Explorer Conrad Dickinson prepares to lead polar trek with Prince Harry

Northumberland explorer Conrad Dickinson is preparing for his toughest challenge guiding injured servicemen and women in a race to the South Pole

Explorer Conrad Dickinson
Explorer Conrad Dickinson

His four man team will have just four legs between them, but a Northumberland explorer is all set for his toughest polar challenge yet.

Carpet shop owner and record breaking adventurer Conrad Dickinson is the guide to the British team of injured servicemen and women which will take part in a race to the South Pole alongside Prince Harry and organised by the charity Walking With The Wounded.

The challenge, also involving teams from the United States and the Commonwealth, will see three teams of wounded servicemen and women embarking on one of the most high profile expeditions of modern times in a bid to raise £2m.

And in the countdown to the trek later this month he brought his team to Tyneside for a last minute training session.

“We are the underdogs”, Conrad explains. “Our team is made up of three leg amputees and one arm amputee and they have just four legs between them - both the American and Commonwealth teams have all their legs.

“It is going to be a difficult challenge but they have been through such traumatic experiences already that they are already mentally very tough and a polar expedition is 70% psychological and 30% physical.

Explorer Conrad Dickinson at Speedflex Gym with Ibrar Ali preparing for their Walking with Wounded South Pole trip
Explorer Conrad Dickinson at Speedflex Gym with Ibrar Ali preparing for their Walking with Wounded South Pole trip

“There are different challenges to overcome, such as dealing with rubbing on stumps and as they have not got calf muscles they have to strengthen their thighs.

“Having Prince Harry join us is going to be a big boost to morale.”

He added: “This is the biggest expedition of this type this century, it’s simply a huge challenge. We are dealing with vast crevasses, moving ice shelves, glaciers, snow storms and arctic temperatures, but nothing will compare with what the team have already faced. I am immensely proud to be working with these guys, please support them.”

In final preparation for the expedition that will see the teams travel 15km to 20km a day for an estimated 15 days, Conrad brought his team to the region for a training session at the Speedflex Europe gym, based in Jesmond.

Introduced to the North East from America by Sage co-founder Graham Wylie, it is built around fitness machines initially pioneered to help brain trauma and stroke patients in their rehabilitation.

Conrad, 58, also managing director of carpet company Karpet Mills, is an ex army captain and expert in Arctic Warfare.

He has previously completed a record breaking trip to the South Pole with his wife Hilary and is the first and only Britain to have completed the Polar Grand Slam.


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