Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scots explorer Luke Robertson achieves South Pole first

Luke Robertson Image copyright Luke Robertson
Image caption Luke Robertson was given a message of support by the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Explorer Luke Robertson has become the first Scot to complete a solo, unassisted and unsupported trek to the South Pole.

Mr Robertson, who is 30 and was raising money for charity, has also become the youngest person from the UK to achieve the goal.

He reached the pole at about 02:30 after a 39-day journey.

He said: "What an unbelievable and surreal feeling. I feel on top of the bottom of the world."

Mr Robertson added: "All those months of training and preparation have really paid off, but I couldn't have done it without the support of so many people who have helped to make this expedition a success. In particular, my fiancée Hazel, my parents, family, friends and colleagues for their unwavering support.

"Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Marie Curie; they are an incredible charity, very close to my heart, and I feel so proud to be representing them on this expedition.

"I hope this shows that you really can overcome challenges to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. It's amazing to repay the faith put in me by all my supporters. Now, I think it's time for a big feed, a wee dram and a shower."

Image copyright Matthieu Tordeur
Image caption Luke trained in Greenland as he prepared for the South Pole

Mr Robertson was inspired to undertake the adventure, entitled Due South, after undergoing brain surgery to remove a suspected tumour.

He is originally from just outside Stonehaven and works in the finance industry in Edinburgh.

He started his journey on 5 December and was given the name Luke Snowwalker by a team tracking his progress, as he spent Christmas Day and New Year alone on Antarctica.

Unassisted and unsupported, he received no outside help such as a re-supply by air, and no support from animals or vehicles.

His only company on his trek was a fluffy penguin, given to him by his fiancée.

During his journey, he has received tweets of support from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, as well as adventurers Mark Beaumont and Levison Wood.

'Incredible achievement'

It is estimated Mr Robertson - who also has a pacemaker fitted - consumed about 6,500 calories each day, but burnt off about 10,000.

He dragged his equipment, which initially weighed 130kg (20 stone), across 730 miles of snow and ice and experienced temperatures of about -50C and winds of 100mph.

Every day, he consumed packets of freeze-dried food - ranging from Thai chicken to spaghetti carbonara - which he cooked on a stove.

He celebrated Christmas by changing his underwear for the first time in 21 days, and also spoke to BBC Breakfast News via a satellite phone.

Mr Robertson was congratulated on his achievement by the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Sir Ranulph said: "It is an incredible achievement and I hope that his adventure inspires others to achieve their own goals in life."

Initially, Mr Robertson had hoped to raise £25,000 for Marie Curie but has managed to raise more than £47,000 for the charity.

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