Greenland Snowkite: Day 2

Date 07/05

Day 2

Location N68 19.632 W 046 58.187

Distance (day/total) 63/106 miles

Weather Overcast this morning then sunny, now snowing Wind 5-15 mph Temp -4c

Early start this morning and straight on to the Ozone Chrono 15 metre kite. Just the thing for the light winds we had today. Had to work pretty hard to generate enough power to move our 135kg loads. Lost count of the number of times we had to loop the kite. Pretty chuffed with progress so far.

Now in the tent sitting out a storm, snowing heavily outside, forecast 50mph winds. Got the stove on and Bruce has not had a look in because when you read how much experience he has with it, he is just not to be trusted

Ahead of their trip Leo gave Bruce a lesson in on-expedition cooking:

“There’s a couple of stoves for you to play with” as two sooty metal contraptions were shoved in my, not now so clean, hands. Leo, using either some clever educational teaching technique, or simply being lazy (I’m still not quite sure which) suggested that I strip, service and practice lighting them – on my own.

Sometimes there is a real advantage to being ignorant. I knew nothing about petrol stoves to the point I had never knowingly touched one, let alone lit one. Now one could conclude that this is quite disadvantageous but I’m not so sure. First of all stuff like petrol makes me scared; the slightest whiff of vapors can go whoosh-bang, but conversely 50 litres of it can sit quite happily in the fuel tank of a car on a boiling hot day with no risk of explosion.

This uncertain danger makes me pay attention. So the first port of call was the MSR website. If I’m going to have to read something then I want to read just one version of the truth, and if the maker of the piece of equipment doesn’t know about it, then nobody will. So with the stove in front of me, I watched the “official” YouTube videos and read the manual from start to finish – luckily it had plenty of diagrams. So feeling my levels of confidence more than compensated for my lack of competence I headed off to Nevisport in Kendal to get some fuel.

Clear Spirit, Coleman fuel, Primus Power fuel in a black bottle? – none of it looked like the White Gas I had read about in the manual – I had fallen at the first hurdle. Luckily, standing behind the counter that day was Mike Osborne, and he could spot a punter a mile off, and asked me, in a very reassuring way whether I had ever lit a MSR stove before. “Er, no” and I was then treated to an exceedingly detailed MSR petrol stove tips and tricks session from a self-confessed “stove anorak”. Together with my theoretical understanding and all that practical knowledge I couldn’t have been better placed to undertake my first lighting.

How did it go? Boringly well actually – just as Mike and the manual had described, and most importantly no singed eyebrows. A few days later I serviced all the pumps and stoves and I was left with a couple of very small questions about the markings on the jets, which a short visit back to Mike clarified. “Perhaps I’m turning into a stove anorak myself” I proclaimed to Mike with a smile. “Perhaps you are – if you are interested there is a website called Adventures in Stoving where you can find all sorts of tests and reviews of the latest in camping stoves”, he said. Now there’s a website I wouldn’t want my wife to catch me on….

Knowing nothing and consequently having no bad habits has meant that my stove knowledge is purely based on the combination of the manufacturers information supplemented with practical tips and tricks from an experienced user. I now watch Leo like a hawk when he is operating the stove and smugly point out any non-compliant operations that he does against MSR recommended procedures. He ignores me….

Track the progress of Leo Houlding’s month-long 1000 mile snowkiting expedition across Greenland’s ice cap with 10 minute updates on the adventurers location.



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