Brit' Couple's Flying Antarctic Record
Kites and skis? Never happened when I were a lad, but they've helped a British couple into the Antarctic record books with a rapid return from the South Pole...
British couple Conrad and Hilary Dickinson, from Hexham, yesterday
flew past the world-beating Sir Ranulph Fiennes and into the record
books with the longest ever unsupported trek across Antarctica. After
completing a 52-day, 690-mile, trek from Hercules Inlet to the South
Pole on December 23rd the couple picked up supplies and specially
designed kites for the return trip.
The kites - above - enabled the couple to do do the return leg in
an astounding 17 days, reaching speeds of up to 41 Kmph, and
completing a 70-day, 1380-mile, round trip that beats the 1993 record
set by Fiennes and Dr Mike Stroud. Dragging 300 lb sledges the couple
were able to cross snow bridges and crevasses unroped as the kites
made use of the notorious katabatic winds to return them to Hercules
Inlet in a third of the time of the outward journey.
The Dickinsons, who are not professional explorers, learned how to
use the kites on training trips in Canada, Greenland, Norway and
Northumberland. Highlights of the record breaking trip included
covering an amazing 120 miles in just 22 hours on Sunday, and a final
day of 46 miles.
As well as beating the distance record, which had stood for 11
years, they also became the first British married couple to reach the
South Pole unsupported, and Hilary became the oldest British woman to
make the trek successfully. On their return "Hilary is looking
forward to a glass of Chardonnay and me a pint of Ruddles in the Tap
and Spile in Hexham. A curry from the Diwan-i-am restaurant in our
home town would round off the 'dream' evening, "s aid Conrad via
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Freefall, if you want more info on Conrad and Hilary's trip check out
Posted: 12/01/2005 at 13:31