Expedition Leader ~ Joanne Davies FRGS
Joanne (Jo) is an experienced adventurer having rowed across the Atlantic and skied across Greenland. Shackleton has always been one her heroes and has dreamed of carrying out the goals of the great man for many years. Now the concept has become reality.
Jo was born in 1978 in Kenya where she spent the first eight years of her life running round in the sunshine, sailing boats and swimming in the sea. The sea formed the basis for Jo’s passions later in life and this led her to study Marine Geography at Cardiff University. As a rower, sailor and kayaker Jo not only spends her free time on the water but works offshore as a Hydrographic Surveyor in the oil industry.
In 2005 she embarked on her first expedition as part of an all girls team – “Rowgirls” – to row across the Atlantic, combining her love of the sea and her passion for rowing. Unfortunately things did not go to plan on this expedition and after suffering a fall, Jo had to retire from the race with a back injury. Not able to forget her “Unfinished Business” she returned in 2007 to conquer the Atlantic in another boat with a different team of girls. After the success of her second row she then took to the mountains and attempted a climb of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Ever since she can remember Jo has had a fervent interest in Antarctica and the explorers who pioneered Antarctic travel:
“Shackleton is my hero – I believe he is one of the greatest leaders of our time, he led his men through some of the harshest conditions in existence and brought them all out the other side. On his incredible boat journey he never lost a man; they all had trust and faith in his leadership.”
In 2009 she took part in an expedition skiing across Greenland from West to East Coast which gave her a good taste of things to come in Antarctica. Jo never believed it would be possible to ski to the South Pole but after rowing the Atlantic she thinks that anything is achievable and has set her sights on her one true ambition in life; to ski to the South Pole.
Expedition Manager ~ Alan Ward
Alan is an International Mountain Leader with a wide range of experience and skills to support ITACE 2014. Alan is based in the Brecon Beacons National Park where he runs Bigfoot Services Limited to deliver a portfolio of mountain training skills courses in addition to First Aid training. All of Alan’s work is quality assured under ISO 9001 accreditation.
Alan grew up as the son of an army officer and spent two tours in Hong Kong and one in Germany before completing education in Brecon. Alan was born in York.
On leaving school Alan joined the BP Tanker Company as a Navigating Cadet before becoming a watch-keeping Navigating Officer on both crude oil and refined product tankers. With his 21st birthday spent passing through the Straits of Malacca, Alan was becoming extremely well-travelled at an early age.
Leaving BP after 5 years, Alan joined Conoco Inc. to work in Dubai, Singapore and Indonesia for ten years with the last five years as a Logistics Advisor for all oilfield operations, across Indonesia from Sumatra to Irian Jaya. Alan received a special commendation from the company for his innovative and cost-saving solutions for major logistic operations in Indonesia.
Choosing not to remain an expatriate for life, Alan and his family returned to Wales in 1988 to pursue his interests in the outdoor sector. Employed initially as a National Park Warden in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Alan became the in-house Technical Advisor for outdoor educational activities, a role backed up by his Mountain Leader qualifications. During this time, Alan became a Mountain First Aid Trainer and, in his spare time, started leading treks and expeditions in the developing world, often at higher altitudes. Alan also holds IOSH & NEBOSH H&S qualifications and has been Mountain Challenge Technical Advisor to the British Heart Foundation and Raleigh International.
In the annual Wanderlust Travel MagazineTop Guide Awards, Alan has twice (2006 & 2012) been in the top ten finalists out of over 1,000 nominated guides.
He has recently led groups to Kilimanjaro (5,895m), Stok Kangri (6,153m), Mera Peak (6,476m) and on his last trip to Everest Base Camp was accompanied by 4 visually impaired trekkers of whom 2 were completely blind. It was a hugely rewarding experience to guide a blind person into Everest Base Camp for the blind trekker to celebrate a life time’s ambition to be there on his 60th birthday.
