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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Carlisle adventurer to trek across sub-zero Greenland in memory of friend

Growing up in Carlisle, Barry “Mustard” Robley dreamt of adventure.

As soon as he was old enough he started to travel and soon got a taste for climbing, skiing, snow boarding – anything that pushed him physically and mentally.

Over the years the challenges have grown in stature and he is now preparing to tackle 1,800 treacherous kilometres of Greenland to raise money in memory of a friend he lost to a brain tumour.

The Northern Star 2010 will be his biggest and most daring challenge to date, facing sub-zero temperatures with just one of his close friends.

Now almost 29, Mustard – a nickname given to him as a child that has stuck – lives in Switzerland, where he works as an outdoor pursuits instructor and guide.

In his late teens he would go travelling and return to Carlisle to find work when his money ran out. But at the age of about 22 his luck was in when he was offered six weeks of work in his current role.

Six weeks turned into months then years, and he now only returns to Cumbria now and then to see family.

It was during a visit to Iceland in 2006 that he first became fascinated by the ice caps and was inspired to visit Greenland. The following year he crossed the island for the first time, travelling 600km both on skis and by foot.

The gruelling 27-day trip – together with friend Matt Franzke – was a huge inspiration for this mission.

But the 2010 expedition – which starts in April – will go one further, this time travelling the harder route, using a combination of man-hauled sleds and power kites. He will be joined by Fran Middleton, from Hinkley, who he has known since childhood.

But as well as hauling heavy loads through treacherous weather conditions, high altitudes and sub-zero temperatures, the pair will need excellent kiting skills, survival skills and extreme willpower.

They will have only 40 days of provisions so will be under pressure to stay on schedule – and will need the weather and winds to be on their side.

“On these trips it’s really hard to think too far ahead. When you’re out there in those conditions the bigger picture seems so daunting so you have to take it hour by hour, just look forward to your next break,” he said.

“It’s such a harsh environment. You’re out there with one person and with no view other than ice caps in front of you. You need to stay focused and positive all the time.

“Physically it’s a challenge but it’s the mental side of it that’s really tough.”

The pair hope to use the challenge to raise as much money as possible in memory of Alistair Rainback, a close friend who died in his thirties from a brain tumour.

The money will go to the Hospice of St Francis in Hertfordshire, which cared for him during his final days.

To find out more or support their mission go to www.northstar2010.com or visit their Facebook page.

They are also looking for raffle prizes to help with their fundraising efforts.

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