11.22pm (GMT 11th Jan) 8.22pm Local time

Another long day today, we have done 11.3 statute miles in 4 sessions today. We set off at 9.20 this morning and finished just before 5pm. It has been a bitterly cold day but calm in the morning with no wind at all, but the wind got up at the end of the day.

The breaks – we had 3 today – are very cold and unpleasant and instead of looking forward to a break after 1¾ to 2 hours of hauling I dread them, they never last more than 10 minutes and the first thing you have to do is put on another layer the moment you stop, then have a drink to rehydrate, eat something and by then you’re chilled to the bone and the only thing to do is to get moving again as fast as you can. Although it’s -25°C, we are completely covered and the temperature is actually OK while you are moving but the moment you stop it is not.

My shadow, as I mentioned yesterday, has again been my trusted companion today, I have decided to name him. I’m going to call him Wilson after that lovely Tom Hanks film when he was shipwrecked on a desert island and the only companion he had was a basketball. So Wilson and I have had a good day, he’s been navigating and it really is incredible, I could get to the South Pole by positioning him as I explained yesterday without a compass at all.

He has also had another use and that is, towards the day, his skiing gets more sloppy, he stoops more and occasionally he loses his balance and I know at that point we are running out of steam and it’s time to stop. The last hour is the hardest and I can tell you each day the last hour is very, very hard indeed. When we stop at the end of the day we now have a good routine, me in first as I said yesterday. I crawl in on all fours, you have to because the tent is only 3 feet high but even if it was standing head room, I’d still crawl in on all fours, quite exhausted. This evening there is no sun and the tent is very cold inside and I had great difficulty getting warm. Sleep doesn’t come easily because the tent is rattling because the wind is up and I never sleep more than 2 to 3 hours at a time, but for some 14 hours a day I am lying down in the tent because you can’t do anything else, so rest makes up for not necessarily good sleeping.

Life inside this tent is not easy. We are both 6 foot tall. If you can imagine living in an area about the size of a medium sized kitchen table and we have to live under it! Everything that goes on in here, cooking, putting beds out, changing, getting dressed, all occurs in this tiny space. Also bear in mind that Seth and I had never met each other until my arrival in Antarctica just a week ago. The point is you have to make it work and we do. The last 3 days have been very, very hard and I am digging deep. This is the hardest physical thing that I have ever done, but each morning is a new day and overnight recovery helps. So I hope the weather is going to be reasonable tomorrow, we are making great progress and to get another couple of days under our belt will be good.

7 responses to "Polar Plateau – Day 7 – 11th January 2012"

  1. Paul & Emma

    It sounds incredible, fair do’s to you!!

    10:18 am - 12/01/2012

  2. Glenn

    Strength is Happiness. Strength is itself victory. In weakness and cowardice there is no happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory. Keep going will!

    10:52 am - 12/01/2012

  3. Helen

    What kept me going this morning on my marathon training run was knowing that whatever difficulties I was experiencing were nothing compared to the mental and physical challenges you’re having to cope with. Well done!

    12:12 pm - 12/01/2012

  4. Nicola Ingledew

    Utterly in awe and inspired by you William ! Already you will have helped so many teenagers and their families to push through their own battles. Keep on going – the sense of achievement at the end of this will be something that you will cherish forever.

    Nicola Ingledew

    12:32 pm - 12/01/2012

  5. Dennis Goldsmith

    I hesitate to tell you, but we are experiencing spring like weather at the moment, so I can’t imagine what it must be like down there.
    Well done keep going, you’re doing a terrific job.

    Lots of love Den and Jo

    2:41 pm - 12/01/2012

  6. Dave Staz

    Great stuff William/Wilson. Keep going. Watch out for the Norwegians!

    8:25 pm - 12/01/2012

  7. Fiona

    You are amazing William, and always an inspiration to us mere mortals. I can’t even imagine the stamina, strength and resolve needed to even do 1 mile in those conditions. Thinking of you and Wilson, so well done.

    5:34 am - 13/01/2012

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