Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Cumbrian to lead Antarctic trek after Sir Ranulph hit by frostbite

An Antarctic exploration will carry on under the leadership of a Cumbrian adventurer after Sir Ranulph Fiennes pulled out when he developed frostbite.

Brian Newham photo
Brian Newham

The legendary adventurer fell while ski-ing and used his bare hands to fix a binding in temperatures around -30C.

The group are currently on a 2,000 mile trek across Antarctica but Sir Ranulph will have to be flown to Cape Town to receive medical attention.

Brian Newham, of Uldale near Caldbeck, is an experienced alpine climber and skier.

A statement on The Coldest Journey group’s blog said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and it is, naturally, a huge disappointment to Fiennes and his colleagues.

“The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided, with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists.

“The remaining expedition members, under the experienced leadership of the traverse manager Brian Newham, have unanimously elected to continue with the winter crossing of Antarctica and will undertake the scientific and educational aspects of the project as originally planned.”

Mr Newham was awarded the Polar Medal by the Queen in 1992 and is an advanced skier and ski instructor.

The journey, if completed, will be the first across the Antarctic in winter. Temperatures will hit -90C.

The group will be carrying out research on marine life, oceanography and meteorology for NASA and the European Space Agency. They are also raising money for the Seeing is Believing charity, which aims to fight avoidable blindness.

Frostbite occurs when fluid in exposed skin tissues begins to freeze.

If blood flow is not restored soon enough to the area it can lead to amputation.

Sir Ranulph lost the fingers on his left hand while attempting to reach the north pole unaided.


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