A MUCH Marcle man is following in the footsteps of his grandfather by leading an expedition to the Arctic.

Adam Munthe, who lives at Hellens, is travelling through the Arctic Finnmark on a 1,500km journey from the Barents Sea to the Atlantic.

He wants to draw attention to climate change and its effects on the indigenous nomadic people, the Sami.

His grandfather, writer Axel Munthe, travelled through the same region at the beginning of the last century.

His companion on that journey was a great Sami shaman and hunter Johan Turi. Turi's great nephew Johan Mathis Turi, a reindeer herder, is part of the current expedition team.

The unique dog sledding expedition, called Finnmark 2007, will last around a month and travels through terrain so inaccessible, NASA has asked the group to document the structure of snow crystals, because otherwise the data could not be gathered.

The risks are also not inconsiderable.

Mr Munthe, a businessman, writer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, went on a smaller scale trial run to the Finnmark in 2006, and at one point fell through ice while travelling with the Sami.

Speaking before setting off on Wednesday, Mr Munthe said climate change now affecting the Sami, and the migratory reindeer herds they depend on, is a forewarning for us all if action is not taken now.

He said: "Our aim is to check and report back on how the Sami are faring in a fragile environment of huge significance to us all.

"We seek to highlight how the Sami's traditional knowledge and sustainable practices are vitally important to the rest of the world, as we battle against climate change. They have a 10,000 year history in Finnmark, with a zero carbon footprint."

This British-led expedition brings together a writer, social anthropologists and scientists from the UK and abroad.

The expedition is expected to provide some of the most compelling evidence to date of the effect that global warming is having on the Sámi people, said to be "among the world's first victims of climate change".