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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Schoolboy (16) breaks South Pole trek record

Catherine Wylie, Press Association

Published 18/01/2014 | 21:19

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A British schoolboy has become the youngest person to trek to the South Pole.

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Lewis Clarke, 16, arrived at 6pm (GMT) this evening after completing the gruelling 700-mile journey from the Antarctic coast.

After an early start and temperatures of minus 50C - as well as windchill - it took a few hours longer than expected to reach his end goal.

Lewis celebrated his achievement by eating his first real meal in nearly seven weeks - spaghetti bolognaise with fresh parmesan - and he is now sitting in the warmth of a cosy tent.

On his momentous arrival, he said: "I'm really happy but mostly relieved that for the first time in 48 days I don't have to get up tomorrow and drag my sled for nine hours in the snow and icy wind.

"Today was really hard, the closer I got to the Pole the slower I went, my legs had had enough.

"But now I'm here and I've had some spaghetti bolognaise and I am sitting in a heated tent."

The Briton, accompanied by guide Carl Alvey, has skied an average of eight hours and 18 miles a day.

Lewis, from Bristol, set off on December 2 and has spent the past 48 days travelling on skis in temperatures as low as minus 50C and winds of up to 60mph.

He is two years younger than the current world record holder, Canadian Sarah McNair-Landry, who completed the trek in 2005.

Having completed the final 10 miles of the trek, Lewis and Mr Alvey were greeted by mentor and polar explorer Hannah McKeand who just so happened to be manning Adventure Network International's polar camp.

Lewis will stay overnight at the Pole and has been offered a tour of the Amundsen Scott Polar Research base tomorrow.

He will fly back to Union Glacier base camp tomorrow and will be back in the UK on January 24.

The young explorer said earlier this week: "My body has had enough. I am forcing it to go on."

Lewis, who is raising money for youth charity The Prince's Trust, pulled his own supplies, although he received three food drops.

Lewis' mother Sarah Johnson said: "I am so happy that Lewis has made it and incredibly proud of his grit and determination.

"I have been holding my breath worrying about him for the last 48 days, it's such a relief and a remarkable achievement."

Press Association

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