated, which will be then a safe and secure hospice for up to twenty five residents.
I have travelled widely in the former Soviet Union, but have been appalled to see the conditions in which these people have been living. There is no hope for them and their fellow citizens unless there is outside intervention
“I visited a man suffering the terrible pain of spinal cancer, whose only hope of a peaceful death, was admittance to the hospice.. Everyone deserves the right to live and die with dignity.
“The icy grip of Winter is once again upon us. We hope to bring renewed hope and dignity to a community where life and death have always been close neighbours.”