A guiding light – intrepid dog trainer prepares for a challenge of a lifetime

Pat Brown

Armed with a set of silk thermals and a strong love of dogs, Pat Brown takes on the Arctic to raise money for her favourite charity

Most of us nearing retirement might consider a session with the grand kids or walking the dogs plenty of exercise. However, 60-year-old Pat Brown from Otley, has been training five days a week in preparation to trek across the Swedish Arctic, on a five day husky-pulled sled challenge, to raise money for Guide Dogs.

Guide DogsPuppy love

Pat’s relationship with Guide Dogs started in 2007, volunteering as a puppy walker. To date she has cared for and trained five dogs – Eddie, Flora, Zia, Kassie and India. And it is her love of the dogs and dedication to this worthwhile organisation that has driven her to undertake this extreme challenge. Her goal is to raise enough funds to sponsor a guide dog puppy and name it ‘Otley’ after her home town in Yorkshire.

The Challenge

Pat will fly to Kiruna in Northern Sweden, an area 140 kms within the Arctic Circle. Once the team is ready and the huskies harnessed they’ll mush over 200 kms across the 70,000 square miles of snow and ice which make up this area of Sweden. Over the next five days they’ll face freezing temperatures and a treacherous terrain.

She’ll be travelling around 35 miles a day in temperatures as low as minus 30. “We have to stand up on the sleds when we drive the teams for more than six hours a day in freezing cold”, says Pat. “If you fall off you sink into deep, soft, snow.”

Pat and the rest of the team will follow a route, made famous by adventurer Ben Fogle in a recent TV documentary, traveling along a trail through a wilderness of soft snow and frozen lakes.

Pat prepares for the challengePreparation

Pat is taking the challenge seriously and knows that it is paramount to be as physically fit as possible. She has been training for over a year for the Artic expedition, putting in five days a week at the gym, doing weights as well as aerobics. Of course her daily dog walking also keeps her in shape.



Pat has already raised £2,500, however to name a Guide Dog puppy, she’ll need to double that figure. She is funding her own travel and equipment expenses, covering the costs of the trip from her own pocket. The idea behind this is that all  sponsorship money raised will go directly to Guide Dogs.

Gearing up

When you’re traveling in sub-zero conditions you need to be prepared, not just physically but also by packing the right clothing. Pat reveals how incredibly important layering is, selecting the right fabric to keep moisture away from the skin: “If I get the layering wrong my sweat will freeze”.


This is where Patra stepped in, by donating a set of thermal base layers for Pat. This essential pure silk outfit consists of a Long Sleeve Silk Thermal Vest and Long Johns. They act like under-armour – comfortable and lightweight but incredibly warm. They will benefit Pat enormously when she’s in the Artic because although it’s cold she’ll be working hard, the silk is breathable and will wick moisture away from her skin.

We also included a Silk-Elastane Collar and Silk Thermal Glove Liners. These little touches can make all the difference when faced with extreme weather. The silk collar protects your neck and the glove liners give an essential extra layer of warmth for your hands.

An excited Pat was overjoyed when her Patra thermals arrived in the post, “The thermals came today. They feel fantastic, and I can’t wait for a cold day to try them out.”

The_Guide_Dogs_for_the_Blind_Association_logoAt Patra we are more than happy to pay a part in helping such a great lady raise money for such an important cause. And it seems like Pat can’t wait to get started: “I’m really looking forward to it. I know it’s going to be hard and we could have blizzards and extreme temperatures, but I love travelling and I hope I will get to see the Northern Lights.”

We’d like to wish Pat all the luck in the world and can’t wait to here how she gets on.

If you would like to back Pat’s Guide Dogs challenge you can donate on http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PatBrown1

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