| 01/11/2013 | 0 Comments

With just three weeks to go before departure, final preparations for the Land Rover and The Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers – supported ‘Pole of Cold’ expedition are well under way.

LR_Cold_7The expedition aims to explore the social, cultural and physical implications of living in the most extreme climates during winter. The team will chase winter and engage with communities along the route, researching how they have adapted to life in sub-zero temperatures.

LR_Cold_6One of the world’s most recognisable and iconic vehicles, the Land Rover Defender is renowned for its all-terrain capabilities and is highly suited to tackling the planet’s most challenging conditions. To ensure optimum performance whilst travelling through the extreme conditions, the Land Rover Defender 110 has undergone a number of modifications, adding to the already comprehensive list of standard equipment. Enhancements include uprated suspension, underbody and driveline protection, auxiliary heaters for the engine and occupants, a long range fuel tank and extra equipment and luggage storage.

LR_Cold_3The three-person team have now completed their training, which included spending time with the Land Rover Defender 110 in the Climatic Development Suite at the Jaguar Land Rover facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The Climatic Development Suite is an integral part of the development of all Jaguar Land Rover Product testing, providing engineers with the ability to go from +55 degrees to -60 degrees Centigrade.

LR_Cold_4The team travelled to the mountain ranges of Skjalbreidurr in Iceland for an introduction to the Land Rover Defender’s renowned all-terrain capabilities and experience first-hand the driving techniques required for the expedition. The team tackled slippery highways, icy tracks, rough roads and challenging conditions similar to what they will encounter on their route to Siberia. It was also an opportunity for them to discover how they will all cope with the sub-zero conditions by camping on the Langjökull glacier.

LR_Cold_4The 14-week 30,000 km journey will begin from the Royal Geographical Society in London on 20 November 2013. The team will depart the UK from Harwich, catching a ferry to Esbjerg in Denmark and then on to Oslo, Norway. The planned route goes through Finland to St Petersburg, before continuing east through Russia to Ekaterinburg and on to the Trans-Siberian Highway. After skirting Lake Baikal, the Defender will be heading along the infamous ‘Road of Bones’ to Oymyakon. Conditions at Oymyakon, the Northern hemisphere’s Pole of Cold, will be extreme, regularly hitting -20 deg C and at times as low as -50 deg C. The region earned its title as the ‘Pole of Cold’ when -67.7 deg C was recorded in February 1933.

LR_Cold_5With experienced British adventurer Felicity Aston as team manager, the group consists of Manu Palomeque, a photographer and film-maker who will be co-ordinating creative output during the trip, and Gisli Jonsson, a highly experienced cold-weather engineer, mechanic and winter driving advisor.

LR_Cold_2The return journey traces a route further south, crossing the Kazakhstan border before heading back into Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark and eventually returning to Harwich and London on 1 March 2014.

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