Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the explorer Pen Hadow.

Pen Hadow made polar history in 2003 by becoming the first man to walk solo and unsupported the 478 miles from the northern coast of Canada to the North Pole. It was the culmination of a death-bed pledge. He had made a commitment immediately after his father's death that he would prove the family name by succeeding in the challenge - described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as the "greatest endurance feat left on earth". He made two unsuccessful attempts at the ordeal before succeeding in May last year.

He turned to exploring in his late 20s, but had already shown himself to be a daredevil foolhardy, determined and physically strong. At prep school he learnt the importance of training and practice to develop greater athleticism and, at Harrow, he successfully ran 'The Long Ducker' - a marathon from Harrow, taking in Marble Arch and Little Venice - that hadn't been attempted for 50 years. After university, he spent four years working at the sports agency IMG and ended up by chance on a 70-day trek photographing polar bears, and the thought struck him that, with organisation, training and determination, in the same length of time he could trek to the North Pole.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Piano Concerto No 2 in B Flat Major by Johannes Brahms
Book: The Oxford Book of English Verse by Chirstopher Ricks
Luxury: A six inch nail

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 21 May 2004 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestPen Hadow

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