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“Things just got real” Comic Relief team sets off to Arctic Circle

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Comic Relief’s coldest challenge has officially begun as the four celebrities set off into the icy wilderness.

Having arrived at the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway over the weekend, Sara Davies, Vicky Pattison, Alex Scott, and Laura Whitmore set off into the Arctic wilderness on Monday morning (19th February). They’re taking on Comic Relief’s coldest challenge yet, all in the hope of raising life-changing funds for Red Nose Day.

On Saturday, Sara, Vicky, Alex and Laura bid farewell to their family and friends as they packed their bags and left to start the challenge of a lifetime. Upon arrival, the foursome were welcomed by Norwegian Local guide and seasoned explorer, Torbjørn Ness, who will be supporting them throughout their journey.

On Sunday, the celebs appeared nervous as Torbjørn took them on their final training session where he explained   the perilous nature of the terrain they will be trekking across. Torbjørn didn’t hold back as he warned them of the unforgiving weather conditions they will experience, as temperatures plummet as low as -20 degrees, which can cause such low visibility, it can test  even the most  experienced explorers.

As the training day unfolded, Sara, Vicky, Alex, and Laura had to dig deep to find inner strength and resilience as they took on fat wheel bike training and snowshoeing across the snow against harsh winds.  They  also had to learn how to set up their tents in the snow and use camping stoves to melt snow into drinkable water.

The long road ahead promises even greater challenges as the celebrities brace themselves for four days of trekking across tundras, nights spent in tents, and a diet consisting of dehydrated rations. The journey is undoubtedly tough, but their determination to make a difference remains unwavering.

Sara said: “We’re just getting ready to go to the start line. I’m equal parts nervous and excited. When we first got here, I was just really excited, thinking, this is going to be great, and that the scenery is beautiful.

“But then we had our training day, and it was a dose of reality: it hit home how treacherous and dangerous the conditions are going to be. Bear in mind we’re down the side of the Fjord at the training camp, when we actually get up into the mountains it’s going to be so much worse. A snowstorm could come in in seconds.

“It was like ‘things just got real’. I’m still feeling excited, but I am now significantly nervous. Team morale is high, we’re four lasses and we’re just keeping each other going – but it’ll be different when we’re a couple of days in and we’re exhausted. The thing I’m most worried about is going to the toilet.  So, a bit nervous about that but we’ll see how it goes. I just can’t wait to get started!”

Norwegian Local Guide, Torbjørn Ness, is supporting the crew in Norway and helping the team to manage the extreme conditions they will face every day.

He said:  “Today is going to be a long and challenging day, where Sara, Vicky, Alex and Laura will be battling against the cold and snow as they use the fat wheel bikes. They will realise the extremity of the environment for the next four days.

“We are so far down at the sea level, which means it will be extremely wet, cold and windy. When they swap to snowshoes, they will be pulling their own sled and equipment weighing around 20kg and trekking an incline of 400m. Today is an intense start and they need to be aware of their body temperature and use all their strength and resilience to help each other to stay strong.”

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.

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