08/15/2011

Harry learns some harsh lessons from Arctic adventure

Harry arctic

Prince Harry knew the Arctic was a dangerous place.

That message rung loud and clear in his almost-frostbitten ears when he went on a 10-day Arctic journey in March.

Harry The third in line to the throne was on the last day of his trip with the Walking With the Wounded crew – a small group of injured British soldiers who were making a 260-kilometre trip to the North Pole.

As the group stood near the top of the world, the group’s guide, Inge Solheim, noticed that the prince’s ears had turned white, a sure sign of impending frostbite.

“I was happily here chatting,” Harry said for an upcoming TV documentary on the journey. “And then Inge came over and said, ‘Your ears! Your ears!’ Apparently they went white quite quickly.”

The ears went back under cover and Harry was thus saved from a tragic twist to the trek that was meant to raise awareness for the miltary’s wounded from Afghanistan. The resulting TV doc is called “Harry’s Arctic Heroes” and is being aired later this month in Britain.

The prince trained with the nine-man group then spent several days on the journey that began at the Russian ice station Barneo. From there, he endured temperatures diving as low as minu 45C and hauled sleds across the frozen landscape that was anything but inviting.

The dangers were real, which is why Harry didn’t even let his grandmother, the Queen, know that he was going.

“My father (Prince Charles) obviously knew I was coming out here and so did my brother, but I kind of kept it quiet,” he said. “I don't know why it happened - so my grandparents and the rest of my family probably just found out about it and they probably think I'm completely mad. It's probably right."

Charles was especially concerned for his son.

"My father was very nervous because of the lack of training that I've done and quite rightly so,” said Harry. “He's got a lot of friends who have done this, he's got professional opinions that no doubt would have advised him saying 'do not let your son go'."

Harry spent the first several days on the journey with the group before returning to civilization, where he had to prepare for his brother’s wedding and get back to his other military commitments as a helicopter pilot. The rest of the group finished their trip to the Pole in 12 days.

The documentary gives some insight into Harry’s life, and his obvious affection for the military.

“"I think I have three different lives - one's my military life, one's my private life and one's the sort of public stuff,” he said. "But, you know, me as a military man is probably my number one favourite because you get to some time with people like this -- it is very special."

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Rookie mistake, Your Highness. Next time, please pay more attention to the training, please (there's a reason why RM Cdo do special training - ditto for our Canadian Rangers ... in fact, they conducted combined training here in Canada in 2005 ...).

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