Saturday 18 November 2017

Dublin mental health nurse aiming to be among first to ever set foot in North Pole of Inaccessibility

John Lynders
John Lynders
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A mental health nurse from Dublin is hoping to be one of the first people to ever set foot on the North Pole of Inaccessibility.

John Lynders (32) from Portrane will be joining explorer Jim McNeill and 27 other volunteers to tackle the 800 mile journey to the area in February 2019.

The area is 200 miles further north than the North Pole and the team hope to gather data which will help climate change research.

McNeill has tried and failed twice on solo treks to the area, falling through the ice the first time, and falling prey to a flesh eating bug the second.

John Lynders with Dermot and Dave at Today FM
John Lynders with Dermot and Dave at Today FM

However, John says he's "not worried about not coming back".

He decided to take on the challenge after his girlfriend Niamh took him to the Shackleton exhibition in Dun Laoghaire.

"What normally takes 40 minutes, I was there three hours later," he told Dermot and Dave on Today FM.

"I heard about Tom Crean in school and found it fascinating.  I thought I'd love to go to a nice cold place in the polar regions, either the North Pole or the South Pole. 

"After reading many polar books and polar literature I said, 'Do you know what?  It's time to get off the toilet or use it."

John, who works as a mental health nurse in Galway, went on a polar winter training course in Norway which involved three days of learning how to ski followed by three days in the snow in the wilderness, dragging his food and fuel behind him, and setting up camp.

"It was quite intense," he said.  "The reason I did it was to see if I liked it and I absolutely loved it."

He signed up for the expedition, which will involve 24 hours of daylight, on his return and he says his friends and family "all think it's a bit made but as they say, that's me all over."

At the moment he's training between Portrane and Galway.

"I can be seen on the beach at mad hours of the morning dragging a tyre and people are saying they can see the tyre marks up and down and when I'm in Galway I'm out in Moycullen bog in a windmill farm dragging the tyre up and down gravel tracks that's 5k," he reveals.

John needs to raise €25000 to fund the expedition, of which he has already raised €9000.  Donations can be made at

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