Rhymney Valley Express
Tracey learns the fine art of survival
Work by Tracey Moberly on show at Y Galeri in Caerphilly
27 November 2014
Tracey learns the fine art of survival for Arctic voyage A RHYMNEY Valley artist is preparing to venture into one of the harshest environments on Earth.
Tracey Moberly, from Gilfach, will be "artist in residence" on an expedition that hopes to reach the aptly-named "northern pole of inaccessibility" - the point in the Arctic that is furthest away from a coastline and notoriously difficult to reach.
She will be accompanied by renowned Arctic explorer Jirn McNeill, known as the Ice Warrior, who invited her along on the trip at a charity event.
The journey across the Arctic ice will start in February and last at least three months.
Tracey, 50, said: "I've done two thirds of my training, which includes polar bear training. I've been to the Arctic already and I'm going back there in January."
And while in the midst of the snow and ice, the artist will be busy at work.
She plans to use a biodegradable spray, inspiration from Chinese symbols and the snow itself to create some pieces.
When Tracey visited the Norwegian island chain of Svalbard for training, she fell in love with it, even though she was camping out in temperatures of -22°C - and admits she doesn't like the cold.
She will have to get used to even chillier conditions of -55°C as she crosses the Arctic' ice, dragging her equipment and food behind her - and may even have to contend with polar bears.
She said: "First you have to chink things to make loud noises, then you have a bear flare to warn them off, because they're really inquisitive. They will follow you and track you:"
Tracey has been in training for the expedition since April, including fitness and navigational sessions in Dartmoor, as well as first aid training.
The team will set off from Resolute Bay in Canada. During the 800-mile trip, Tracey will need to consume 6,000 calories a day through dehydrated meals. Nevertheless, she said she expects to lose between 1-2lb a day. But there will be no round trip, as the expedition will be picked up by aircraft upon completion.
"I'm really looking forward to it, to be honest!" added Tracey.