In December 2015 I took part in an expedition to walk the last degree to the South Pole, finishing off the part of the expedition that Ernest Shackleton and his team didn’t manage to finish 100 years previously.
We were a team of 15 people, in three tents, with a tent leader in each and two expedition leaders overall; Sir David Hempleman-Adams and Rune Gjeldnes. The rest of the team was comprised of some fairly experience, and some not so much, like me at the time.
We left to start the long trip to the South Pole on the 25th of November after months of training. Each team member trained in a slightly different way, I personally either dragged a tyre round the roads near me or went for a run. The tyre building the correct muscles for dragging the sledge over the ice in Antarctic, and the running building general fitness and endurance.
After spending nearly a week held up in Punta Arenas in Chile trying to get a flight out, we flew to the ANI base called Union Glacier camp.
We were also delayed at Union for a little over a week because again the weather in Antarctica meant that we couldn’t fly to our start point. We used the time in Union to go on some training walks to get used to dragging the heavy sledges over ice on our skis and how to keep our faces, hands and feet warm enough in the extreme cold. Union was only around -15 to -20, so it wasn’t as cold as where our expedition was, but the time learning how to act in the cold was extremely valuable, and I think was the main reason I didn’t get any frostbite. Out of our whole team, only me and one other person didn’t get frost bite at all.
When we eventually managed to fly to our start point, stepping off the plane into the -30 temperatures, with wind chill bringing it closer to -50 or -60, was like walking into a wall. The cold is so shocking it took all of us a few minutes to stop gasping with every breath.
The walk to the South Pole took us eight days. In that time we were all exhausted from the physical exertion, one person had to be airlifted out due to a cerebral edema caused by the altitude, one person collapsed during our last day just before we arrived from the cold and ended up with frost bite in his fingers and all of us lost a lot of weight from a mixture or the exertion and the cold. Reaching the South Pole to become the third youngest person ever to walk there was elating, but I loved every second of the expedition. Antarctic is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. And the polar plateau where we walked, is huge, flat and impossibly stunning. I am incredibly lucky to have been able to take part in that expedition, and am even luckier to have been invited on another one since.
I did the South Pole expedition, mainly, to raise money for the charity Red Balloon, and succeeded with the help of so many people, in raising £15,000. Which has since funded the rehabilitation of three children back into school and normal life.
I am now part of a North Pole expedition, where I am trying to raise more money. If you would like to be part of supporting me and these children in raising another £15,000 to help more children, any donations are massively appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
If you would like to read more about the expedition please follow this link to the expedition website