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Cancer survivor drives solo to Arctic circle

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Her story of driving through the Arctic circle as winter expedition is full of struggles and challenges seemed almost like a Bollywood plot – alone to reach Nordkapp from UK in 90 hours covering the distance of 4500 kilometres on icy roads with possibility of temperature dropping as low as -40°C and return back in 90 hours covering further 4500 kilometres…reports Asian Lite News

 by . Veteran automobile expeditor and Cancer Survivor Bharulata’s new Arctic Circle Winter Adventure Challenge to reach the Nordkapp in 90 hours crossed the finish line at her home at 16.00pm on 12 November 2019 at 9 days and 4 hours after setting off on 3rd November 2019 at 12.00 noon.

Determined, fearless, tough, strong will power- that is Bharulata Patel-Kamble is known for.  She dreams big and achieves it. But undertaking a winter expedition to reach Nordkapp from UK in 90 hours, after a gruelling cancer treatment for 20 months was something an extraordinary challenge. As usual once again she drove without any back up crew or a backup vehicle.

Her story of driving through the Arctic circle as winter expedition is full of struggles and challenges seemed almost like a Bollywood plot – alone to reach Nordkapp from UK in 90 hours covering the distance of 4500 kilometres on icy roads with possibility of temperature dropping as low as -40°C and return back in 90 hours covering further 4500 kilometres. She drove through extremely hostile weather conditions on completely frozen roads in one of the most remote and loneliest part this planet with only few hours of day light (from around 9am to around 1.30pm).

 by . After being flagged off from the world-famous temple, BAPS Shree Swaminarayan temple, Neasden, London on 2ndNovember 2019 evening, Bharulata set off on 3rd November 2019, in BMW 2 series, Gran tourer M Sports. The goal was to reach Nordkapp in 90 hours and return back in 90 hours covering the distance of 9000 kilometres through 9 countries in 9 days.

However, because of unpredictable weather conditions and road closures due to snow, she faced two stops lasting 3 hours and 4 hours due to road closure on her way to Nordkapp. When a road closes because of bad weather, drivers pull over and wait in a queue for the snow plough to come through, which can take a few hours or a couple of days, fortunately on both occasions the road closure lasted 3 and 4 hours. This delayed her to reach the Nordkapp in 91 hours instead of 90. In last two days of her reaching Nordkapp she drove in temperature between -30°C to -35°C. The sun stays below the horizon during the day in winter months, so she had about 2-3 hours of day light and rest of the driving was in dark.

Bharulata had undertaken number of survival courses, including advanced driving, car maintenance, driving in snow and ice and first aid. As part of her training Bharulata also learnt about the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite, how to spot the signs and what to do.

 by . Driving in the Arctic Circle in the winter and in winter conditions is challenging and therefore it is not usually recommended for the inexperienced driver. Handling a vehicle in such weather – especially on mountain roads – requires careful attention. Drivers must be prepared to drive on pure ice and fresh snow.  Regular stops are required to clear snow from vehicle’s headlights and number plates. It is important to keep a flask of hot drink, bottled water, snacks and warm blankets in the car, just in case roads are closed for longer duration.

Her journey to Arctic Circle Challenge to Nordkapp in 90 hours in the toughest winter conditions through France, Belgium, Netherland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway to Nordkapp, had 900 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle. On her return journey she remained stranded for one entire day due to heavy snow. It was a tough challenge, but she made it back in 80 hours after roads reopened.

She travelled through narrow roller-coaster roads in Arctic Circle passing through 5 tunnels one of which is 7 kilometres long going approximately 700 feet below the sea level under the sea. She also drove through the northernmost public tunnel in the world and stayed in Northern most camp in the world.

 by . Bharulata said “this has been a huge challenge and she is delighted to have completed the challenge safely and in time. “I wanted to do this because I want to inspire others and let the world know that cancer is not the ‘death Penalty’. I have fought the dreaded cancer, so many others can. It is our body and we must do everything to protect it. I felt fit enough to undertake this challenge and if I can give something back, such as hope to those suffering with the cancer at present then my risky activity is well worth”. Bharulata’s motivation was to raise awareness in Indian females of this awful disease and she has certainly done that with this wacky challenge that having cancer is not the end of your life. Life can be steered back to where we want it to be.

It is three years to the day since Bharulata drove solo from UK to India through 32 countries in just 57 days without a backup team or a backup crew covering the distance of 35,383 kilometres.

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