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Pully-Hauly and the Sledge Hauling Crew

In the days of early British Arctic exploration, the standard navy method of travelling across the ice was the "sledge-hauling crew" - sailors hauling boats, carts, or overburdened clumsey sledges until they suffered from blistered skin, frostbite, and the spitting of blood.

Rather than accept the methods of people who had long ago learned the secrets of successful Arctic travel (Inuit), the British were determined to do everything in true naval fashion.

Little progress was made as men struggled to drag "sledge boats" across the ice (often weighing over 3,500 lbs / 1500 kilos when loaded), and their heavy iron-wheeled "snow wagons" sank to the axles. On one occasion a clumsy caravan crept just 50 miles / 80 km in six weeks of back-breaking labor!

It was not until men had virtually died in harness at "pully-hauly", that an insight was gained into the value of sled dogs.

They "discovered" that the dogs, with a proper sled, could travel over 30 miles / 50 km a day. By comparison, a sledge crew could do 13 miles / 20 km at best.

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Library: Arctic, Exploration
Explorers, Sled Dogs, Inuit
Links: Arctic, Northwest Passage, Inuit
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