When Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team begin their trek across the Antarctic next March, they are looking at a six month trek across 3.823km of snow and ice in a bid to become the first people to make a winter traverse of the Antarctic. Then they face a further five months based at McMurdo Sound to await a ship home in February 2014 when ice conditions should allow ship access.


With an average daily temperature of -48 and possible lows of -90 deg Celsius and the possibility of moonlight just once every two weeks; it is no surprise that they have tested all their equipment in Sweden before they set sail recently.


They will need to transport food and fuel to last them a year and there first physical human contact will be when they reach the South Pole, 2223km into the journey, and the permanently manned Amundsen-Scott station.


Travelling in D6N Caterpillars, a type of tractor used in construction, towing three cabooses and with two team members on skis leading the way with crevasse detection radar equipment it will not be easy, and one mistake could see the team stranded with no hope of rescue. However, as it’s a British expedition there’s always a lighter side as Sir Ralph explained about the Caterpillars which are valued in the millions, “They’ll want them back again, they’ll only have done about three thousand miles. Back to a building site in Leicester I imagine”.


Let’s hope they pack enough warm socks and Marmite!!