Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Eating Dogs And Other Arctic Survival Tips

I've been reading a lot about Greenland lately in preparation for writing a novella set in Viking Greenland. One of the more interesting titles has been Those Greenland Days, by Martin Lindsay. It's about the 1930 British Arctic Air Route Expedition, written by one of the surveyors. Not exactly from the Viking era, but I've already read all the Viking sagas, so now I have to read more of the modern stuff.

I also have a personal connection to the expedition, and you may too. The explorers were studying the weather and terrain in preparation for a Transatlantic air route now used for flights between London and other northern European cities, and New York or Chicago.

But the expedition had a lot more to contend with than jetlag. They faced frigid temperatures, 100+mph winds, and remote wilderness with no chance of immediate help. They risked the real threat of being cut off and running out of food in the bleak interior of Greenland.

But they were prepared. They had a lot of dogs along to pull the sledges, but the animals served another purpose too. If the food ran out they could eat them. This had been the practice of the Inuit for centuries, and famous arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen had realized it was good insurance when he led the first expedition across Greenland in 1888. Apparantly dog tastes pretty good and is quite nutritious, and you can feed dog meat to other dogs if you still need a sledge team.

Animal rights are for people in comfortable climates. It's a bit hard to think about it, but it's our modern comforts and resources that shield us from some of the harder truths of survival.

Hopefully I won't have to eat any dogs to survive walking across England this August.

1 comment:

Ana said...

this was an interesting read, esp. since i love Greenland and all those places on Earth with something extreme in them.
I dont think i could EVER eat dog meat even if i was maybe starved to death....i cant eat lamb either...or pork...i think i have some inherent repulsive alarm towards these.....though i have to admit, it was a smart thinking about how to survive, in case you run out of food, eat a dog and help the other dogs survive by giving them dog meat...
If i have a chance, and am lucky, ill try to read those two books "Those Greenland Days", and that Nansen's biography. Sound as an interesting read.
My current read is "The Doctor from Lhasa" by Lobsang Rampa.
Well, this is not Greenland, this is Tibet...but its an interesting one, esp. since its somewhat autobiographical...its a sequel of "The Third Eye" by the same author...which i actually HAVEN'T read...but from what i read till now, the Doctor from Lhasa is not only interesting, but educational as well....i like fiction books, but i also like to read ones which teach you things...

btw, i was wondering..if you were on an expedition some place, and you had run out of food, and all you could find are lizards, crickets and cockroaches...would you eat them to survive?

just a thought....;-)