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"Arctic expeditions such as the one achieved by Vic and his colleagues used the sea ice. These may not be possible in the future and they could be amongst the last expeditions to visit this amazing region."
Stephan Harris, Climate Scientist,
University of Exeter

The race to the Geographic South Pole

"As a soldier, I might feel invincible in a ‘bubble’, but alone or in a small team of three, walking 76 days on ice, you feel very far from this."

In 2011, 100 years after the original Scott/Amundsen race, Paul set off with two other teammates forming 'Team Scott'. They were to make their way on foot to the GSP (Geographic South Pole) in a race to beat 'Team Amundsen', re-enacting the same route and manhandling their loads all the way. This had never been done before!  

Setting off from 'the best campsite in the world', (Scott's hut), 100 years ago to the day that Scott and his men had set off on their tragic journey, the actual realisation of the huge epic expedition hit Paul and his teammates in the face.


Extreme is an understatement. Having to negotiate large crevasses, temperatures of -40 degrees, harsh winds, and fierce blizzards the team kept a clear focus on their end goal and pushed onwards. Four days stranded on a glacier over Christmas, coupled with managing on half rations, their mental resilience was tested. With three or four weeks left, the team began to wonder whether they would reach the Geographic South Pole in time.

Eventually, they arrived at the GSP with 25 minutes to spare, arriving on the same day as Captain Scott had done 100 years before them. Not surprisingly, the 17th of January still has a lot of significance for Paul and his teammates. 


Thanks to this expedition £250,000 were raised for The Royal British Legion to help in building their 'battle back' centres to help injured servicemen.

Beardmore Glacier
"A party of men go forth to face hardships, dangers and difficulties with their own unaided efforts, and by days and weeks of hard physical labour succeed in solving some problem of the great unknown. Surely in this case the conquest is more nobly and splendidly won."

Captain Robert Falcon Scott, South Pole Expedition

Going North seemed like the obvious option...

"This is 5 years from when I last set off down South in what was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life – and now I set off again. Why? Good question."

The 17th of January is an important date for the polar world: Captain Scott’s Day.

On the 17th January 2015, Paul stood outside with those he had trekked with to the GSP. Following tradition they were smoking pipes, having a drink of Chilean red wine, and reflecting on their times on the ice. It was then that Paul asked for volunteers to come along with him to the Geographic North Pole. 

After discussing his ideas with fellow adventurer Mark Wood, meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the South Pole charity event, and undertaking numerous fundraising events, the North Pole expedition was born!   


The mission?


Paul's mission was to be inserted on the Arctic Ocean, to conduct a Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) and report back with his findings. This he would do in his book and in some of his future talks. He would also document the devastating effects of global warming on the North Pole region. In addition, any funds raised from the expedition would go to Hire a Hero, a charity based in Wales that helps soldiers transition from the military into the workplace.

On 23 March 2016, five years after the Geographic South Pole challenge, Paul and the team set off from the UK with 28 bags of kit. The Geographic North Pole expedition, (Plan D) had begun. Many of the dangers the team faced only confirmed the effects of climate change on such a beautiful yet harsh environment. They encountered miles of thin ice, steam coming off the ice as the sun melted it, huge cracks in what should have been a frozen ocean, and stretches of open water.

The effects of climate change were all around and the crisis hit home for Paul and the team. As they were flown back to Barneo Ice Station, what they saw below was like a battlefield. What was supposed to be the ice-locked North Pole now resembled the devastation and destruction left behind after a military encounter.  


Paul reaching the  Geographic North Pole

"Overall, an amazing expedition achieving, albeit reduced, our mission in documenting the Arctic Ocean, which is messed up! We may be the last of a few to ever have achieved walking to the North Pole – we’ll see…"

Everest Base Camp - Marking History and Making History

"Trekking to Base Camp was easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Only when sat on that helicopter en route back to Kathmandu, could I appreciate how proud I was, not just of myself but of the whole team for making it there and back in one piece." 

On 29th September 2017, Paul set off to lead a group of 30 women to EBC. The women, all military wives or partners, were the ones who would now face the challenges that an expedition of this kind would bring; being away from home and family, the effects of physical and mental exhaustion, doubting one's own ability and needing to work positively as a team. As Expedition Organiser and Leader, Paul worked with the rest of his team to motivate the ladies to reach their goal.

Every expedition should have a mission. This time it was to raise money to support two charities: CAN (Community Action Nepal) and FAB (Family Activity Breaks).

This expedition raised £60k for each charity. It was decided with engagement with CAN that the £60k raised would support a project to construct buildings for the people living in the Langtang region of Nepal; a place that was directly affected by the earthquake in 2015.  These buildings would be specially strengthened to hopefully withstand the effects of another earthquake ever hitting the region again. 

The climb to EBC was a grueling one. The ten-day trek to Everest Base Camp meant coping with changes in altitude and pushing themselves to physical and mental limits. It was also an expedition with special significance. It was the largest group of ladies to ever have reached Base Camp and part of their celebration was to lay a giant poppy to mark the centenary of Passchendaele. 

Marking the centenary of Passchendaele
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