Windsor man's 700km South Pole trek

Windsor man's 700km South Pole trek

Francis Batt

Windsor man's 700km South Pole trek

Adventurous Matt Elliott is safely home after a month in the South Pole enduring temperatures of minus 45 degrees and winds travelling at 80 kilometres an hour.

Matt, 30, of Oxford Road, Windsor, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the epic race to the South Pole between Norwegian explorer Amundsen and Britain's 'Scott of the Antarctic', by doing the trek himself.

He was one of a select few chosen by the organisation Extreme World Races to compete in the charity fundraising 700km race.

He, and his fellow team member Dutch mum-of-three 'Yoyo' Scherpes, travelled on special cross country skis, pulling a sledge weighing 50kgs, sleeping in a specially designed tent and living on nuts, chocolate and rehydrated food.

Matt's solar charge broke so he could not listen to his favourite songs as he walked. But he said: "When I managed to switch off and drift away in my own thoughts the time flew by. The scenery was simply awesome, although the same every day. Antarctica is the world's highest and driest desert.

"The conditions could change from sublime sunshine to a horrendous whiteout in minutes. One thing I can be sure of is that I do not want to be in minus 45 degrees again as the cold is physically painful."

Matt and 'Yoyo' made up one of six teams undertaking the challenge. Matt had to 'audition' for Extreme World Races by dragging a tyre round the Cotswolds for a weekend. He became a familiar site in Windsor Great Park every weekend last year dragging his 'spare tyre' (pictured left).

He and 'Yoyo' reached the pole on January 24 but then had to endure eight days stuck in their tent until the weather cleared enough for a plane to land and 'rescue' them. Matt lost nine kilogrammes in weight.

He and 'Yoyo' raised £15,000 for the Royal British Legion and Alzheimer's Society. The race was filmed and will be shown on television.

Matt celebrated his 30th birthday during the trip. He and 'Yoyo' did not win the race though - the  Norwegian team did it again, 100 years after Amundsen beat Scott.

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