Further details about Alan’s activities can be seen on: www.bigfootservices.com , Facebook/Bigfoot Services Limited or Linkedin/Companies/Bigfoot Services Limited/Products
Antarctica is the last remaining continent for Alan to visit and he is extremely pleased to be working with Team ITACE 2014.
Second In Command and Training Co-ordinator ~ Zac Poulton
Zac is 36 years old and an Expedition Leader and Mountain Instructor (MIC) from the Lake District.
In 2011 he led a very successful expedition to the North side of Everest which put 18 climbers including himself, on the summit. Among his clients was a 16 year old who became the youngest Briton to summit and the youngest person in the world to complete the seven summits.
Zac has also worked down South guiding a successful ascent of Mt Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica and another of the 7 Continental Summits. Other expeditions have included Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Khan Tengri, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Pumori and Baruntse. In 2012 he provided safety and technical rigging for a BBC Natural History film shoot in Greenland. He brings a wealth of logistical experience having worked for four years as a Logistics Manager for one of the UK’s top expedition companies.
He is a member of the Alpine Club, The Association of Mountaineering Instructors and a former member of Mountain Rescue. His photography has been used by the Discovery Channel, the British Mountaineering Council, the British Army Guards Magazine & Adventure Peaks
Supported by a background of Sport and Exercise Science Zac has completed more than 20 marathons, ultra-marathons and adventure races including the Bob Graham Round and an Ironman Triathlon. In the Alps his “unique and robust” skiing style has got him over the Vannoise Ice Cap and the Classic Haute Route.
Summer in the Lakes, winter in Scotland and expeditions to the world’s highest mountains will now be interspaced with dragging tyres and perfecting his thousand yard stare as Zac makes the transition and goes Polar!
Team Member ~ Ian Prickett
Ian is a 34 year old self confessed travel and adventure addict. He is currently ‘down south’ as an important part of Ranulph Fiennes ‘Coldest Journey‘, an expedition which plans to make the first winter crossing of the continent.
Born and raised in Gosport, Hampshire, he was out from an early age exploring the hills of the UK as a Naval Cadet where his interest in the the outdoors began. Taking part in the events such as the Tens Tors Challenge and expeditions through Snowdonia and the Lakes galvanised his love for the outdoor adventure world.
After serving his apprenticeship in HM Dockyard, Portsmouth, he packed his bags and departed on his first of many backpacking trips exploring what the rest of the world has to offer.
He spent a few years living in Australia and New Zealand, traveled through Asia, South America and the Pacific Islands and has recently spent time travelling through South America climbing and trekking through the Andes.
On his return to the UK he went back to the Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth and one of his first projects was refitting British Antarctic Survey’s research vessel, the RRS Sir Ernest Shackleton. This inspired him to apply to BAS and soon found himself sailing through the Falklands and South Georgia on his way to Halley Research Station, situated on the Brunt Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea. Since his first trip to Antarctica in 2005 he has been heavily involved with BAS, working at Rothera, Halley and King Edward Point in South Georgia. The past five summer seasons Ian has been working at Halley building the new flagship research station, Halley 6.
During his time on the ice, Ian ran the first ever Halley Antarctic Marathon, was the first and only person to kite ski from the coast of the ice shelf , through Halley 5 and on to Halley 6 and has taken part in various expeditions ice climbing and camping. With all his time on the ice Ian has been surrounded with the amazing and heroic tales of adventurers past and present and Shackleton has played a big part in his love of the Continent.
After sailing down on board the ship named after him and reading about the heroic rescue of his team, it will be a great honour for Ian to be a part of his amazing expedition 100 years on.
Ian is currently down in Antarctica taking part in the Coldest Journey Expedition – the brainchild of Sir Ranulph Fiennes – sadly no longer leading the expedition. The Coldest Journey aims to cross the Antarctic Continent in the winter. This will be the first ever winter crossing.
