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FP 2014: Day 5 – Northern Lights… Camera… Action!

By Phil on 2014.04.29 In Fjällräven Polar

Friday 11th of April 2014:

Following another great night’s sleep, it was Phil’s turn to wake me up as we slept in once again. This didn’t stop us from being one of the first teams ready and first to leave our lake camp.

Our team had such good chemistry, that our Norwegian friends Madeleine and Jostein were starting to speak a lot more in my Mackem accent. Which was so funny and it really suited them, so they will have no problem when they come to visit me in Sunderland in the future. As for Phil, it didn’t take him long to pick up the North East accent following his time at Durham University a few years ago. So I think Mackem became our official common language between team UK/Norway. Why-Aye man Pet.

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I made my own version of Tom Hanks’ Wilson from Castaway

The morning journey was fairly flat again before the afternoon roller-coaster ride through forests and lakes leading up to the infamous steep slope where many have fallen in the past, as we descended to camp Sevvovouma. But once again we were blessed with gorgeous weather and more stunning scenery.

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Our musher Amanda had warned us about the steep slope and told us that she would give us some warning as to when it was coming up. However it seems she had forgotten which part of the journey it was on and twice gave us false warnings, before realising that we weren’t there yet. So when she did finally give us the correct warning I don’t think we really believed her. Maybe this was her plan all along. To make us unprepared. Who knows…

When we did finally get to the steep slope and I’m glad to say I managed to hang on, unlike Paul from Germany who had a rather spectacular journey down the slope as his sled fell to one side, but he refused to let go of his sled and his 6ft 5” body and face was dragged through the wall of snow on the way down. I really can’t wait to see the video footage of that. When speaking to Paul about it later he replied: ”It was great. It feels like I have had a shower now. I feel clean.”

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Paul and his spectacular fall down the steep slope. But he never let go of the sled!

We arrived at our final camp of the trek in Sevvovouma, where we would spend the night without our tents and have to build our own snow camp and fire before sleeping in the open. As usual, we split our tasks between us, to help speed up our operation, as Phil and I built or snow camp, Madeleine and Amanda fed the dogs while Jostein headed to the woods in his fishnet baselayers and axe over his shoulder to chop down some trees for firewood. It wasn’t long before Jostein had grabbed the attention of the media crews which had gathered, as he posed in various position’s with his axe and tree trunks over his shoulder while Phil and I laughed and wondered what kind of magazine those photos would end up in. We certainly had a laugh guesssing which ones as well as suggesting a few. It also seemed he got so carried away with his axe, that we ended up with more firewood than all the other camps put together. Which was good for us as at least we would stay warm during the night.

Once Jostein had finished his photo shoot with the paparazzi it was time for our dinner. It was at this point that Phil noticed we had actually had breakfast meals of porage oats in our food box, which we could have been eating rather than the chilli con carne or pasta dishes we usually had for breakfast. We were then joined by Doc Jansen from Denmark and Tuomo from Finland for a silly half hour which included various dances, seeing how many items of clothing Doc Jansen could stuff up his parka, me pole dancing round a tree trunk and the classic Jostein and Phil’s one sheet of toilet paper gag which was recorded and available upon request.

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The pole dance

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Team UK/Norway’s camp toilet

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Doc Jansen and his stuffed polar parka trick

We were then told to gather at a large group bonfire for hot drinks and some cake. Before we headed over to the bonfire I decided to pop in and see how Team US/Sweden had settled in their camp. I have to say, they certainly won the prize for best design. You could tell Alex was in their team as she had obviously put her interior design skills to good use. It was immaculate. Well as immaculate as a snow camp can get. She had even carved out nice little snow shelves for them to neatly place their stoves and food. The only thing missing was some designer Nordic furniture.

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Team US/Sweden’s posh snow apartment, designed by Alex the owner of New York based Interior Design company Common Bond Design

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After sitting around the group bonfire having a hot drink, we were treated to a two song acoustic set by Björn and Gustaf from Swedish band Mando Diao. I have to admit I didn’t recognise them in their Fjällräven Polar Parkas and hats, which is quite embarrassing being a fan and owning a few of their albums. Luckily I managed to record their first song on my camera which was amazing and the sounds of our dogs howling in the background during the performance was unreal. What an end to another great day. You can watch and listen to the video below, especially once the dogs are in full voice after about 1 minute of song:

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Björn and Gustaf from Swedish band Mando Diao

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As we had the most firewood out of all the teams, a few others come back to our camp for a chat and a bit of warmth. It was one of the few times during the trek we actually got to speak to members of other teams for any length of time, as you are so busy with all the daily tasks you really don’t have much spare time.

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The biggest fire of the night

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After our visitors left, it was time for bed in the open in front of our roaring fire. Just as we were about to go to sleep the Northern Lights came out. Simply amazing. Never seen anything like it.

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After taking the obvious photos it was time to sleep. Though wish I had stayed up longer, as apparently they came out even more a couple of hours later. Of all the nights I can actually get to sleep, it had to be this one. Why couldn’t my usual insomnia not make an appearance on this one amazing night. Still I got to see them and look forward to seeing the many photos taken by others from their camps.

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Official Fjällräven Polar Day 5 page

FP 2014: Day 6 – Fjällräven Polar 2014 – The End

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    Welcome

    Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

    My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

    I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

    I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

    If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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