Alison’s epic adventure to the Arctic to raise money for Reading Force

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Alison Allmand-Smith has returned from her epic adventure to the Arctic to raise £3,000 for Reading Force! She says it was an amazing expedition – and very challenging! 

Here she shares photos of her week adventuring in the Arctic. You can donate to Alison’s Reading Force fund via this linkAlison funded the trip herself, and every penny donated goes directly to Reading Force to send books and scrapbooks to families. 

Thank you Alison and well done!

Alison’s journey…

Firstly I would like to say a huge and extremely heartfelt thanks to my husband Oliver and family and the fantastic teams at Reading Force, X Platoon and Cold Skills who’ve made it possible for me to survive going 186 miles into the Swedish Arctic and having one of the best experiences of my life at the same time!

Here I’m with X Platoon’s Steve Heaney MC on the last day at Camp Faravid base, taken minutes before we skied four to five kilometres across country to the cottage at Suijavaara hamlet. As you can see I’m substantially windswept, but incredibly happy with it!

I loved sharing this Sami style wooden cabin with the four other attendees. Outside you have a spectacular polar woodland and inside it’s one of the warmest and cosiest places you can imagine! I’ve named it the Paradise Cabin!

To keep our cabin warm, required us to keep it constantly stoked day and night. During the night this meant taking it in turns to get up for an hour at a time and watch it doesn’t go out. I did quite a bit of reading and blogging during my shifts!

Here we were learning how to light and sustain a fire using bits of bark and tiny sticks before adding tinder and then branches and logs. I absolutely can’t wait to try this again very soon!

Our three and a half hour cross country ski from Camp Faravid to Suijavaara. I really loved this, although I did find it challenging! It’s a lot trickier than it looks and very different from downhill holiday skiing. I fell over about thirteen times over our two skiing journeys!

Conny the Great, former Elite Swedish Forces solider and owner of Cold Skills and Camp Faravid and one of our real live modern day Viking instructors! This was our fifteen minute break during our ski to Suijavaara, eating Army rations!

The ‘Quinsee’ igloo we built, although to be honest, although I did help a little with this this, the men did the vast majority of the work! This extraordinary cast of exquisite blue light and almost blinding sunlight is very typical of the cloudless days we spent there. No filter used or needed!

Just one of my many captures of the remote and breathtakingly beautiful landscape to be enjoyed in this part of Sweden. If you look carefully, in among the icy blue hues there are pink and peach shades too. Please notice as well our fantastic Quinsee door.