On 22 January 2016, the Ice Maidens descended upon Wyvern Barracks, Exeter from across the country to enjoy a weekend of bonding, hiking, tyre pulling and discussions relating to diet and kit.  Who knew there was so much to say about chafing, icy nasal secretions and the pungency of merino wool?

The arrival of Saturday morning was heralded by a dawn chorus of mobile phone alarms and minor grumblings as to the potent scent produced by twelve women sleeping in a cramped room atop brand new Army mattresses fresh from the plastic, reeking of mass produced efficiency.  Eau de Wyvern was carried off on the breeze when we boarded comfy Cuthbert Combivan and headed to Dartmoor, to be greeted by a mystery man from – gasp! – the Navy, planted like a little cress seed by Queen Ice Maidens, Nics and Nat to test the Ice Maidens further.

The Dartmoor weather was kind to us for hours, with some sunshine and invigorating winds reserved as a special treat for the highest point in Devon.  Ice Maidens enjoyed a cycle of ninety minutes of walking followed by a five minute break, testing even the most experienced Ice Maidens’ ability to co-ordinate a windy ‘wild wee’ and the consumption of a calorie dense snack.  The hours were filled with plentiful chat, including free legal advice and dating tips dispensed en route, anecdotes galore, photo opportunities featuring Dartmoor ponies, dogs perched precariously on quad bikes and 42 kilometres of bonding.  Ice Maiden Lauren did well to maintain a smile despite a ‘popped groin’ and the rain we encountered for the last three hours or so may have dampened our colourful clothes but not our collective spirit.

The group enjoyed a guilt free meal out before retiring to Casa Wyvern.  Sunday began with a gentle hour of hauling tyres round the barracks’ car park in circles whilst wearing the now compulsory Ex ICE MAIDEN t-shirt.  After an essential discussion and demo of the clothing we will require in Norway next month, Ice Maiden Rin provided us with a most informative nutrition lecture whilst perched, ironically, above various boxes of chocolates.

The weekend concluded with Nics and Nat’s departure for their recce in Norway and much excited chatter.  Two of the tyres were ‘adopted’ and now reside in Leeds and Gateshead respectively.  Reports confirm that they are settling in well with their new mothers.


Ice Maiden

Ice Maiden

Meeting with Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt…

Following meeting with the Minister Armed Forces the Ex ICE MAIDEN team are feeling reinvigorated and ready to take on the challenge of crossing the Antarctic land mass on foot. MinAF was very enthusiastic about the challenge and wishes the team every success. MinAF thinks it is a brilliant idea to get an all-female military team across Antarctica during the 100th year since the formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Ex ICE MAIDEN looks forward to another tour of parliament in the future.



11 November 2015 in Chepstow, Wales

Some of the ICE MAIDENS gathered to participate in a training day designed to teach the correct techniques used in the new strength and conditioning programme.

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25 – 27 September 2015 in Capel Curig, Wales

After receiving over 250 initial applications, 50 women were invited to the selection weekend in Capel Curig, North Wales

The weekend entailed the 50 selected women rotating through a number stands:

  • Outdoor/team building activities
  • Talks from a previous RAF Antarctic expedition
  • Information on the training and commitments expected from squad members
  • Interviews
  • and of course a social opportunity!

Twenty two of these women have been selected to start the training program before going to Norway for EX ICE BAMBI to learn the foundations of ski touring.

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Photo Credit – Corporal Max Bryan Army Photographer


Successful whistle stop tour of Norway, 3 airports and a night at the Allied Training Centre, Lakselv. The Norwegians based at ATC are looking forward to supporting Ex ICE MAIDEN and training the team on Ex ICE BAMBI. Nics and Nat visited the training area and reviewed the maps. The 5 day Winter Survival Course with the Royal Marines will be a good test with Vibeke Sefland ( pushing the ice maidens to live in the polar environment while learning to ski tour on Ex Ice Bambi, which is departing at the end of February. Ice Maiden