South Pole success for Scots team Accountant-turned-adventurer
Craig Mathieson has spoken of his delight after the first Scottish
expedition to the South Pole ended in success.
The 35-year-old, from Bo'ness in West Lothian,
completed the 730-mile Antarctic expedition three days early.
He made most of the trek alone after his companion
Fiona Taylor, 35, was forced to pull out with frostbite.
"It feels absolutely fantastic. It truly
is a dream come true for me," Mr Mathieson told BBC Scotland.
" I first wanted to go to the South Pole
when I was 12. I'm 35 now, so it has taken a wee while, but it has
been worth it.
"It is absolutely excellent. I am still on
a major high."
Mr Mathieson was speaking from a tent at the South
Pole, which he reached late on Tuesday night after 58 days on the
Once I knew we were going to make it it felt absolutely
brilliant and all the pain disappeared - Craig Mathieson
He had to endure harsh weather conditions during
the expedition, with temperatures dropping as low as -53C at one
He and his accountant colleague were each pulling
a sleigh weighing 150lbs when they set out on 3 November from Hercules
However, Ms Taylor, from Dunfermline, was forced
to return to base only a few days into the journey.
"It was just one of those unlucky starts,
where Fiona got four of her fingers frostbitten and there was no
way she could continue.
"She had to leave at that point, but I decided
just to keep going," explained Mr Mathieson.
'Tiny black dot'
He said he never doubted that he would complete
"There were some points where my knee was
giving me a lot of jip and I thought it was going to be a bit harder," he
"But once I saw the South Pole station, as
just a tiny black dot, and I knew we were going to make it it felt
absolutely brilliant and all the pain disappeared."
The Scot 100 expedition has been recognised by
the Royal Scottish Geographical Society as the first by a dedicated
Ms Taylor was said to be recovering well and has
been working with the project team to raise money for its chosen
charities - Cancer Research UK Scotland, ChildLine Scotland, MS
Society Scotland and the Scottish Huntington's Association.
Mr Mathieson said he was just the "arrow
head" of a huge operation, with his wife Michele among those
helping to raise funds for charity.
Now that he has competed the challenge, he said
he was looking forward to getting home to his wife and three children.
He was also relishing the prospect of food, with
steak and potatoes top of his list.
Mrs Mathieson said she had been relieved when
her husband phoned to let her know that he had completed the trek.
"I'm really proud of him for what he has
done," she said.
"He was hugely relieved and glad to be there,
really pleased that after a very long journey he'd achieved what
he set out to do."
She said that in the final leg he was one of a
party of five, along with a guide and three others who were all
on their own expeditions.
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Published: 2004/12/29 17:33:14 GMT
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