Essential explorer skills: sewing!

A day spent doing all those jobs that are small but vital - and very time-consuming.

In the morning we sorted through the poles for our wonderful Hilleberg tents to make sure they hadn't been bent or damaged in transit - they hadn't - and made a few personal touches; adding extra long easy-pull tabs to the zips, installing elasticated washing lines, that sort of thing.

Then we turned our attention to the sledges, making traces that attach the sledges to the harnesses and mending any small nicks in the sledge bags being reused from our training and past expeditions.

In the afternoon we went through our 4 layers of clothing again, making small adjustments as we went...a pocket added there, a bigger size decided on here, a touch of elastic and a bit of extra padding. We added colour coding to everything - even our socks - because we are a team of 11 with identical kit living in three tents and because wearing one set of our own clothes day-in, day-out is one thing - accidentally wearing someone else's sweaty socks is another...