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What it feels like to: reach the South Pole

Ever since I was young I have had a taste for outdoor activities. The biggest trip you can do is to the South Pole and I was 12 when I made a conscious decision to go.

My primary school teacher had given me a book, which I still have, about Captain Scott. It's called The Worst Journey In The World. You know it's a tragic story as they don't make it back alive, but even then I knew that one day I'd love to step on the same ice as those guys and see the things they saw.

I got into hillwalking and climbing, then I was in the military for five years and saw a lot of the world. I then worked with Customs and Excise for a few years and ended up doing fraud and investigation work. I now head the VAT department at accountants French Duncan.

I was 33 when I decided to go for the South Pole, and spent a couple of years getting up to proper fitness, and fundraising. It was a huge commitment but my family and colleagues were 100% behind me.

I'd chosen Fiona Taylor to do the journey with me. We set off from Hercules Inlet in Antarctica but sadly Fiona got into trouble by the end of the first day.

The first night inside the tent it was -51C. By day four she had started to develop frostbite. I got her back to the logistics base, where a doctor checked her out. She had to be evacuated, and that was a real blow.

But the next day I headed off, pulling a sledge behind me for the rest of the 730-mile journey. By hook or by crook, I got to the Pole.

After a while skiing on the ice, you simply turn into a machine – you just put your head down. The first half of the trip, you count the miles up. The second half, you count them down to the Pole. I didn't want it to stop: I could have kept on going through the continent. You actually get scared of coming back to civilisation. It sounds weird, but the thing that kept me awake those last few days was that I was to do a BBC interview, and I hadn't a clue what I was going to say. For two months, you rely on a good sledge, a good tent and a good stove; you don't do a lot of speaking.

I wouldn't change a second of that trip. There were a few injuries, but it was everything I hoped it would be, ever since dreaming about it as a 12-year-old. I'd planned it carefully, so I didn't worry when suddenly faced with a 200-mile-wide crevasse field. One night I set up my tent while truly exhausted and realised I was over a crevasse. Normally, you would move, but I thought, to hell with it: if it was going to move, it would have moved by now.

Some people think it must have been an anti-climax at the end, but nothing is further from the truth. It was such a magical experience. Not a day passes without my thinking about it. I still have all my kit, and the detailed diaries I kept. I've since done the North Pole, but the South Pole is really, really demanding.

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