KEEP ON TREKKIN’

Prince Harry is gear­ing up for a trek to the North Pole with a group of wounded ser­vice­men

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

PRINCE Harry, pic­tured, will be on the cover of men’s mag­a­zine GQ as he joins a team of wounded mil­i­tary ser­vice­men who are trekking to the North Pole.

The spe­cial edi­tion front page shows the 26-year-old wear­ing kit for the Walk­ing With The Wounded char­ity, of which he is pa­tron.

He will ar­rive at the group’s base camp in Longyear­byen, north­ern Nor­way, to­mor­row to be­gin his train­ing, be­fore he heads out into the frozen waste­land on Fri­day.

Harry will be with his team­mates for the first five days of the gru­elling walk, which is ex­pected to take around four weeks and will cover up to 322km.

They will haul sledges weigh­ing more than 100kg in tem­per­a­tures as low as mi­nus 60C.

‘‘ This ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­pe­di­tion will raise aware­ness of the debt that this coun­try owes to those it sends off to fight – only for them to re­turn wounded and scarred, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally,’’ Prince Harry told GQ

‘‘ The debt ex­tends be­yond im­me­di­ate med­i­cal care and short­term re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

‘‘ These men and women have given so much.

‘‘ We must recog­nise their sac­ri­fice, be thank­ful, so far as we can ever re­pay them for it.’’

Dur­ing the pho­to­shoot with renowned pho­tograp her David Bai­ley, Harry wore a weight vest, which is used to strengthen up­per-body mus­cles for haul­ing the sledges through the frozen North. ‘‘ Can I do most of my train­ing wear­ing this thing in bed?’’ he joked.

His com­pan­ions on the un­aided chal­lenge in­clude four wounded sol­diers se­ri­ously hurt dur­ing ac­tive ser­vice, two of them am­putees.

The in­jured Afghanistan vet­er­ans are Cap­tain Martin He­witt, 30, Cap­tain Guy Dis­ney, 28, Sergeant Steve Young, 28, and Pri­vate Jaco Van Gass, 24.

Harry will leave the group on April 5, to re­turn to the UK for fur­ther mil­i­tary train­ing as he qual­i­fies as an Apache He­li­copter pilot with the Army Air Corps.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing them will be ex­pe­di­tion leader Inge Sol­heim, guide Henry Cook­son and char­ity founders Ed­ward Parker and Si­mon Daglish. ‘‘ Harry’s train­ing has been go­ing very well – he has the right attitude,’’ Sol­heim said.

‘‘ I’m sure Harry has healthy con­cerns about the dan­gers, as he should. You have no idea how dif­fer­ent the Pole is from ev­ery­thing else on the planet.

‘‘ The old Nor­we­gian ex­plor­ers called it the Devil’s dance­floor. It is un­pre­dictable. Deadly.

‘‘ If you’re not pay­ing at­ten­tion, it will just slap you. You can walk 10 miles in one day, pitch your tent overnight, and the ice will have drifted you back 11 miles in the op­po­site direc­tion.’’

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