The Last Great First
Is a culmination of a decades worth of exploration.
For the past decade, our team of accomplished medical professionals, adventurers, teachers and environmentalists have explored the planets fragile Arctic, Antarctic and African wilderness, completing various award winning and world first expeditions. These campaigns have developed our understanding of our own physical and emotional limits.
All our campaigns have contributed to conservation, community development, healthcare and education, as will our next a world first crossing of the whole of Antarctica.
The Last Great First is a 110 day, 2600km unsupported full coast to coast ski crossing of Antarctica that will finish in February 2022, almost exactly 100 years after the passing of the great Sir Ernest Shackleton. Throughout the expedition we will be acknowledging Shackleton’s life and legacy and pay tribute to all previous heroic era and modern day explorers.
In 2019 we launched our campaign to become the first team in history to ski unsupported across the whole of Antarctica. This built on many years of preparation following the teams successful expeditions to The North Pole, Greenland and last year, the first ever unsupported descent of the mighty Skjalfandafljot river from the source to the sea in Iceland (click on the logos below to see more).
After months of dedicated planning and preparation supported by Eric Philips and Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions our route was set and our expedition logistics in place for The Last Great First.
Then, in March, the Covid-19 Pandemic took hold and our lives changed significantly, as have those of so many others.
Magnetic North Pole
“We are now both working on the front lines of our respective health services, myself in the NHS in the UK and Richard in New Zealand. Adventure and exploration is at the core of who we are but at such a time as this first and foremost we are Doctors. Without hesitation we have put our Antarctic plans to one side to give all our time and focus to our patients, colleagues and families at this unprecedented time.”
“We are caring for the sickest of Covid-19 patients, half will make it through, half won’t. We are responsible for putting them on ventilators and implementing other life saving strategies to give them the best chance of survival. We sit with them and offer what comfort we can. We video call their families just in case it’s the last time they speak.”
Through all this Gareth and Richard remain a team. Talking regularly, share clinical information but most importantly support each other through an emotionally challenging time. Just as they do when they are out on the ice.
Though In the quiet moments our thoughts turn to Antarctica and The Last Great First. We know it will still be there when this is all over but for now the greatest challenge of our lives is here, in our hospitals, in our communities and in our families. So for now, we’re giving everything to the care of our patients and our loved ones.
As a team we have also been working around the clock on making sure this expedition not only takes place but is a huge success, so in partnership with our various sponsors and partners we are please to anounce we will be in antarctica over this next summer (October 2021 / February 2022) and we invite you all to join us via our digital media platforms.
The Last Great First – Team.