Six women from the British Army have become the largest all-female group to ski coast-to-coast across Antarctica.
The Ice Maiden team began the 1,000-mile expedition on 20 November – each pulling an 80kg sledge behind them.
After 62 days on the ice, the six soldiers crossed the finish line at the Hercules Inlet just before 10:00 GMT.
Completing the challenge, Maj Nics Wetherill said: “I’m just so incredibly proud of the team. I can’t believe how far we’ve come.”
The group was expected to take between 75 and 90 days, with the women tackling winds of up to 60mph and temperatures reaching as low as -40C.
Maj Wetherill, of the Royal Army Medical Corps in Portsmouth, added: “This journey has had good times, bad times and great times for all concerned, and each of them, I know, has made us better people.”
Congratulations have been coming in for the group.
The Countess of Wessex, who met the team at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in September, sent a series of tweets congratulating the women, saying: “You have achieved your dream and performed an incredible feat of endurance physically and mentally, all while smashing the previous record!”
The soldiers also received congratulations from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
He said: “They are an inspiration to us all and are role models to young people across the country.”
Maj Wetherill came up with the idea along with Maj Nat Taylor, also of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
They said they wanted to inspire women of all ages and abilities.
The only conditions for applicants were they were serving in the Army, regular or reserve. In total, 250 people came forward.
Applicants were put through rigorous tests in the UK and Norway before the final six were picked.
The other four members of the team were reservist Maj Sandy Hennis of the Royal Signals, Capt Zanna Baker and Lt Jenni Stephenson, both of the Royal Artillery, and Honourable Artillery Company reservist Lance Sgt Sophie Montagne.
Maj Taylor said: “I have spent the last few days trying to imprint this beautiful landscape in my mind.
“We have called it home for close to two months now and I will, in a strange way, miss it a lot.”
Maj Hennis told the BBC: “It feels pretty amazing.
“It was really key for me to be part of an all-female team because I really want to inspire other women, specifically women, to get out there and do things they wouldn’t normally be doing, or think would be possible.
“We set what was an impossible challenge and achieved it, so anything is possible.”
Speaking from base camp, Capt Baker said she had dreamt of taking on the challenge for 10 years.
“We can’t really believe it is over,” she said.
Source: BBC Here