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Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes pays tribute to Mearns polar explorer

Luke Robertson
Luke Robertson

A 30-year-old adventurer has become the youngest Briton to complete a 730-mile trek across the Antarctic alone.

Luke Robertson, from Stonehaven, reached the South Pole at around 2.30am yesterday after 39 days skiing unassisted in “unforgiving” conditions.

He lugged 130kg of equipment while battling temperatures of -50C to raise more than £48,000 for Marie Curie.

And yesterday, legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes was among those to congratulate Mr Robertson for his achievement.

Mr Robertson is now the first Scot and youngest ever Brit to achieve the feat – which included braving deadly snow ridges and climbing twice the height of Ben Nevis.

The adventurer was compelled to take on the epic trek comes after overcoming a health scare which saw him go under the knife for brain surgery in 2014.

It was originally thought he had a brain tumour, but it turned out to be a extremely large and rare cyst.

Mr Robertson also has a pacemaker – fitted following heart problems in his early 20s – but was undeterred in his challenge.

Speaking from the South Pole after completing the journey, he said he is looking forward to a shower and a nip of whisky more than anything else.

Mr Robertson, who now lives in Edinburgh, added: “What an unbelievable and surreal feeling. I feel on top of the bottom of the world. All those months of training and preparation have really paid off, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people who have helped to make this expedition a success.

“In particular, my fiancee Hazel, my parents, family, friends and colleagues for their unwavering support.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Marie Curie. I hope this shows that you really can overcome challenges to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.

“It’s amazing to repay the faith put in me by all my supporters.

“Now, I think it’s time for a big feed, a wee dram and a shower.”

Sir Ranulph said: “I am delighted that Luke has reached the South Pole and becomes the youngest Brit ever to do so, unaided.

“It is an incredible achievement and I hope that his adventure inspires others to achieve their own goals in life and to raise funds for Marie Curie – a charity also close to my heart.”

Due to the success of his fundraising, he has now set his sights on a £100,000 goal.

Dr Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie said: “We’d like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to Luke Robertson.

“His record-breaking solo adventure to the South Pole for Marie Curie shows that through sheer determination anything is possible.

“We are immensely grateful to everyone who has got behind Luke as he completed his challenge of a lifetime for people living with a terminal illness.”

Last year, British schoolboy Lewis Clarke, 16, became the youngest person to trek to the South Pole, accompanied by a guide, Carl Alvey.

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