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Summary of Expedition Plans ......

The Expedition at a Glance
Patronage & Support
Expedition Dates
Background
Expedition Objectives
Participation
Post Expedition Publicity

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Please visit our Diary/Log pages to read about our adventures.....New Bulletin Board now open more....>

At a glance

The aim of the expedition was to explore the Danco Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula by ski and sail in order to record historical, wildlife and geographical information.

Ocean and wilderness sailing
The Expedition sailed an 18 berth, 72' foot yacht over 20,000 miles from UK to Antarctic and back across some of the world’s roughest and remotest oceans.. Whilst in Antarctica the yacht was used as a mobile Base Camp for......

Mountaineering
A land party man-hauled sledges and explored the glaciers and mountains of The Danco Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Forays ashore provided the perfect opportunity for......

Field Studies
The expedition worked closely with The British Antarctic Survey, Scott Polar Research Institute, the University of Brighton and other Polar bodies. It undertook a field studies programe which included the collection of field data for scientific research and conservation.

The Expedition sought to make extensive use of the internet to allow others to follow and share in the Expedition’s progress.   The Expedition's web site (www.baae.org.uk) was regularly updated almost daily from the yacht with video, photographs and a diary of progress.  The expedition team included a professional photographer to ensure our progress was recorded for posterity. Many of the pictures taken can be seen in our photo galleries.

Patronage & Support

The expedition was honoured by the highest level backing which included:

The expedition enjoyed the Patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Michael Walker KCB CMG CBE ADC Gen, was the expedition’s Military Patron.

The Scott Polar Research Institute & British Antarctic Survey helped to determine field study objectives.

Expedition Dates

The Expedition ran from August 2001 - June 2002. The Expedition yacht, John Laing chartered from the Ocean Youth Trust (South) was fitted out for the adventure. She was then delivered to The Falkland Islands in a series of legs (details) before final preparation for the Antarctic. The Expedition then spent nearly 10 weeks exploring the Danco Coast area of the Antarctic Peninsula and Elephant Island. Christmas and New Year was celebrated on The Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic phase ran from Dec 2001 to Feb 2002. During this period the team sailed across the notorious Drakes Passage south of Cape Horn and then used the yacht as a Base Camp from which to explore and mountaineer ashore. In March 2002 John Laing headed north and arrived back in the UK on May 14th 2002. In all over 100 people had the opportunity to take part in this unique expedition.

Background

DiancourtCamp.jpg (17362 bytes)The British Army Antarctic Peninsula Expedition built upon and sought to continue the tradition of British Services' involvement in Antarctic exploration. It also broke new ground in an exciting partnership between the British Army and The Ocean Youth Trust South. Young people from both organisations were given a unique opportunity for personal development as well contributing to the success of a major voyage of physical exploration and self discovery.


The Expedition Objectives

Outline
The Expedition ran from August 2001 to May 2002 in five phases:

Phase 1 - Preparation
Thorough preparation was vital to the success of The Expedition and nothing was left to chance. Prior to departure every aspect of The Expedition was be considered. This included an extensive refit programme for the yacht, obtaining and testing equipment and of course selecting, building and training all members of the team.

Phase 2 - Yacht Delivery
In late August 2001 John Laing departed UK for the 8000 mile passage to The Falkland Islands. The second and fourth phases were split into legs (details) and involved over 100 young people from The Ocean Youth Trust and Servicemen who enjoyed a worthwhile and memorable challenge as well as an investment in their potential and future.

Phase 3 - The Danco Coast
Members of the Expedition's Antarctic Team left the Falkland Islands in December 2001 and sailed to the area of the Danco Coast.  Mountaineering parties were then landed and the expedition explored the Danco Coast by ski and sail in order to record historical, wildlife and geographical information. This included the ascent of mountains which have no recorded previous ascents. Prior to the Expedition's visit, much of the area was still largely unexplored and both climate and topography represented a significant challenge. The expedition returned to the Falkland Islands in February 2002.

Photo: The Danco Coast, Antarctic Peninsula, from Brabant Island looking South down the Koch Glacier, across the Gerlache Strait, towards the Arctowski Peninsula.  Mount Bulke and Victoria Peak middle right of picture.

Click here to orientate and compare photo to map of the area

Phase 4 - Yacht Recovery to The UK

John Laing then returned to the UK via the Falkland Islands, Rio de Janeiro and Antigua before returning to Southampton on 14th May 2002.

