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You are in: Somerset » Closer to you
THIS STORY PUBLISHED:
19 February 2004 1638 GMT
Record-breaking polar explorer
Simon Murray (image courtesy: Martin Hartley)
Simon Murray is the oldest man to have walked unaided to the South Pole (image courtesy: Martin Hartley)

A 63-year-old man is safely back in Somerset after becoming the oldest man to walk unaided to the South Pole.

Simon Murray has been talking to us about his 680-mile trek across Antarctica.

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That other great Somerset-based explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was a decade younger when he made his successful crossing of Antarctica via the Pole in 1993.

Simon Murray told presenter Simon White that he never thought he would appreciate England in the middle of February.

He said: "It's not exactly my idea of a winter holiday but there was a strong sense of achievement arriving there."

The businessman from near Frome had to face temperatures of -35°C, which felt as cold as
-70°C in the biting polar winds.

The 680-mile trek took the pair from Hercules Inlet on the continental edge of Antarctica to the South Geographic Pole.

Simon Murray and Pen Haddow (image courtesy: Martin Hartley)
Simon Murray joined Pen Haddow to make the expedition (image courtesy: Martin Hartley)

Mr Murray says he and Pen Haddow each had to pull a sledge weighing about 150 kilos (nearly 300 lbs).

He said: "We pulled that uphill for eight hours every day. We had a broken sledge, which made it very tough.

"I lost my skis in a whiteout. I thought they were strapped to my sledge, but they weren't.

"It made it very tough. For the last 200 miles, we were in soft snow, which was nearly a foot deep.

"Slogging along in snow that deep without skis is like climbing deep, soft sand dunes. It was very tough, but we were very well prepared."

>>> Listen to the interview

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