A HUNDRED miles south of the Arctic Circle, a team of charity trekkers will test their survival skills.

The Angel Trust charity, based in Bishop Auckland, will send seven intrepid supporters to the beautiful but extreme environment to be immersed in the Swedish wilderness.

During the trip they will face five days of survival skill challenges including trekking through a land of snowy forests, frozen lakes and rivers, building shelters and finding food.

Charity found Clair McGregor said: “It looks beautiful but, no joke, it is going to be horrendous too. Anyone who knows me says I must be mad.

“We have to build and stay in a twig shelter while we build an igloo to sleep in- we’ll all be in one igloo, cuddling and crying.

“It’ll minus 30 or 40 degrees, your eye lashes and hair can snap off, the toilets are outside, I don’t like fish but we have to fish for food through a hole in the ice.

“We have to take it turns, of two hour shifts, to stay awake through the night to make sure the fire doesn’t go out.

“We’ll travel by husky sled, snow mobile and ski– I’m sure I don’t remember reading about crosscountry skiing when I signed up– between three and five miles a day to get to our next task.

“It looks spectacular but truly this is not my natural habitat.”

The mother of two, from Hamsterley, said she was amazed when she invited people to sign up for the challenge via the Angel Trust website and filled the places within 24 hours.

She added: “If people are kind enough to sponsor us, please when you make a donation leave a good luck message to help us get through it.

“If I’m reading about the support we have back home, and thinking about all the good Angel Trust can do with the money raised back in County Durham I can get through anything.”

Mother-of-two Michelle Telford, 46, a dental practice manager who lives in Bishop Auckland, said: “I’m a good friend of Clair’s so want to support her work with the charity. I like to push boundaries and think it is good to try something new.”

Support worker Mark Dunn, 34, of Ferryhill– known as Mr Tickle as his partner is performer Tess Tickle– will take part just four years after he was diagnosed with a heart condition.

He said: “When I was younger I loved outward bound stuff like rock climbing, walking, abseiling and was giving everything 110 per cent. When I was poorly at 30, I had to slow down a bit and had two heart operations so I’m really excited about getting out there and for such a good cause.”

Two trekkers planning to make use of their own talent during the expedition are fitness instructor Michaela Tyers, 28, of Bishop Auckland, who plans an outdoor exercise regime on top of the itinerary and singer Ian James, who performs at the trust's fundraising events, will sing round the campfire to keep up morale.

Angel Trust, whose ambassadors include television personality Scarlett Moffatt, supports individuals and organisations in Darlington and County Durham. It backs projects that enhance and improve the community, promote good citizenship and healthy recreational activities and offer relief from financial hardship.

The trekkers each hope to raise £3,000 for the charity, to support them visit angeltrust.co.uk or search for Angel Trust on Facebook.