Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Prince's Arctic adventure under way

Prince Harry was "excited" as his Arctic adventure with a group of wounded servicemen finally got under way.

The 26-year-old and the men were due to leave the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen on Friday aiming to walk to the North Pole.

But their departure was put on hold because of dangerous winds around where they will land - Borneo Ice Airfield - about 200 miles (322km) from the North Pole.

Speaking shortly after he loaded his sled on to the plane that flew the team out of Longyearbyen on Monday afternoon, Harry said: "All the boys are really excited to finally be going - we've been sitting around here for far too long now. There is blue sky outside here at Svalbard, and I can't wait to get on the ice with the boys."

The team have been frustrated with news of delays since last week, and Harry managed to extend his time with the group as much as he could.

The Walking With The Wounded expedition has been slightly shortened as a result of the delays, but Harry said the challenge is still "remarkable".

The prince said: "The miles may have to be minimised only by a little bit, but it's not going to make a difference to what these guys are doing. It's truly inspirational and truly remarkable, so let's keep the support going."

The third in line to the throne has been on the island since last Tuesday, training and bonding with the servicemen who aim to raise £2 million for the Walking With The Wounded charity. Harry planned to stay with the team for the first five days of their charity trek, but he will be collected on Thursday and return home to fulfil military commitments.

The wounded soldiers all sustained their injuries fighting in Afghanistan. Captain Martin Hewitt, 30, from Cheshire, was left with a paralysed right arm after being shot, and Captain Guy Disney, 29, from Oxford, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and had his right leg amputated below the knee.

Sergeant Stephen Young, 28, from Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf, suffered a broken back when his vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device, and Private Jaco Van Gass's left arm was amputated after the 24-year-old, from South Africa, was hit by an RPG. He also suffered significant tissue loss to his left leg.


From Belfast Telegraph