Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh woman becomes youngest to reach South Pole solo

Mollie Hughes Image copyright Hamish Frost
Image caption Mollie Hughes is now recuperating at a camp at the South Pole before flying on to Punta Arenas in southern Chile.

An Edinburgh adventurer has become the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole.

Mollie Hughes, 29, skied for 58.5 days pulling all her food in a sledge during her lone trek across Antarctica.

She confirmed she had reached the geographic South Pole on Friday in a post on Twitter.

During the trip, Ms Hughes, who is originally from Devon, hauled 105kg on the 702-mile journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

She arrived at the South Pole at 11:50 UK time (08:50 Chilean time) on Friday.

She started her expedition on 13 November from Hercules Inlet in Western Antarctica.

Having initially hoped to reach the South Pole by New Year's Day, she was almost derailed by severe weather in the first two weeks.

She faced headwinds of more than 55knots, temperatures of -45C and a whiteout for eight days in a row.

'Challenging conditions'

Ms Hughes described her experience as "exceptionally tough", especially during the windy, whiteout conditions at the beginning of her journey.

"That really tested my resilience, especially as I was all alone, but I managed to get through it and carry on," she said.

"I feel really fortunate not to have experienced any major disasters knowing what can happen in these challenging conditions.

"Christmas Day away from my girlfriend and family was hard too, as was my Spotify needing rebooted after 30 days which obviously wasn't possible. Now I'm looking forward to my first shower and proper food in almost two months, before I head home to see everyone and share my story."

Image copyright Mike Wilkinson
Image caption Mollie Hughes training for her South Pole expedition

Ms Hughes consumed about 4,500kcal per day, twice the average daily amount for a woman, but still lost 15kg.

She takes the world record from previous holder, Vilborg Gissuradottir from Iceland, who completed the challenge in 2013 when she was 32.

Ms Hughes is now recuperating at a camp at the South Pole before flying on to Punta Arenas in southern Chile.

After a few days rest there, she is expected to arrive back into Edinburgh on 22 January.

She is already a record breaker as the youngest female to successfully climb both the north and south sides of Everest at age 26.

Only six other women and 17 men have successfully completed the trip she is planning without making any stops to resupply.

Image copyright Luke Robertson
Image caption Mollie Hughes was on her own for 58.5 days in Antarctica

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