Two army veterans from Goole have taken on the journey of a lifetime after travelling across Sweden on snowmobiles thanks to veteran charity, VetRun180.
Ross Turner and Billy Robinson both took part in the week-long expedition travelling across the Arctic Circle and picturesque Swedish landscape, leaving the UK on March 3 for the chilly Swedish town of Lulea where their adventure began. As one of the expedition’s team leaders, Ross led the group through the 600km trip, which aimed to provide ‘adventure therapy’ to Veterans who are struggling with physical or mental injuries.
Speaking about the experience Ross said: “Sweden 2022 was my sixth expedition with VetRun180, and my fourth as part of the leadership team and this one was by far the best one yet. “From day one the team bonded unbelievably and we experienced things together that no words can properly describe. To be part of an expedition that has never been done before in the way that we did over 100 hours makes it very unique.” The expedition saw the group travel through some of the most stunning natural landscapes including crossing the frozen Bothnian Sea, passing through Swedish Pine Forests and passing through the Arctic Circle. As part of their week of adventure therapy, the Veterans also had the opportunity to have a go at ice fishing, experience the local cuisine and culture and even see the impressive Northern Lights.
Ross said: “Witnessing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) was something that had been spoken about amongst the group, but we never really expected it to happen. “Some people pay thousands of pounds on holidays and don’t get to see them, so to see them as we did just topped off the perfect trip. We also found out the following morning that they had been the clearest, most intense display for the last 15 years, it was extraordinary.” The expedition was fully funded by VetRun180, a charity which aims to support Veterans who are struggling with physical or mental injuries, by providing exhilarating expeditions and re-invoking a sense of adventure and teamwork. Speaking about the charity, Ross said: “The concept of VetRun180 being lead by veterans, for veterans, just works perfectly. We can all relate to each other, whether it be through physical injuries, own mental health issues or experiences that we have encountered on operational deployments with the military. “We know exactly when each other needs a bit of alone time, a shoulder or just a chat over a brew. “For me there is no amount of therapy that can be provided by the Government or the NHS that comes anywhere near what VetRun 180 provides to injured troops. Our motto is ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.’” The Swedish expedition was Billy Robinson’s first time taking part in a VetRun180 event and he said it was an unforgettable trip.
He said: “In October last year I was running through the Wadi-Rum desert, Jordan in 30-40 degree heat with 14 other members of the Coldstream Guards raising money for our injured brothers, it was a once in a lifetime trip and I never thought anything would ever come close to that experience ever again.
“Six months later I’m in Sweden snowmobiling in freezing conditions, crossing the Arctic Circle, staying in cabins in the wild and experiencing the amazing sights of the Northern Lights with seven other fantastic veterans that have all had their own traumatic experiences throughout their career. “It’s really hard to put into words what I’ve just experienced but it will never be forgotten. “I’ve overcome many obstacles over the last four-six years and now a lot of my time goes into to helping others, such as raising money for charitys, coaching at Goole Amateur Boxing Club and mountain hiking but if I’m been honest I really needed this trip. “I would like to say a big thank you to VetRun180 who funded the whole experience and who do an amazing job looking after injured vets and taking them on Wild expeditions, “Huge thanks to Ross Turner for giving me the opportunity to come on this amazing trip and I can’t thank him enough for letting me be part of Expedition Sweden 2022.” To learn more about VetRun180, or if you are a Veteran in need of support, please visit: https://vetrun180.org
Two army Veterans from Goole, Billy Robinson and Ross Turner, have completed a snowmobile expedition across Sweden. (31-03-116 SU)