BY HELEN RIDDELL
A MEMBER of the Castletownbere Coast Guard team, Pauliina Kauppila is currently trekking 165km across Greenland in utter wilderness and off the grid.
It’s part of the Caitríona Lucas Challenge, a charitable organisation set up by Caitríona’s husband Bernard after his wife’s tragic death during a Coast Guard search operation in 2016.
Pauliina set off for Greenland last weekend, following weeks of preparation with five others. One of the most challenging aspects of the planning, she said, was deciding what to pack: ‘We have to carry everything – food, shelter, equipment, so it’s been hard to decide what to take and what to leave.’
Originally from Finland, Pauliina has been living in Beara since 2002 where she works as a self-employed software/IT translator and has been a member of the Castletownbere Coast Guard team for 16 years.
The 165km hike will take place along the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland from Kangerlussuag to Sisimiut. Pauliina says the group will also be out of radio and mobile contact for most of the trek.
‘Although we will be following a designated trail, it will be utter wilderness, we will have no mobile or radio coverage so we will be completely incommunicado, although we do have a GPS phone for emergencies,’ she said.
The group hopes to complete the trek in nine to 10 days, and although the trek will be arduous, they plan to enjoy the challenge.
‘It will be tough, but we will all help each other and hope to have some fun as well. It will be an adventure,’ said Pauliina.
All money raised on the trek will be donated to the Burren Chernobyl Project, which helps child victims of the Chernobyl reactor explosion. Pauliina explains that all costs associated with the trip are being paid by the participants themselves and all donations will go directly to the charity. Donations can be made online via www.burrenchernobyl.ie and there is also a donation card in MacCarthy’s Bar Castletownbere.