Daniels Ann (United Kingdom)

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Daniels Ann

Daniels Ann

© Daniels Ann

Ann Daniels is one ofthe worlds leading polar explorers and believes in the power of dreamsand what can be achieved with belief and perseverance. She alsobelieves that with courage, tenacity and encouragement anyone canachieve the extraordinary.

She has broken through the boundaries ofwhat is expected of women and mothers in particular, and entered theechelons of history making polar explorers, in her own right.

Ann's expeditions to the North andSouth Poles have given her the opportunity to follow her own dreams andtest herself physically and mentally to the utmost. It is a credit toher teamwork and leadership skills that she was not only part of thefirst all women's expeditions to walk to both poles but also became thefirst British female North Pole guide, leading and guiding a team ofeight multinational men successfully the last degree to the North Polein 2001.

Among the numerous awards and honours bestowed upon Ann, she has received aPride of Britain award, given the Freedom of Yeovil Town, received anhonorary degree Doctor of Laws and entered the Guinness Book of Records.

Ann is passionate about theenvironment we live in. In the Arctic she has witnessed the ice gettingthinner, the pressure ridges becoming smaller and the areas of openwater growing in number and size. It has been predicted that by theyear 2050 the Arctic Ocean could be ice free during the summer months,which would have a huge impact on native wildlife such as the PolarBear and the Arctic seal. Ann uses her expeditions to highlight theoutstanding beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic and the precarioussituation both regions now find themselves in.


Ann was born in Bradford in 1964, the youngest of five children and theonly girl. She spent her childhood surrounded by older brothers withwhom she shared a close relationship. Her earliest memories are ofalways climbing the highest trees, jumping across the widest rivers andbeing first to accept any childhood dare so that she would be allowedto play with them and not be left behind, a mere girl.

Sheattended St Mary's School in Menston before beginning a career with NatWest Bank. Marrying young at the age of 21, she hoped to have her firstchild at the age of 23. This was not to be and after six years offertility treatment, which included three major gynaecologicaloperations, medication and a lot of heartache she finally had herprecious triplets Lucy, Joseph and Rachel, on 23 March 1994, one of themost joyous moments in Ann's life.

She left thebank and became a full time mum until quite by chance she was told thatThe Polar Travel Company were asking for ordinary women to apply forselection to become part of the first all female team to walk to theNorth Pole. Ann was no stranger to the challenges life has to offer andafter intensive training was chosen to take part in the McVitiesPenguin Polar Relay. It is here that she fell in love with the icywilderness of the Arctic, of living in such raw conditions and testingherself to the limits of human endurance. It was here that she beganher career as a polar explorer.

After thebreak up of her marriage in 1997 she spent a short spell working forthe M.o.D and in the year 2000 she and four other women organised andtook part in the M&G I.S.A. Challenge, the first British allwomen's expedition to walk to the South Pole. Not content with this sheput together the M&G North Pole 2002 expedition, the first allwomen's team to reach the North and South Pole on foot.

ToAnn's surprise and delight shortly after this successful expedition shebecame pregnant and on 23 April 2003 gave birth to baby Sarah with herpartner Tom O'Connor.

In 2005 she attempted to become the firstwoman to solo to the North Pole. 21 days into the expedition Ann wasunexpectedly removed from the ice, along with two other expeditions,when authorisations allowing her Air Logistics Company to fly inRussian territory were removed by the Russian authorities.
Despite this disappointing outcome, Ann is determined to return to the Arctic and complete the world record from Canada.

She now lives in Devon with her partner and four children, where she gives talks and is preparing for her next adventure.

List of major accomplishments

  • 2010 : Still working for Pen Hadow, Ann has been involved in part 2 of the Catlin Arctic Survey. This time, the aim of the expedition was not to measure the thickness of the sea-ice, but to focus maximum attention on the other major problem of the moment (apart from global warming): the effects of carbon dioxide on the waters of the Arctic Ocean. In other words, more generally, on the problem of the widespread acidification of the oceans. Ann set out accompanied by Martin Hartley and Chris Paton on an attempt to reach the North Pole while carrying out daily scientific readings and measurements along the way. The trio was dropped off on the ice on 15th March and succeeded in reaching the Pole on 12th May after 60 days on the ice. They covered approximately 770 kilometres across the pack-ice and completed all of their work to take readings of seawater samples.
  • 2009 : Along with Pen Hadow (expedition leader) and Martin Hartley (photographer), Ann took part in part 1 of a scientific expedition named after its sponsor 'Catlin Arctic Survey'. Scheduled initially for 2008, the three explorers were finally dropped off on 28th February 2009 at their departure point of 81° 05' N / 135° W, approximately 900 km from the North Pole. Along the way, they carried out an impressive series of a scientific readings plus, in particular, they took measurements of the thickness of the sea-ice, which they calculated using a radar device built specially for the expedition. But when they were 490 km from their goal, after 73 days spent out on the ice and after covering 434 km, they were forced to abandon their trek. The reason was the extensive and unexpected melting of the Arctic pack-ice.
  • March 2005 : Ann was on target to become the first woman in the world toski solo to the pole from the Russian pack ice. Despite cripplingly lowtemperatures, encounters with five polar bears, one storm and verydifficult ice conditions Ann battled through alone and completed over124 nautical miles of the journey. Because of a dispute between her airlogistics company and a competitor, the Russian authorities removedpermission to fly over Russian waters and all expeditions on the icewere removed without notice, including Ann's. Although over eighteenmonths hard work and preparation had gone into this expedition Annrefuses to see it as wasted and is now more determined than ever thatthe world record will be hers and is planning to return for anotherattempt, leaving from Canada.
  • ARCTIC 1st All Women's Team to ski to North and South Pole.
  • 2001-2002 : Ann put together and was the driving force behind the M&G North Pole expedition. Temperatures as low as -50 for the first26 days severely hampered the expeditions progress and success lookeddoubtful. The team were hit by storms so severe that they were unableto put their tent up and huddled under tent material for 3 days, withlittle food or water. They suffered from severe frostbite, backproblems and carbon monoxide poisoning from contaminated fuel. After 47hazard filled days Pom Oliver left the expedition as a result offrostbite and wet gangrene, leaving Ann and Caroline over 300 miles tocover in 30 days. Although the pole looked impossible neither werewilling to give up and skied for over 15 hours each day, with littlesleep in between. There were many dramatic events along the journey,both fell into the ocean and had to swim across open expanses of waterbut their determination to succeed prevailed and on 1st June 2002 theystepped onto the pole. Against all odds they had become the first allwomen's team in the world to ski to both poles.
  • 1998-2000 : Without the aid of professional guides Annand four other women planned, trained and put together an expedition to the South Pole. This included raising corporate sponsorship, choosing,testing and modifying all their equipment, deciding which route to takeand publicising the event. Pulling sledges weighing over 140lbs andnavigating by the sun they then travelled 700 miles across Antarctica,the most inhospitable continent in the world and in January 2000 becamethe first all British women's team to reach the South Pole on foot.
  • 1995-1997 : Arctic North Pole Relay. Ann started her Polar career as part of the McVitiesPenguin Polar Relay team where 5 teams of 4 women, together with twoguides skied in relay format across the Arctic Ocean to reach the NorthPole in May 1997. Although the team was made up of total novices thisinnovative approach to Polar travel ensured the success of theexpedition.
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