Page last updated at 09:06 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Food supplies reach Arctic team

Polar explorers
The team needs high calorie food to trek for up to 12 hours a day

Arctic explorers whose expedition was threatened by lack of food have received further supplies.

Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley were on half rations, with only three days' food left after a supply plane was grounded by bad weather.

Mr Hadow and Mrs Daniels, from Devon, and Mr Hartley from London, are on a 1,000km trek to measure the thickness of the Arctic icecap.

It will be the most detailed survey of its kind.

After waiting for three days, a twin Otter plane was able to land on the Arctic Ocean floating sea ice.

All of us are just wanting to get going quickly and have a high calorie meal to fuel ourselves up
Pen Hadow

"It's been a pretty grim time waiting for the weather to lift enough to get the plane in," Hadow said.

"It's no place to just hang around when it's minus 40 degrees (Celsius), but we could not afford to move without our essential kit, food, fuel and batteries for our survey and communications gear.

"All of us are just wanting to get going quickly and have a high calorie meal to fuel ourselves up."

Simon Harris-Ward, director of operations of the Catlin Arctic Survey, said it was a relief to have finally got the supplies delivered.

"The longer we were forced to delay by the weather the worse we knew it would get for the team," he said.

Ice-free summer

Since they were dropped onto the ice at the end of February, the survey team's progress has been hampered by persistent storms.

The resupply flight has taken back scientific data already collected by the team.

Measuring the thickness of the ice will help scientists discover how quickly the icecap is melting.

Only a few years ago, researchers predicted the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by the end of this century, but some now fear it could be sooner.

Mr Hadow, 46, Mrs Daniels, 44, and Mr Hartley, 40, will attempt to get base figures from which to measure changes in the thickness of the ice.

The team will be trekking for up to 12 hours a day for about 100 days.

Mr Hadow, from Hexworthy, Devon, became the first person to trek solo and without support from Canada to the North Pole in 2003.

Mr Hartley, from Hackney, east London, is the expedition photographer and Mrs Daniels, a mother-of-four from Whimple, Devon, is navigating.

The team is expected to reach the North Pole in May.

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