Fiona Burnet
Vet Fiona Burnet in training for the chilly challenge.

A Scottish vet is preparing to tackle a 100km trek to the Arctic Circle to raise money for the hospice that cared for her friend’s mother.

Fiona Burnet, of the St Clair Veterinary Group in Kirkcaldy, will swap scenic Scotland for the icy extremes of the polar region for an arctic adventure in March with 14 other intrepid explorers.

Intense preparation

Dr Burnet will trek from Rovaniemi in Finland to the Arctic Circle.

Trekking through the snow for up to 10 hours a day is just part of the challenge – each participant will also be pulling their own pulk (sledge) as they wend their way from Rovaniemi in Finland to the Arctic Circle, and will camp overnight in temperatures as low as -40ºC.

To prepare for the chilly challenge, the participants have done a lot of hillwalking and learning how to deal with cold weather injuries, such as frostbite, and avoid others, such as hypothermia.

Dr Burnet said: “We have been training hard dragging tyres along the beach, which is very hard work.”

The trip is totally self-funded and Dr Burnet hopes to raise a lot of money for St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh, which receives no government funding.


“My friend’s mum sadly passed away last June at St Columba’s Hospice,” Dr Burnet explained. “Her illness was sudden and awful. She only spent seven days in the hospice, but the care she got was truly amazing.

“I know my friend was completely humbled by the care and attention not only her mum got from the hospice staff, but also the care they gave her when visiting. I know it’s made a very difficult situation a little more tolerable.

“I hope none of us have to suffer the loss of a loved one like this, but, if we do, I now know there is amazing care available. The hospice survives on donations and it’s not until you need to use it you are humbled by what they provide, free of charge.”

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