A DOCTOR who trekked to the south pole, following in the footsteps of Captain Scott a hundred years after his famous expedition, has hailed the trip as 'phenomenal' after returning home to Marlow.
Dr Lynne Summers, an expert in wilderness medicine, accompanied explorer David Hempleman-Adams, Olympic rowing great Matthew Pinsent and three wounded UK soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards.
The mother of four joined the team in making the extraordinary 20 day journey through the coldest and windiest place on Earth in December.
It involved travelling on foot 140 miles across the barren ice field, barely touched by humans, dragging a sled laden with food, tent and clothes.
The aim was to raise £1million for charities Walking with the Wounded and Alzheimers research, with nearly £900k pledged so far.
The group of ten reached their destination on December 11 and now, having left Antarctica behind and recovered from the arduous trip, Dr Summers has told the Free Press about her amazing experience.
She said: "It was phenomenal. I've been on other polar expeditions with David Hempleman-Adams and up into the North Pole.
"This was quite different. There were three men who had been injured in Afghanistan, one had been blown up by a mortar, another blown up by an IED and the other had been shot rescuing an Afghan.
"I thought I had to go because these were amazing young men. It was not easy for these lads to do what they did. In fact one of them gave the quote of the trip when he said at one point 'I'd rather be blown up three times than do this trek again'. That shows you, it was a tough trip."
Unlike previous wilderness treks she has undertaken, there was no danger from polar bears. The creatures do not live in the Antarctic, in fact barely any land mammals do.
With temperatures of -35 degrees Celsius some of the party suffered frostbite.
But the expedition, named 'in the footsteps of legends', was more successful than the ill-fated trek which inspired it.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott died in his 1912 attempt to be the first man to reach the south pole.
One of the famous parts of the story were the words of Captain Lawrence Oates who has been immortalised by his quote: "I am just going outside and may be some time."
He is said to have uttered the phrase just moments before walking to his death.
Like the trio of armed forces servicemen who undertook the challenge, Capt Oates belonged to the Royal Dragoon Guards.
Dr Summers, a friend of Sir Steve Redgrave, also had praise for his old rowing partner Matthew Pinsent and his efforts in aiding their south pole quest.
She said: "He was actually amazing, he was like an ox, he pulled huge weights. He really was wonderful."
The fundraising is continuing. For more information and to donate visit www.icelandfoundation.squarespace.com/donate/