Dundas London: We’re currently in leafy west London where the only real kit required is an oyster card and reusable coffee cup. How do you go about preparing for an expedition in somewhere less predictable?
Ross Turner: If you get your mind in the right place the rest tends to follow, so most of our prep is geared towards that - even the physical stuff. Mental health in everyday life is a big subject these days, and it’s no different on the ground during an expedition. It determines your decision making which is critical, especially in a dangerous environment. Beyond this we study the conditions and prepare in advance in controlled environments, but once you get underway there are always surprises!
DL: Risks come in many different forms, what are the most challenging?
RT: The first are the big problems that come from political and environmental factors. As we can’t control these we just make sure we have the right equipment and permissions and try and keep out of places where we really shouldn’t be! The second is the compounding of small risk factors that add up. For example, taking the wrong track and cutting across to try and get back to where you’re meant to be… only to get lost. A small error can get very big and very real quickly. The small risks need to be managed as much as the big ones through careful planning and disciplined execution.
Greenland Expedition – testing Shackleton’s equipment
RT: Yes, this is when the adventure really starts and it usually means that you’re flying by the seat of your pants! We always try and have a ‘get out’ plan as there is a fine line between ‘bad ass’ and ‘dumb ass’; if you find yourself on the wrong side of it mother nature will probably win.
DL: You’re preparing to sail across the Atlantic and back next year, can you tell us about that?
RT: Indeed, this will involve us taking a small sailing boat out across the Atlantic to find the Atlantic Pole of inaccessibility - a trip of around 6 weeks. On the way we’re going to be taking samples and studying plastic particles in the ocean. Once back in the UK, we’re then sailing around the UK to education people - through Google Expeditions VR 360 - on the health or our planet and ocean.
DL: Many thanks Ross, please come back in one piece!
Hugo & Ross Turner photographed in London wearing Dundas Cotton