Phase 5 - Post Expedition Administration
The Expedition is not over now that John Laing has arrived back in the UK. There are reports to write and the return of equipment to be arranged. We also look forward to being able to tell people about the Expedition and encouraging others to live their own adventures. This website will be maintained and updated as part of that commitment.

Adventure
Sailing and mountaineering in this part of the world is always a serious undertaking and provided physical and mental challenges to all participants as they explored this still remote and largely unexplored area. Full details of our exploits are recorded in our regular 'Despatches' emailed back from the yacht. Use the menu above to read them in detail.

Field Studies Programme
The expedition research objectives were developed in consultation with the British Antarctic Survey, the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University and the University of Brighton.  These, and other institutions, are now in the process of examining the data and samples taken by the Expedition:

Historical
The heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration started about one hundred years ago and lasted about 35 years.  In the 1920s and 30s time a small number of scientific expeditions visited the Danco Coast but most expeditions at the time were in reality attempts to start commercial ventures in whaling, sealing and fishing.  The expedition sought to visit some of these sites to record their current state and to make comparisons with records made when the sites were first visited.

Plant and Wildlife

(i). The expedition collected data on sightings of a variety of bird and mammals. These included penguins, migratory and pelagic birds principally gulls, terns and skuas and whale and seal sightings.  The expedition had access to remote areas not often visited and collected data for comparison between colonies frequently visited by tourists and those in more remote locations.  The aim was to add further to knowledge of the most poorly recorded species along the Peninsula.

(ii) Floristic Survey of Inland Rock Exposures and Nunataks.  The Expedition sought to provide a qualitative account of the plants (mosses and lichens) and other vegetation at sites remote from the coast.  The collections were returned for the benefit of the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.  Of particular interest are collections from the spine of the plateau.  These will hopefully extend previous research but their collection made best use of the expedition’s mountaineering experience.  A similar survey was conducted of microscopic invertebrates at both coastal and inland sites.

rgs_approved.jpg (5763 bytes)Geographical
The expedition aimed to contribute to the knowledge of the hinterland and also to assist in mapping changing patterns of glaciation.  We undertook a considerable programme of geological sampling for The University of Brighton.  The main emphasis was the collection of rock samples, fixed with GPS, from key points on the Antarctic mainland and on some of the smaller islands off the Peninsula.  This was a valuable use of the small boat resources of the Expedition which allowed access to bays and coves not normally accessible to larger research vessels.  In addition the expedition contributed to the mapping and charting of Antarctic Islands, adding to work already carried out by the UK Hydrographic Office, BAS Mapping and the Geographic Information Centre.

Participation

The Team
A total of just over 100 people took part in the Expedition.  Many of these were novices making their first ocean passage.  A squad of male and female volunteers drawn from The Regular and Territorial Army and representing a balance of experience and skills formed the Antarctic Team.  This team trained for about 18 months prior to departure.

Team Leaders  The Expedition Leadership was based on three friends. Two had previously been members of a previous sledging andjunkcover.jpg (7684 bytes) mountaineering team on South Georgia in 1991 during an exploration of the southern part of the island.  The third, the yacht skipper had extensive ocean sailing experience and had previously taken part in the Whitbread Round the World yacht race. The team also included a doctor, science leader and professional photographer with recent Polar experience and who had been a member of the 1983-85 Joint Services Expedition to Brabant Island, Antarctica.

Novices The expedition leaders strongly believed that expedition members should not be drawn entirely from seasoned hands, although there was clearly a requirement to ensure the appropriate level of experience in the team. Central to the composition of the expedition was the inclusion of novices with no previous expedition experience.  Additionally, the expedition sought to offer the same opportunities to selected civilian adventurers to assist in sailing the boat to and from the Falkland Islands.  The expedition leaders were keen to invest in the potential of these youngsters by using the challenge of adventurous training to encourage their development as young leaders.

Wider Participation
The Expedition sought to involve a far wider participation using the Internet to allow sponsors, schools and other interested parties and institutions to follow the expedition’s progress.  This included video link ups from the yacht at sea and in Antarctica. The web site and other reports were particularly beneficial in describing the challenge of adventure and Antarctic heritage to a wider audience.

Post Expedition Publicity

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Now that the expedition has returned to the UK we have all returned to our units but are still committed to a comprehensive lecture tour primarily aimed at encouraging young people to enjoy the benefits of challenging activities and to give them a better understanding of the Antarctic heritage and environment.

In due course there may also be an opportunity to publish a book of photographs and memories.

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