Wigan dad completing a gruelling Arctic trek at -36C

An intrepid Wigan dad has embarked on another gruelling sub-zero trek across the Arctic Circle.

Father-of-five Michael Stevenson, from Orrell, is hoping to complete an arduous journey across 281 miles (450km) of Swedish Lapland on foot.

Michael, who previously traversed Siberia’s Lake Baikal, solo and unsupported in world record time, is raising money for Bolton Mountain Rescue.

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The Kungsleden (The King’s Trail) is between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. It also passes through the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve: one of the largest protected areas in Europe.

Michael Stevenson on his latest epic trek across frozen Swedish tundra

This trek crosses one of the least populated regions in Europe, passing through large wilderness areas but also the highest mountains in Sweden, as well as passing north of the Arctic Circle, which also makes it an ideal place to see the Northern Lights.

Michael will spend the next two weeks relentlessly pushing himself to complete his challenge, battling temperatures as low as -36 degrees.

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He also has a team of people based in the UK, including safety officers, who are helping him along the way, despite communication being very limited.

The trip hasn’t come without its challenges already, with cancelled flights and fresh snowfall impacting the journey.

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“It was no surprise after my flight not being able to land and while prepping in three days of snow.

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“The trails are tough and are getting impassable, especially hauling a fully loaded pulk! Spoke to some scooter guys yesterday they told me the trails. Ammarnass are worse if anything and their scooters were struggling to grab traction in the deep powder And nobody had been up the ski routes

“I called it there, with the climbs coming up it would be futile, if not dangerous to try.”

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He added: “I’m certainly not wasting this opportunity so once I’m back in Hemavan, I’ll then bus it up to Kiruna and head off to ski a familiar part of the Kungsleden through the mountains, Nikolouta to Abisko.

“I would have liked to have seen more and a different part of the trail but Plan A will keep for another time.”

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Unlike Baikal, which has to be frozen to be crossed and so attempts can only be made in winter, the Kungsleden can be attempted at any time of year. As Michael is on his trek in winter, there won’t be any record attempts this time.

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