A FORMER SAS soldier from Herefordshire has just reached the South Pole after skiing more than 400 miles in 50 days.

Record-breaking polar adventurer Louis Rudd, a former Royal Marine Commando and SAS soldier with 34 years service, successfully made it to the South Pole on Wednesday evening.

Making the incredible journey with Cpt Rudd is former Captain in the Parachute Regiment Martin Hewitt, who lost the use of his right arm after being shot while serving in Afghanistan.

But the journey isn't over yet, with the pair now getting ready to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica, a mountain more than 16,000ft high.


Having set off from Hercules Inlet with the aim of covering 621 miles unsupported and unassisted, the pair were forced to diverge from their original plan when Martin suffered a debilitating Achilles tendon injury.

Despite the short break for medical attention at Union Glacier, the pair have skied more than 400 miles in the last 50 days to reach their destination.

Completion of the Last Degree – the 60 nautical miles which mark the last latitude of distance to the South Pole from 89 degrees South – also means Cpt Hewitt's dream of becoming the first person with a disability to complete the Explorers Grand Slam remains very much alive.


The challenge will see him reach the North and South Poles and climb seven mountains.

The pair timed their arrival at the South Pole with the centenary of the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Ernest Shackletons Christmas camp on the Antarctic Plateau. Picture: Scott Polar Research Institute/University of Cambridge/PA Wire

Ernest Shackleton's Christmas camp on the Antarctic Plateau. Picture: Scott Polar Research Institute/University of Cambridge/PA Wire

As well as his own expeditions, and acting as a consultant for other people's missions, Cpt Rudd is Director of Expeditions for Shackleton London, a clothing brand inspired by the late explorer.

Sir Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, with the journey marking 100 years since his death.

The pair will now rest for a few days before taking on the second part of what is called the Adaptive Antarctica challenge, an ascent of Mount Vinson.


Cpt Rudd, who, in 2018, became the first Briton to ski solo across Antarctica, paid tribute to his expedition partner on the eve of their achievement: "What this guy has done has been absolutely outstanding.

"By the time we get into Pole, he’ll have skied over 400 miles with one arm. I’ll just let that sink in.

"Over 400 miles in the most inhospitable environment on the planet, across some really challenging terrain, in sub-zero temperatures, with one arm.

"To have done that, and covered over six degrees, is absolutely outstanding. It’s been a privilege and an honour to do this expedition with him.

"I certainly couldn’t have asked for a better expedition partner."