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Grewcock: "We're four miles from the finish line"

11 April 2015

Danny Grewcock sent us a voice message in the early hours of this morning as he and the team near the North Pole:

"It's Day Seven of our trip to the North Pole, and we're currently four miles away from the finish line.

I've been boiling water for an hour and a half - as you do. We had a good run at the start of the trek, but the last few days have been a bit more tricky. We had to clear what I can only describe as ice boulders, so there's been a lot of climbing, crawling around, trying to get the sleds and all nine of us over this heavy terrain.

It was the same again yesterday, and then we had a few rivers thrown in for good measure! They are a challenge to get around. We only made four miles yesterday because of having to traverse them. They're pretty chilly, so nobody wanted to swim... As such, we've spent a long time going east, which is the opposite direction to where we want to go.

It looks like we're in the clear now. Hopefully, these final four miles will be relatively clear for us. You just can't predict when the ice is going to open up. You don't know until it's right in front of you. Some of it's gaps several inches wide that you can simply walk over. Other times it's a couple of metres, but we think we might be past these obstacles now.

Morale is high. The guys are cooking up a storm, and we're about to have some strawberries and porridge and some very healthy muesli! We're really enjoying the camp food.

When we arrive at the North Pole today, we'll get flown back to Camp Barneo, the Russian research base, and then we'll be back in Longyearbyen on Sunday when I'll be able to give everyone an update.

I hope everything's good at the Club and that the boys did well in Newcastle!"

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Joining Grewcock on this gruelling expedition are fellow World Cup winners Lewis Moody and Josh Lewsey, two Royal Marines, Y.CO co-founders Gary Wright and Charlie Birkett and Yacht Management Director Yves Damette. The team is led by experienced North Pole explorer Alan Chambers MBE.

The team are out to raise £250,000 for the Lewis Moody Foundation and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF). There is still time to help them reach their goal by donating at www.head-north.org

This journey is one of the most extreme tests of physical and psychological endurance that humans can experience. Watch our exclusive BRtv video with Grewcock and Moody to hear more about why they are undertaking their biggest challenge to date.

On their first day, the team narrowly avoided disaster when they ran not into polar bears, but low visibility. The team's plane then had to make an emergency landing en route to the starting point at Ice Camp Barneo. Thankfully, they were safe and well, but the plane's undercarriage suffered damage and a helicopter had to be dispatched to take them the rest of way. 

The Lewis Moody Foundation helps families affected by serious illness, offering days out and one-off experiences for children and their families, and funds scientific research through The Brain Tumour Charity, aimed at saving young lives.

The RMCTF provides a better quality of life to serving and retired Royal Marines and their families, and helps the wounded and injured, particularly as the most severely injured begin their transition into civilian life. 

The trek itself traverses over 100km of shifting sea ice and is a huge challenge for all involved. After acclimatisation in the relative civilisation of Barneo, the team began their 10-day trek northwards to Latitude 90° North (a total distance of around 100km - or 60 nautical miles). The group are pulling 50kg sledges through temperatures between -30 and -35ºC, facing the constant threat of polar bear attacks and storms. 

You can donate to these fantastic causes at justgiving.com/teams/ycoheadnorth or TEXT YCOH15 £amount to 70070.

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