Ex­plorer Ann to fin­ish Shack­le­ton ad­ven­ture

Western Morning News - - News - MARTIN FREE­MAN martin.free­[email protected]­plc.com

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

Martin Hart­ley

> Ann Daniels, Po­lar ex­plorer from Exeter, who is at­tempt­ing to fin­ish Shack­le­ton’s abortive trek across Antarc­tica

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