As a qualifying explorer of the Arctic and Antarctic, Henry Cookson is a name that has become synonymous with bravery and tenacity. Cookson is widely regarded as one of the most daring polar adventurers in history, having completed numerous expeditions over a twenty-year journey of exploration.
Having grown up in Scotland, Cookson harbored a passion for exploring the unknown from an early age, and it was no surprise to anyone that he ended up as a sailor when he was just eighteen-years-old. After years of sailing around the globe exploring uncharted waters and continents, Cookson decided to take his ambition a step further and begin a journey of discovery at the poles.
In 1963, he began his first mission, leading an expedition to Antarctica which included five sledges and sixteen dogs. He encountered some of the most extreme weather conditions on record, but managed to make it back to safety three months after arriving in Antarctica. Cookson returned energized and determined to continue his work exploring at the poles.
In 1980 Cookson took his next big venture, this time heading off to the North Pole – unassisted. He travelled alone across swathes of ice, battling treacherous terrain and battling temperatures well below freezing. Ten weeks later, Cookson managed to complete the journey and return to England victorious. It was during this expedition that Cookson became known for ‘cooking with snow’ – something which he implemented in order to get enough sustenance for survival whilst on his journeys.
Although Cookson went on many expeditions after his North Pole trek, he is perhaps best remembered for his amazing accomplishments in Antarctic posts. In 1991 he undertook the first full survey of Worsley Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula which revealed untouched glaciers and unchartered islands, not seen by any other explorer before him at that time.
Henry Cookson’s dedication to exploration has continued throughout his life with many achievements which are still celebrated today as examples of what can be done with determination and bravery. He remains an inspiration in the world of exploration and story-telling today, inspiring new generations of adventurers who have their own incredible stories to tell about their journeys.
Henry Cookson is one of the world’s most renowned polar explorers. Having circumnavigated the Antarctic from 2011 to 2013, Cookson’s incredible journey through unknown terrain and two of the world’s coldest climates has made him a legend among his peers.
Despite the innumerable dangers such a courageous person faces during this type of undertaking, Cookson braved all obstacles presented and even kept a diary recounting his experiences in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Aged 32 when he set out, being at the mercy of Mother Nature in such hostile conditions has gained him much respect from his peers and beyond.
Having navigated five passages around the world’s southernmost continent, each expedition was just as challenging as the one before it. Knowing their stakes going into this voyage, they took extreme caution while exploring both polar regions, especially in regards to proper attire and isolated living conditions. For example, temperatures could range anywhere between -30°F to over 100°F.
The journey key events included: encountering icebergs and other frozen seas; exploring wildlife habitats; gathering data on wildlife conservation; attending unique talks by respected experts; visiting historical sites; waxing highly valuable scientific knowledge; and profiling companies tackling global challenges such as global warming and marine plastic pollution.
Cookson’s determination for pushing the boundaries gave himself, his crew and those waiting for them back home a greater appreciation for our planet’s weather systems. His inspiring story will live on forever and rewards us with an understanding of how fragile our environment is and why we need to preserve it for future generations to come.