Thursday, 7 May 2009

NIALL: DAY 14, 6th MAY

Many years ago in doubtful history St Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. Which is dubiously why there are no snakes to be found there today. From the omens of this trip Paddy wasn't content with his work on the emerald isle so he continued westwards to Greenland to ply his trade over here. He's done a good job, that's for sure, because no matter how hard I look I can't find a single snake in this entire country.
Muzz and I are just cooking up supper after a cracking day at the oars. We hauled 30.3km and now find ourselves at 66 30.855N, 43 11.785W and at an altitude of 2471m. Conditions were ideal with cold temperatures giving us a hard surface all over and a friendly easterly wind helping us on our way. We're now 13km from the summit of our crossing so from tomorrow afternoon we will once again be bedfellows with Sir Isaac Newton. Let's hope that Admiral Beaufort stays kind to us and that Dr Richter steers clear of us altogether.
Muzz lived to eat his words about another item of my equipment today. First was my adventurous watch, the Casio F91W, available for under £8 at Argos and worn by all adventurers worth their salt, which has outlasted Murray's expensive Nike sports watch and continues to function perfectly. Then today was my fleece headband, sponsored to me by High Sports of Shrewsbury. Muzz has mocked how silly it makes me look but ate humble pie and shamefacedly asked to borrow it today. When the wind is biting at your ears and you're generating a lot of heat through exercise there's little better for the job than a fleece headband. I have been asked to write my motivations for being here. Why would I want to manhaul across Greenland, or row the Atlantic, or climb a mountain like Half Dome? It's difficult to give a straight answers but I suppose I want to do this for exactly the same reasons that you might want to jump off the top diving board at the swimming pool. Firstly, because it's there, then there's because of the personal challenge of it and because you've seen other people do it and want to give it a try yourself. And then there's the knowledge of how great you'll feel once you've done it, the sense of pride and achievement. We all remember jumping off that top board for the first time and how good it felt. And then there's that feeling that you just kind of have to do it even though it could go really wrong, i.e. you might bellyflop. I also derive a huge amount of inspiration from my friends and family. And in turn I want to inspire them and others to do great things with their lives - to do more than sit at home watching match of the day and eating a microwave meal. I have always taken great inspiration from a poem called 'If' by Rudyard Kipling, the man who wrote the 'Just So' stories and I implore all you guys at SuperClubs Plus and GoldStar Café to read it. This is my minute and I'm filling it. Finally, and in much more an immediate way, I do things like this so that I can have experiences like that which Murray and I had yesterday. It was nearly 8pm and we'd been out for just under 12 hours when the sun broke through the clouds directly in front of us. It hung there, a giant orange glow casting the most mysterious light over this remarkable landscape. Every tiny flake of snow that fluttered to earth in the still air was caught by the sun's rays and shone like a speck of falling gold dust. That vision alone is reason enough for me to be here. Goodnight everyone and sweet dreams.

What did Sir Isaac Newton discover and how does it relate to Niall and Murray heading down from the summit?
What did Admiral Beaufort invent a measure for and what is it called?
What did Dr Richter invent a measure for and is there any chance of Niall and Murray experiencing what it measures in while they're on the icecap?

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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