The first 1600-mile solo coast-to-coast crossing of Antarctica
November 2021, Ray aims to make the first successful solo, unsupported and unassisted crossing of Antarctica.
This 1600-mile traverse from the Ross Ice Shelf to Berkner Island via the South Pole is the longest route ever attempted solo. In January 2019 Colin ‘O’ Brady and Lou Rudd completed the 912-mile route across the continent individually. With huge media attention and the most unfair criticism, it was pointed out by traditionalists that this route was not a coastal start and finish, so the holy grail of a full Trans-Antarctic crossing remains up for grabs.
What’s the problem?
The Norwegians remain resolute that ‘Iceman’ Borg Ousland was the first to claim this prize in 1997. Ousland started where open-water meets the ice shelf, and finished where, yep you guessed it, the open water meets the ice at the other end. The big debate is that Ousland improvised and used a windsail to assist him. Though many play it down and compare it to nothing more than turning your coat up as a kid and getting some extra tail thrust, most sane or non-Norwegian type people, call this kite-skiing and this is not crossing Antarctica unsupported and unassisted. This world-first is still there for the taking …
A bitter-pill Ray needs to swallow…
Ray has already completed a 715-mile solo unsupported and unassisted effort in 2011 following a successful 10 years in the elite British SAS. The plan was to be the first person to walk to the pole and back – 1430-miles. Annoyingly, a three-week weather delay at the start only allowed him a one-way ticket, though he still completed it with the 160kg pulk loaded for the return leg.
So, this classic journey remains unfinished and Ray has unfinished business too. He’s the first to admit that he’s spent almost a decade fighting off an irritating itch to leave a legacy in Antarctica. Now it’s time to scratch it and demonstrate that it’s not about being superhuman or an ultra-athlete, just about true desire, passion and authenticity with a coating of plain bitterness as the limitless source of energy to achieve this incredible feat.
A true British ambassador who is discreet, authentic and diversified in his pursuit of excellence
From Royal Marine to British SAS Sergeant, the North Pole to South Pole Solo, Author, and Founder of Project 8, Lean 15 Thinking. Crafting a real-life story with no regrets has challenged his impulses and self-belief to enter the unknown. Ray’s life trajectory is good, bad and ugly. An ordinary guy who can get to the right place from a wrong place when it matters most.
Ray is ready to do business once again in Antarctica. He has already completed a 715-mile solo unsupported and unassisted expedition to the South Pole. Only months previously he raced over 500-miles to the Magnetic North Pole. Back then he wanted to be the first person in history to turn around at the South Pole and ski back, with only 23 days to do it the time window was impossible to return.
The first Trans-Antarctic crossing is now firmly on his radar, and he’s ready to take the Long Walk home.
‘Reality has to meet fiction in pursuit of extreme daring’
Most people fail expeditions or extreme endurance events because of their ‘cutting-edge science dictates strategy’ approach. People are so geared towards efficiency or working out how to do something faster, which results in ridiculous notions of expected daily distances covered on daily calorie intake dictated by weight. Ray won’t risk blowing a £200,000 expedition because of an extra 20kg of weight for contingency rations. Some say contingency is anticipating failure, but Ray knows it’s simply due diligence.
‘We can’t explore anymore, but we need the mindset of early day exploration. This means carrying the extra weight, anticipating the unknown variables, as opposed to a perfect strategy with small margins that suit Olympians, not people walking across continents. Being the first at something isn’t enough motivation. You have to transport your mind to a place where the stakes are higher.’
Ray understands the unknown variables that can be an injury on day one, personal exhaustion that leads to catastrophic mistakes or environmental factors such as freak weather and crevasses. What he will always do is set out for the Long Walk doing what he has always done: believing that cutting-edge science will only get you so far, and after that, it’s the adoption of early-day pioneers that will carry you through the rest. This is where the SAS “Who Dares Wins” attitude and training shine through with the ability to conquer despite grim circumstances to get the job done is embedded into his soul. It’s never left Ray and it never will.
Pilgrim Bandits Charity was established in 2007 with the help of Special Force Members and registered as a charity in 2010, with the sole aim to help and inspire injured personnel to live life to the full.
The mantra ‘Always a Little Further’ is core to the charity’s attitude, whether working with injured men and women from the Military or Emergency Services directly or by utilising their experiences to inspire and encourage young people and children. Pilgrim Bandits don’t do sympathy, but offer the rewards of belonging to a team, encouragement, belief and the power of humour over pain.
Bandits’ primary aim is to help those in need directly, with no compromise. Soon, those who needed help become those that give it. By pushing injured men and women into physically and mentally demanding situations that they would not have dreamed possible; kayaking extraordinary distances, jumping from aircraft, running races, trekking across inhospitable terrain, self-confidence is restored and self-belief instilled – Always a Little Further. Pilgrim Bandits pushes those that have already endured so much to go beyond endurance – to embrace life again and in so doing inspire others.
The Pain point
Rays last solo expedition makes the logistics part look easy…but the price is always painful.
No-one likes to talk about money, well some do, and Ray is happy to listen to anyone’s rags to riches story over a pint. Attempting to be the first person to walk across Antarctica will cost a considerable amount of money. 80% is logistical support from ALE and Twin Otter/DC3 Flying time that will insert Ray and recover him at the end. The figure below normally makes potential sponsors spit out whatever they’re drinking, but Ray is looking to secure 5-10 sponsors with equity stakes in his business venture Project 8.
Total funding required: £200,000 +
Corporate Packages – Support | Lead | Pioneer
Full investment PDF on request
The usual Return On Investment (ROI) that will be the intrinsic reward of backing a true British ambassador to create history but plenty of payback from Ray. From private motivational talks to keynotes on creating mindsets for success, he is more than happy to show extreme gratitude by delivering events that honour his discreet profile and convey the message of his Project 8 process – ‘Anyone can get from the wrong place to the right place, or from good to great’
Logo placement is key and can be designed to suit your brand across all manners of kit. Website credit and inclusion within every press release and an interview arranged. As a seasoned writer, Ray can also contribute to your business with blog post updates, social media content and is happy to facilitate your marketing team’s plans for promotion within the media.
Become a part of this last remaining piece of Antarctica history and see Ray drive his Union Jack Flag in the ice again. A flag that has viewed war zones, both Poles and mountain peaks.
If you would like to be a part of Polar history and join the team, drop us a line to request the investment PDF.