Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry's Mark Wood makes 'good progress' on polar ski challenge

An adventurer from the West Midlands has said he is on schedule to become the first person to ski alone at both of the earth's Poles consecutively.

Coventry's Mark Wood, 45, is 33 days into the 115-day challenge to raise awareness of climate change, having started in Antarctica in November.

Mr Wood, who celebrated his birthday this month, was about 250 miles (400km) from the South Pole earlier.

Once he reaches it, he will be picked up and flown to the Arctic.

Before he flew to Antarctica on 16 November, Mr Wood predicted it would take 50 days to cover the full 680 miles (1,094km) to the South Pole.

He expected to spend a further 65 days travelling solo across approximately 700 miles of ice to the North Pole.

'Bare flesh'

Speaking from Antarctica, he said: "It took about 10 days to really get into the expedition because it's quite a harsh environment to work in, but I seem to be making good progress.

"I think around 10 January I'll be hitting the South Pole.

"On this planet it's hard to find complete isolation and it's a balance between embracing it and suffering through it as well.

Image caption Mr Wood says he has already lost the excess weight he put on before the expedition

"My feet have fallen apart. My skin on my right foot completely came off 10 days ago and I was walking 15 miles on bare flesh.

"But it's incredible how the body heals so quickly when you're in this environment.

"I took an iPod with me and lost it on the second day and I haven't got a book so I am completely detached from the outside world."

After he completes the challenge, Mr Wood will be collected by a Russian helicopter and flown straight to an environmental conference to discuss climate change action with international companies.

For the expedition he is using The DoNation online sponsorship platform for backing, not in cash but action.

He said: "Anyone can pledge a carbon-saving action, ranging from eating less meat to installing solar panels."

He has set a target to save 100,000kg of carbon dioxide through pledges.

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