02 Mar 2018

The Arctic Explorer, Tim Oakley, visited Rendcomb College on Friday, 9 February to talk to Sixth Form students and visiting guests about his 700 mile journey across Canada and Alaska.

Tim Oakley with Head Girl, Rebeccah Breare and Head Boy, Will Vaughan.

Tim and his team braved -50c temperatures in their journey across the North West Passage, to recreate the route of explorer Roald Amundsen; a journey that has been unconquered for over 110 years.

Tim told the audience of his dog sled expedition in 2016 and the dangers he faced over the month long trek. During the 29 days, he experienced frostbite, ice overflow, high speed winds and hollow snow, all of which posed serious threats to their attempt and their lives.

Funded by the Royal Geographical Society, Tim’s quest aimed to raise awareness of the effects of global warming.

Tim Said: “The interest was to replicate a journey which was made by one of the most successful Arctic and Antarctic explorers there has ever been, and to raise the profile of the fragility of the Arctic region.”

While technology has evolved since Amundsen’s crossing, changes in the local economy meant his attempt was arguably less supported than in 1906.

Tim explained: “Herschel Island has no one living on it at all today. Back then, there was 1,500 people living on the island as the whaling industry was thriving.”

Amundsen original voyage was to successfully traverse the North West Passage for the first time in history. After a successful passage, Amundsen wished to contact the outside world, but to do so had to venture further to the village of Eagle. The route taken to Eagle was seen as so arduous that when he returned, Amundsen used a different route, which had remained unconquered until Tim and his team took on the challenge.

Tim explained: “When we arrived in Eagle, we tried to tell of our success to the Royal Geographical Society but unfortunately it was a bank holiday so nobody picked up!”

Tim’s tales finished with a key message to the students. “The message is to find something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to explore and push yourselves. Explore the world and make the journeys you want in life.”

Alice Wyndow, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Rendcomb College, said: “Tim’s inspirational story required determination and perseverance through difficult and challenging obstacles. He warmly advised our students to take every opportunity and to dream big to make their ambitions happen, which they can, with hard work and a drive for something they feel passionate about. “