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Hercules-SP go and back

Hercules-SP go and back

© International Polar Foundation

A career soldier in Her Majesty's army, Mark Langridge is attempting the trek between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole, and then back again. He will be dropping off his own supplies for the return trip on the outward leg of the journey.

Being a naughty schoolboy can sometimes result in nice surprises. At least, that's what happened to Mark Langridge when he was ten or eleven years old. As the result of some dreadful schoolboy transgression, he was ordered out of class and sent to carry out his punishment in one of the school's dark and dingy corridors. While he was there, he came across a collection of old books that the teachers had earmarked for giving away or failing that, to be burnt or destroyed. One of these ancient tomes was a book by the explorer Scott explaining to children (it was a children's book) about the adventure that was to become his tragic and final assault on the South Pole. "In less than fifteen minutes, I was totally spellbound by this great adventure," explains Mark. "And from that moment on, I knew that one day I would get to the South Pole, by hook or by crook..."

30 years have passed since that interesting little episode, 22 of which were devoted to carving out a distinguished military career. In 1986, he joined the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, where he served for over ten years. During this period, he had the opportunity to go on exercises conducted by the United Nations in the rugged mountains of Norway. It was there that he learnt to enjoy the cold, harsh living conditions required by his day-to-day military manoeuvres. The idea of going to the South Pole never left his head for a single day.

To accomplish his dream, Mark will be attempting the route between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole, alone and without any outside assistance. His plan is to drop off his own supplies of rations and fuel for his return journey at three locations as he makes his way to the Pole. These drops will be made on days 10, 20 and 30 of his trek, or 175, 350 and 525 miles from his starting point.

The total distance he will cover on his return trip is approximately 1400 kilometres.

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