An ex-Welsh soldier has become the first amputee to successfully cross Greenland’s treacherous ice cap.
Peter Bowker, who said a nasty case of frostbite left him “looking like Freddy Krueger”, completed his 65 Degrees North expedition with five other team members on Thursday after 27 trying days crossing the ice and snow.
The former soldier, 28, from Connah’s Quay in Wales, was a lance corporal for the Dragoon Guards when part of his leg was blown off in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2012.
Upon his arrival home, he said that they had to contend with some horrific storms and white-out conditions, while he was frostbitten and sunburnt at the same time. He revealed that the frostbite on his face was actually not too sore, but the extreme blisters on his stump that rubbed against his prosthetic limb were excruciatingly painful.
The team began their journey on 8 May with the aim of covering 30kms a day; however, poor weather often held them back and forced them to retreat to their tents for hours at a time.
Bowker explained that the cloud cover was so thick during white-outs that its visibility was just about zero which made navigation almost impossible.
He noted that from a personal point of view the most emotional part of the journey was touching land after coming off the ice cap, admitting that it was the time he thought to himself he had overcome adversity and achieved what many people had doubted he could. He added that he always maintained a positive attitude throughout the experience.
The 65 Degrees North initiative raised money for Help the Heroes, a charity that assists those that have suffered in conflicts across the globe.