Pen has been receiving an increasing number of well wishes from friends, journalists and most recently a particularly interesting note from 10 Downing Street…
The Polar Travel Company
With a steady stream of enquirers approaching Pen after his early-day polar expedition talks asking how they too could do something in the polar regions, he realised a market existed for a niche tour operator.
In 1995 he set up The Polar Travel Company, which offered guided wildlife and adventure tours to the Arctic and Antarctic. It was also the first to offer professionally guided expedition services on the Arctic Ocean sea ice. Pen’s vision was to make it possible for people from all backgrounds to realise their polar ambitions.
In 1997 it organised what later became known as the McVitie’s Penguin Polar Relay, the first all-women expedition to the North Pole, involving 20 British women with no previous polar experience, operating in five teams of four accompanied by two professional Canadian women guides – one of the most logistically complex expeditions ever to have been organised on the Arctic Ocean.
Over the years, led by the interests of its clients, the company increasingly specialised in organising sledge-hauling expeditions to the world’s ultimate extremities – the North and South Poles. Guided expeditions took many forms – individuals, private teams, charity fund-raising projects and made-for-TV programmes – but all were delivered with a passion to ensure each person had the richest possible experience.
Over the winter of 2003/04 The Polar Travel Company organised, and Pen led, an expedition on a new 1,200km route from Antarctica’s continental coast to the South Pole, accompanied by Simon Murray (63). In association with The Times, Simon Murray’s expedition raised £280,000 to restore the polar archive of the Royal Geographical Society.
Pen continues to be available as a polar guide for special projects.