Credo: Mark Pollock

Blind adventurer, 32

I believe...

The past 10 years have been a journey, and I've come a long way. When I first went blind [Pollock lost sight in one eye at the age of five, then went blind in both on 10 April 1998], I felt so stuck. All I wanted to be able to do was cook for myself and tell whether it was night or day. The idea of going to the South Pole didn't even cross my mind.

The South Pole Race is a huge challenge for anyone. None of the competitors know whether they are going to be able to cover the distance. [Teams of three will race about 1,000km across the Antarctic ice cap to the Pole.] The blindness just happens to be my own extra difficulty.

There's a whole suite of things I have to factor into my preparation that others don't. I have to use my hands to feel the sledges and put the tent up. The danger with using your touch at -50C is the risk of getting frostbite.

When it comes to meeting girls, it's no good getting an opinion from just one friend. He could be wrong. If I want find out what she looks like, I need to get a broad sweep of opinion from all my mates.

You can pick up a lot from audio cues. You can tell if someone's smiling even if you can't see them – they sound different.

If I know 100 per cent that I can do something, it's not a challenge, and it's not worth doing. The excitement lies in the calculated risk of failure.

At times, being blind is incredibly annoying and frustrating. If a bus is starting to pull out of a bus station, when I could see I would run for that bus. Now that I'm blind I just have to let it leave.

I had to make a decision at some point to stop looking backwards, accept that I'm blind, this is the reality, and think, "Now what am I going to do about it?"

I view my self as an educator rather than a victim. It's up to people like me in the blind community to educate others that the visually-impaired can do so many things.

www.southpoleflag.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor