The toughest physically of all Pollyanna's expeditions was made in 1992 - she journeyed into the high arctic to study polar bears and other native wildlife. Traveling across the frozen arctic ocean by husky dog sledge, and camping at night in tents and igloos Pollyanna and Anna-Louise endured temperatures as low as -40ºC. their suffering was rewarded by the sighting of a lone male polar bear at the flow edge where the pack ice breaks away into the freezing ocean.
Painting of Arctic wolves - click here to buy online
Having sworn never to return to the discomfort and cold, Pollyanna flew north again in 1998, this time to the famous polar bear town of Churchill, below the arctic circle, were she saw and sketched over 30 polar bears during a brief stay! Her main destination however was an hours' flight North of Churchill - a remote lodge accessible only be air, located on the inland migration route of female polar bears and their cubs. Pollyanna spent over a week in the lodge, which is completely encircled by a metal cage. She was able to watch the bears from the exposed open roof, and the outside deck - often only six feet away from the worlds largest carnivore watching her intently through the metal bars before strolling off - a neat reversal of the usual zoo experience!
If your image of a typical arctic explorer is of someone tall, butch, rugged and hairy, then the lavishly illustrated book "On top of the World"'On Top of the World', will challenge your preconceived ideas!
Brief Extract from 'On Top of the World':
From Chapter One (England). In case of emergency
Taking up a large portion of my suitcase was my legendary first aid kit. Initially devised to deal with any emergency which may befall us in a remote African Village, our supplies of ointments, bandages, pills and potions were supplemented with a few specialist items - hand warmers to thaw out frozen fingers, waterproof matches - I even invested in a Swiss army knife for that authentic explorer feeling. In pride of place, neatly vacuum packed into plastic pouches were two thin silver blankets, of the type modeled by collapsing runners at the end of the London marathon. Apparently the blurb reassured us, "in case of emergency" they would help us maintain body temperature in even the most severe conditions. Quite what sort of emergency was going to result in me being stranded in the middle of the arctic wasteland wrapped in a large piece of tin foil was something I preferred not to contemplate.
From Day Seventeen
...Midmorning, Pakka slows our sledge. Up ahead, Pollyanna and Gideon have already stopped. We have company - the first human being we have seen since setting out a lifetime ago. On a motorized skidoo, pulling a sled loaded with caribou is a lone Inuit hunter. He has stopped to speak with Gideon, and as is tradition share a slice of frozen raw meat. The hunter leans back on his sledge which is heaped high with slabs of freshly deceased caribou, complete with antlers. Being English, Pollyanna decides to attempt polite conversation.
Pollyanna - "Good Morning"
Inuit Hunter - "Good morning"
Pollyanna - "Have you been out hunting?"
Inuit Hunter - (glancing at sledge piled high with caribou) "yes"
Pollyanna - "What were you hunting? Was it Caribou?"
Inuit Hunter - (with another glance at sledge) "yes"
Pollyanna - "Did you catch any?"
The story of Pollyanna's expeditions into the arctic is told in the book 'On Top of the World'
Click here for further information or to buy online
"Pollyanna is a gifted painter who has transported me on an unforgettable journey .......also congratulations to Anna-Louise who has written such a beautiful book"
"A delightful book"
"On top of the World is a fascinating account of two women's experiences in the high arctic.... this is a very personal acount written with great insight and humour. On Top of the world is a worthy successor to the highly acclaimed Giant pandas and Sleeping Dragons......as with their previous book this one is filled with wonderful illustrations."