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The Castle 'Save the Arctic' Christmas Raffle


In the run up to the Castle’s Arctic themed Christmas party being held on Saturday 14th December, we’re holding a raffle, with some great prizes on offer to the lucky winners.

So what’s the reason behind the Arctic theme and what is the raffle raising money for, you may ask?

The Arctic
Well, hopefully most of you will be aware that the fragile Arctic is under threat from both climate change and oil drilling.  Much of the Arctic is untouched by human footprint and there is an array of unique animal species which live there and are already in danger. The fact is, it is one of the places in the world that is most exposed to climate change and as the Arctic ice melts, oil companies are moving in to extract more of the fossil fuels that caused the melt in the first place. Drilling for oil is a messy business at the best of times (remember the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico!) but drilling in the Arctic is something else altogether. Above the Arctic Circle, freezing temperatures, a narrow drilling window and a remote location mean that an oil spill would be almost impossible to deal with. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen and Greenpeace (GP) is working to halt climate change and to stop this new oil rush at the top of the world.

A number of Castle staff have a long association with Greenpeace and this year some of us volunteered for GP at Glastonbury, running a bouldering wall in the ‘Arctic Field’. You can see what they got up to at Glastonbury

So it was this field that inspired us to come up with our own winter wonderland, albeit on a much smaller scale. And whilst we want to make the place look lovely and Christmassy for all our customers, we thought that maybe we could do something worthwhile at the same time. So, to get back to the original question, the raffle is to hopefully raise some money and increase awareness on what is happening in the Arctic and the injustices suffered by the GP Arctic 30 protestors.

Arctic 30
The crew of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise took part in a peaceful protest at Gazprom's oil rig to call attention to the threat of oil drilling. The ice is retreating and oil companies are moving north to drill for the same stuff that's driving that melting in the first place!

The 30 crew were arrested when Russian authorities forcibly took control of the Arctic Sunrise and the boat was towed to the port of Murmansk. All on board were jailed, initially under investigation for piracy, which in Russia carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years. This has since been dropped and replaced by a charge of aggravated hooliganism with a maximum sentence of seven years. These activists looked at the scientific evidence of man-made global warming and the threat it poses to the Arctic, and decided to do something about it. They made their stand in the interests of us all and have paid the personal sacrifice for it.*
*Since writing this a number of the Arctic 30 have been released on bail 22/11/2013

The Raffle
Participation in the raffle couldn’t be easier. We’re not expecting you to go off to Russia and board an iceberg or the like! All we’re asking is that you stick your hand in your pocket and dig around amongst the cobwebs for £2. And for that you get a chance to win a Marmot Quasar down jacket (worth £220), a pair of La Sportiva climbing shoes (worth over £95) or a Patagonia product to the value of £150. Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, Marmot, PatagoniaLyon Equipment.

The Party
The prize draw will take place at the Castle Christmas Party on Saturday 14th December (from 6pm). We’ll begin the evening with a bonfire (if it doesn’t rain) and pizzas in the garden. We’ll then move indoors for The Last Great Climb film by Posing Productions followed by party games and dancing. Plus more prizes on offer for the games and fancy dress competition!