Nearly 100 years to the day that Captain Robert Scott and his party of adventurers reached the South Pole on their ill-fated expedition, Welsh businessman and entrepreneur, William McNamara OBE, is to make an attempt on the Pole.
William, CEO of Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, will trek the final 100kms to the Pole (the last degree) unsupported in January next year and aims to raise £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the process.
On the 17th January 1912, Scott reached the South Pole only to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten him to it by 33 days, becoming the first person to reach the geographic Pole. A deflated Scott and his entire British Antarctic Expedition team died on their return trek, including Welshman Edgar Evans who was the first to perish.
“It’s going to be hard and there’s a lot of training and safety requirements to consider and undertake. Only 200 people have undertaken this route in the history of mankind. But this is something I’ve wanted to do for sometime. It’s a bit of a sabbatical for me – and a sponsored walk with a difference,” said William.
“After we opened Bluestone to guests three years ago, seeing the business reach record occupancy levels this year and become an established destination brand, I feel now is the time to do something I’ve always wanted to do.
“It’s even more poignant that it’ll be almost 100 years to the day of Scott’s arrival at the Pole that, hopefully, I’ll be reaching it. It makes the expedition even more challenging and gives me the drive and determination to complete the last 100kms – paying my respects not only to Scott, but the four members of his team who perished, including Welshman Edgar Evans.”
Scott’s ship, the Terra Nova, and expedition team left Cardiff Docks on the 15th June 1910 on their fateful journey. The ship’s Binnacle is currently on display at the Pierpoint in Cardiff Bay.
William is currently undertaking a gruelling pre-expedition training regime and has undergone intense checks and tests to ensure he can endure the extreme conditions, with temperatures varying between -20c and -40c in 24 hour daylight.
A dedicated website has been set up explaining his trek http://www.90degreessouth.co.uk/ and will map his progress. It also accepts sponsorship and donations.
He will be in a very small group of other adventurers on the expedition which will take approximately three weeks. The last 100kms of the trek will be undertaken unsupported, dragging a sledge and 80kgs of equipment with him.
He leaves for Antartica on New Year’s Eve, arriving on the glacier plateau several days later, before starting the trek.
William’s decision to attempt to raise £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust followed a visit to one of the Trust’s specialist hospital units in Cardiff.
“I saw a 16 year old who had been diagnosed with cancer while doing his mock GCSE’s. He’d been to a routine cancer unit but with much older people - it wasn’t a place for a young person. Being able to stay in a unit with people the same age made a vast difference to the treatment and his life. Ironically within the unit I sensed positivity, vibrancy and comradeship which I found very humbling.” said William.
“That’s where the Teenage Cancer Trust makes a difference at a crucial time in a young person’s life. I’d like to support the Trust in creating more outreach centres, including one here in West Wales. It’ll make a huge difference to young people with cancer. Remembering that family and friends of a cancer patient are often significantly impacted also.”
The trek has received corporate sponsorship from Red River Creative Ltd, Blue Tiger Marketing, Dawnus Construction Ltd, 3663, Western Log Group, Dyfed Cleaning Services Ltd, Bluestone Resorts Ltd, and Northcliffe (SWWales Media).
More details about William’s trek to the South Pole can be found at www.90degreessouth.co.uk/wp/. Anyone wishing to donate to the trek and the £100,000 he wants raise for the charity can find the details on the website.