Team Member ~ Stewart Stirling
Stewart was born and brought up in Dundee, Scotland where he attended Morgan Academy before leaving for London at 17 for a career in the Metrolpolitan Police.
He served 30 years with both the Metropolitan Police and Heddlu Gwent Police where he was a Forensic Collision Investigator and has now retired to take on a new career in the outdoors industry – he has set up his own company as a freelance Expedition Guide and will be leading groups of people on expeditions all over the world.
The Outdoor life has always played a big part in his life since being introduced to the Scottish Highlands as a boy, walking and camping with the Boys Brigade. Later he was commissioned as an Officer in the Territorial Army where he gained a great deal of valuable experience. He has also gained his Mountain Leader Qualifications and is currently working towards further climbing qualifications. He devotes a great deal of his spare time to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme working with Rougemont School.
In 2005 he took part in the Chemin de la Liberte across the Pyrenees and in 2007 Stewart followed this up in an unsupported expedition crossing the Pyrenees Haute Route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea, 500 miles and 150,000 feet of ascent in 48 days.
When not in the great outdoors Stewart also indulges in his other passion of riding his Triumph motor cycle. ITACE 2014 will be his greatest challenge to date and he looks forward to it with relish.
Team Member and Education Program Manager ~ Abi Evans
Abi’s first expedition experience was at 15 years old on a rare school excursion to the uninhabited island of Mingulay in the Outer Hebrides.
After a four year period competing in the equestrian world, Abi re-ignited her adventurous spirit by taking part in a 3 month expedition to Namibia with Raleigh International. This was a very special experience which inspired her career in the Outdoor Education Industry. Abi has worked for Outward Bound both in Scotland delivering personal development courses and in Australia as Operations Manager. She has a real passion for developing potential in young people and has led youth expeditions around the world including Chile, Borneo, Madagascar and Namibia as well as Australia. Abi has recently taken on the role of Expedition Manager for Wind, Sand and Stars based in Bath, specialising in Expeditions to Sinai Desert in Eqypt.
Abi has also enjoyed personal expeditions which include a successful ascent of Mt Kenya, Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas, Federation Peak in Tasmania and various adventurous treks in New Zealand. She is a keen climber and mountain biker who particularly enjoys the natural playgrounds of the Scottish Highlands and North Wales.
She regards this opportunity as being the ultimate challenge and is very much looking forward to seeing what she is capable of, as well as bringing to the team passion, sparkle and humour.
Team Member and Education Program Officer ~ Robbie Britton
Aged 25, Robbie is currently on a 12 month voluntary internship at the British Schools Exploring Society, based in the Royal Geographical Society, London. Robbie cycles past a statue of Sir Ernest Shackleton everytime he goes to work and being surrounded by the history and adventure of the RGS is enough to spur anyone on to greater things. Robbie has been an avid enthusiast for polar travel since reading “The Worst Journey in the World” by Appsley Cherry Garrard, and is always looking for a challenge to push himself as far as is humanly possible.
A keen ultra marathon runner, Robbie specialises in the 100 mile and 24 hour race distances and has competed for England and aims to run for Great Britain in the 24 hour World Championships in September 2012 as one of the youngest runners there. Robbie believes that having a hobby that involves running for hours and hours at a time on your own may help on those long days in Antarctica!
He first ventured out into the Great Outdoors when on a school trip to the remote Scottish island of Rhum but it wasn’t until after university and world travelling that Robbie found himself crossing the Atlantic in a 42 foot yacht and returning with just one other person, learning everything he needed as he went.
Robbie spent last summer in the Arctic Circle in Norway as Base Camp Manager for the 80 strong BSES expedition travelling to Finnmark. Working in the Operations Team at BSES has provided a great deal of valuable experience in expedition logistics that will be a huge benefit to the ITACE Team. As well as all this Robbie brings enthusiasm, loads of energy and a sense of humour to the team.