Veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, now recovering after being airlifted from the Antarctic with severe frostbite, has e-mailed steel specialists at William Twigg Matlock Ltd to thank them for their ‘brilliant engineering’.
Twigg’s designed and fabricated the 14 special steel sledges (skoots) which are playing a vital role in transporting fuel for the expedition’s caterpillar tractors on the 2,000-mile journey across the polar icecap that could make exploration history.
Much of the journey will be made in complete darkness and temperatures that plummet to -70 degrees.
As the world’s greatest living explorer relaxes after being forced to quit his leadership of the team bidding to make the first ever winter crossing of Antarctica, he has contacted Twiggs to say ‘thank you for all your key support which is making the expedition possible, thanks to your brilliant engineering’.
Sir Ranulph adds: “The expedition is carrying on exactly as planned and on schedule to complete the first mechanised winter traverse of Antarctica and to complete our science, charity and educational programmes. Only our skiing goals have been dropped due to my injury”.
Twigg’s director Richard Tarbatt and works manager Alan Boden, who designed and supervised production of the skoots, are following the expedition’s daily progress with close interest as the Finning tractors crawl inland through the Sør Rondane mountains.
“The skoots have now transported fuel to depots on the edge of the ice plateau in readiness for the start of the expedition on March 21, and all indications are that they are performing well,” said Richard.