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Skeleton Coast Expedition 5 - 24 October 2009

One of our Directors, Dr Alastair Nicol is shortly to deploy overseas on a very challenging and unique opportunity.  He will be providing the medical support on an expedition to the skeleton coast of Namibia, where he will experience first-hand the extremes and challenges of exercise and endurance.

The coastline of Namibia is one of the most inhospitable, unexplored, and yet beautiful places on earth. Over the years it has captured the imagination of two explorers; Jason De Carteret and cameraman Andrew Miles. After many years of working in Namibia they are now planning to lead a small group of intrepid explorers, on a groundbreaking expedition and make a National Geographic quality film of this incredible journey.

"No human has ever completed this journey on foot totally unsupported"

The explorers will walk this unique 300-mile stretch of this truly remote coastline. The team plan to take 19 days to cover the distance walking approximately 10 hours a day. It has never been done before and therefore each person will be required to carry their own supplies for a full 20 full days (5th - 24th October).  When they reach their destination each evening the work is not yet done, as they have to pump 700 Litres of sea water to desalinate 70 Litres of drinking water for the next day.

The explorers will have to work together as a team to make this expedition a success. Everyone will be pushed, everyone will be filmed, everyone will play a part in the success or failure of what they set out to achieve.

The coastline is beautiful but barren, with massive sand dunes leading right down to the sea. Explorers can expect to see seals, perhaps killer whales, as well as jackals, scorpions and snakes. Life will be basic and nomadic and the team will have to utilise whatever they find on the journey to make it the best they can. Totally unsupported, cooking over driftwood fires, catching fish, living by their own body clock, makes this expedition unique.  "We will see no one and hear no other voices for the expedition's duration."

The team of "would be" explorers were picked through a series of elimination tests, to find the most suitable people with the right mental and physical qualities needed to complete such an arduous journey as this.

"The idea behind this is to give people who have always dreamed of doing something like this, a once in a lifetime opportunity!  Andrew and Jason have put together a team of people that will find this journey both a mental and physical challenge but who have the ability to achieve their goal, and be filmed whilst doing it."

You can follow Alastair’s progress, read their blogs, and send messages of support on the expedition website.

Alastair is also using this unique experience to raise awareness for the charity Help For Heroes, who are doing a fantastic job supporting our injured soldiers as they face the much bigger challenge of rebuilding their lives and leaning to cope with significant disability.  You can see their great work at www.helpforheroes.org.uk