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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Paralysed skier begins ice trip
Karen Darke
Karen pictured during training in Finland
An adventurer who is paralysed from the chest down has told of her nerves and tensions ahead of a marathon venture across Greenland's ice cap.

Karen Darke, from Grantown on Spey, and five others set off on the expedition called By Hands By Feet last weekend.

The 34-year-old is sitting on skis and using arm-power and ski poles to cover the 372 miles (600km) for charity.

In her blog - an online diary - she said her biggest worry was about powerful winds called Pideraq.

It all seems a bit surreal to imagine that tonight we'll be in cold whiteness, and all the days of it that lie before us
Karen Darke

Her last diary entry was posted on the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Careers Scotland website just hours before the venture got under way.

She wrote: "There have been some team tensions for the last few days - different expectations about when we'll get to the ice and differences of opinion about priorities.

"But they feel to be dispersing a little now, with the focus of the helicopter to catch this afternoon.

"It's difficult for six people to find and co-ordinate a space in life to do a journey like this, with all the demands of work, family and personal lives - but we're nearly there at last."

She added: "I'm feeling pretty nervous about the kilometres and weeks ahead. It all seems a bit surreal to imagine that tonight we'll be in cold whiteness, and all the days of it that lie before us.

"I've been intimidated by scare stories of Pideraq - high winds of up to 300 km per hour that come roaring down off the ice cap - and of all the expeditions who have failed before us this year.

Broken poles

"Lots of teams have abandoned the crossing already - broken tent poles, high winds, bad weather and conditions, injury.

"It'll definitely be an interesting journey."

Karen was a keen runner and mountaineer before she was paralysed in a rock climbing accident while she was at university.

Before the Greenland expedition, she has kayaked in Alaska and hand-cycled the length of Japan.

The team of six aims to raise money for the charity Interventure.

It provides and develops opportunities for disabled people to participate in adventure sports and outdoor activities.


SEE ALSO:
Paralysed adventurer's ice trek
26 Apr 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Paraplegic prepares for ice cap
02 Apr 06 |  Staffordshire


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