Northumberland polar explorer embarks on royal challenge

After a delayed start, caused by blizzards that left the teams snowed in at base camp, Conrad Dickinson, from Hexham, left yesterday afternoon

Explorer Conrad Dickinson
Explorer Conrad Dickinson

A Northumberland explorer trekking to the south pole with Prince Harry to raise money for wounded soldiers has set off on what he expects to be his toughest challenge yet.

After a delayed start, caused by blizzards that left the teams snowed in at base camp, Conrad Dickinson, from Hexham, left yesterday afternoon on the first day of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge in temperatures of -35C.

And early reports said the Prince and Team Glenfiddich were leading the way.

Victoria Nicholson, expedition manager, said: “Team Glenfiddich were first out of the starting blocks with Prince Harry leading.

“We don’t know if it is going to be like this all the way to the Pole but the teams are all happy and raring to go. ”

The teams were said to be a little anxious, but in good spirits especially after learning that as much as £52,000 has already been raised for Walking With The Wounded before the race even began.

Mr Dickinson, an experienced polar explorer, is the guide to the British team of injured servicemen and women, who will be making the journey across the miles of frozen wasteland alongside Prince Harry.

The team includes three leg amputees and one arm amputee and will see them race against competitors from the United States and the Commonwealth, in a bid to raise £2m for the charity Walking With The Wounded.

When asked about how he was feeling about the task that lay ahead, Expedition Patron, Prince Harry said: “The military backgrounds that we have all got should carry us over, without a doubt.”

Before setting off Mr Dickinson, 58, also managing director of carpet company Karpet Mills, said: “We are the underdogs. Our team is made up of three leg amputees and one arm amputee and they have just four legs between them.” You can follow their journey on twitter @supportthewalk

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