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Arctic wilderness delivers tiring and testing first day

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Hundreds of miles from home in the Arctic Circle, Sara Davies, Vicky Pattison, Alex Scott, and Laura Whitmore have started the second stage of their extraordinary journey to raise life changing money for Red Nose Day.

Earlier this morning, the team set off on the second day of their Arctic challenge, which will see them take on cross-country skiing and snowshoe trekking in an attempt to reach camp before sunset. With darkness rapidly engulfing them and with temperatures plummeting, there will be no let-up for the celebrities who face a night camping on the snow.

Day one of the foursome’s Snow Going Back: Comic Relief vs The Arctic challenge drew to a bitterly cold end on Monday, after a gruelling day of fat biking and trekking into the Arctic wilderness.

Racing against the limited window of daylight hours, Sara, Vicky, Alex and Laura were put through their paces as they navigated the freezing conditions and snowy landscape in a bid to reach their camp for the night. However, by mid-afternoon, the deep snow had left the celebs with no choice but to abandon their fat bikes and switch to their snowshoes for a 5km trek, uphill through a valley.

Taking one step at a time, the foursome willed each other on to reach their day’s final destination – a log cabin without running water or electricity – where they were tasked with starting their log burner, melting snow for water, and rehydrating their rations.

Reflecting on Day One of the Comic Relief Challenge, Sara said: “Our start point yesterday was pretty much where civilisation ends, we’ve trekked and cycled up the mountain and into the wilderness. We all started off feeling good and raring to go, but it’s been very cold, and the conditions have been unpredictable. Let’s see what tomorrow entails!”

Vicky Pattison said: “Yesterday was a real baptism of fire. It was colder, harder, and more intense than I ever could have anticipated. It’s tough terrain and when you’re not used to that and the bitterly cold conditions, it’s just hard to get your head around.”

Alex Scott said: “Day one was gruelling. Pulling the sledge with all our gear up hill through thick snow was hard, my legs are still aching! We arrived at our hut in the dark, feeling shattered and hungry. But we’ve woken up with a bit of energy, it’s still freezing cold, but it is beautiful. We don’t know what’s ahead today, but we do know it’s going to be even tougher; we’re going to keep pushing on with the hope of raising as much money as possible, so please donate anything you can, thank you so much!”

Laura Whitmore said: “I’ve had my first night sleeping in the wilderness and it was an experience I’ll never forget! Sleeping in the same cabin as everyone has made us all very close very quickly. Yesterday was hard; snowshoeing, cycling, and pulling our own bags uphill in thick snow. We aimed to get there in the light, but it got darker and darker, and colder and colder, so it was really tricky. I don’t know what awaits but I know it’s going to be hard, there has been really thick snow overnight which makes moving your legs even more difficult, they feel so heavy. But the main reason we’re doing this is all in aid of Comic Relief and we really appreciate everyone’s support.”

Sara, Vicky, Alex and Laura’s journey will be filmed for a special BBC One and iPlayer documentary that will air in the lead up to Red Nose Day, which returns on Friday 15 March.

The money raised for Red Nose Day could help to put food on plates and roofs over heads, keep little ones safe and help support families affected by conflict and climate change. It’s never felt more important to come together to support people in the UK and around the world that are struggling.

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