Explorer Ann to finish Shackleton adventure
EXPLORER Ann Daniels will head to Antarctica in 2020 to finish one of the greatest uncompleted expeditions.
The veteran adventurer, who lives in Devon, will use skills honed over 21 years in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth to help a team complete a trek across the frozen continent on the route planned by Ernest Shackleton.
He set out from Plymouth intending to lead the first coastto-coast traverse via the South Pole but the expedition had to be abandoned in 1915 when the team’s ship, Endurance, became trapped in the frozen sea, was crushed, and sank.
Shackleton and the rest of the team of 28 survived in what is regarded as one of the most remarkable escapes in the history of exploration, but his 1,800mile intended route across Antarctica remains unconquered.
From October next year, Ms Daniels, 55, will be part of the Shackleton 2020 expedition that plans to locate the original route beginning in Vahsel Bay and haul their sleds to McMurdo Sound via the South Pole in 100 days.
The team will be led by Alan Chambers, 50, from Bristol and is completed by Wayne Hoyle, 52, a former Special Forces officer and ex-Royal Marine Rupert Fyne, 52. The three men met at the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre in Lympstone in East Devon in 1985 and served together for many years in the Armed Forces.
Ms Daniels, of Whimple, near Exeter, was the first woman to walk to the North and South Pole in all-female teams, and is an environmental campaigner who has worked with the United States space agency, Nasa, and its European counterpart, the ESA.
She told the Western Morning News: “I am absolutely honoured to have been asked to join this team and to use my skills to help them make this journey possible.”
Ms Daniels, a former assistant bank manager who has triplets – two daughters and a son – in their 20s and a teenage daughter, became an explorer after seeing a newspaper advert looking for “normal” people to join a female team to walk to the North Pole in 1997.
She did not hesitate when asked four months ago by Mr Chambers, whom she has known since they met in Resolute Bay in Canada in 1997, to join Shackleton 2020.
“I did not think twice. I have been working since 1997 on sea ice and in Antarctica. I have the skills and the knowledge to be as safe as possible.”
Besides there are dangers in everyday life: her car was written off last month on the M1. “I was hit by an articulated lorry and while the car was being crushed I was thinking, ‘this could be it’.”
Mr Chambers is currently looking for sponsors for the expedition, which will use British equipment to showcase UK industry and innovation.
I did not think twice. I have the skills to be as safe as possible ANN DANIELS
> Ann Daniels, Polar explorer from Exeter, who is attempting to finish Shackleton’s abortive trek across Antarctica