In April 2015, 11 brave men started to trek over 60 miles to the Magnetic North Pole, in order to set a Guinness World Record and play rugby on the northernmost part of the world. This pioneering expedition aimed to raise £300,000 for Wooden Spoon who are the UK’s leading grant-making charity dedicated to helping disadvantaged and disabled children through the power of rugby.
The teams are to be led by former Rugby Union Internationals Tim Stimpson; a former rugby union international full back who has played for Wakefield, West Hartlepool, Newcastle Falcons,Leicester Tigers, Perpignan, Leeds Tykes, Nottingham, England and the British & Irish Lions, and Ollie Phillips; former England 7s, Gloucester and Stade Francais winger who is no stranger to big adventures. Former England and British Lions player Lee Mears also joins the teams at the North Pole as match referee.
Team Ollie consists of David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange, Paul Jordan EMEAR Regional Manager at Cisco, Steven Turnbull General Manager for Everything4Rugby and Fergus Davidson who has played for Edinburgh Accies U20s.
Tim’s team has James Harding, Executive Director at award winning investment management firm Quilter Cheviot, Andrew Walker an Associate Solicitor at Eversheds LLP , John Houston who has played professional rugby for Edinburgh and Scotland 7s for seven years and gained 12 Scotland A caps, Stephen Henry; who works in the investment banking Industry but is no beginner at extreme sports as he completed the Maration des Sables and Julian Phelan; who co-owns an independent production company and is looking forward to capturing the epic trip across the ice.
The challengers will fly out from Resolute Bay, on the south side of Cornwallis Island in the former North West Territories of Canada to within walking distance of the pole.
From here they will trek north, travelling round the South West corner of Thor Island and across the Noice Peninsula, and onwards to Ellef Ringnes Island.
Once they have reached the North Pole, the challengers will camp and then trek a further 2-3 miles in order to play the northernmost game of rugby, ever, at coordinates:
N 78 degrees 38″.59
W 104 degrees 13″.10
Both teams will be carrying a YB tracker throughout their trek and the data it collects will be relayed every hour. This means that family, friends and international supporters left in warmer climates can follow the team's progress to the pole.
For more information and to track the teams please visit the Arctic Rugby Challenge website