Pole team close in on a double record

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The Independent Online

Five Britons are about three days' march from the South Pole and a double record. They are trying to become the first British all-female expedition to walk to the South Pole and the first all-female team to reach both poles, having reached the northern extremity in 1997.

Five Britons are about three days' march from the South Pole and a double record. They are trying to become the first British all-female expedition to walk to the South Pole and the first all-female team to reach both poles, having reached the northern extremity in 1997.

The expedition patron, the Prince of Wales, has spoken to them by satellite phone. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: "He is being kept informed of their progress."

Before they set out yesterday, their £350,000 M&G-ISA- backed trek was 36 miles from completing the 695-mile trek in sub-zero temperatures and 24- hour daylight. The women hoped to reach the South Pole on Monday, said a spokesman at their British base.

The women, pulling their food and equipment on sledges, have tackled the Antarctic wastes without a guide, and with a single re-supply, on 3 January.

The expedition is led by Caroline Hamilton, 35, a film financier from London, who also led the North Pole expedition. She is accompanied by Zoe Hudson, 32, a sports physiotherapist from Leeds, Pom Oliver 46, a property developer from Sussex, a 38-year-old writer, Rosie Stancer, from Prague, in the Czech Republic, and mother of triplets Ann Daniels, 32, from Yeovil, in Somerset.

The team began training more than 18 months before the expedition set out from Hercules Inlet, on the edge of the Antarctic land mass.

During their trek they have been collecting meteorological, physiological and scientific data, which should contribute to a better understanding of the female body in extreme conditions. The team is also raising awareness and funds for their designated charity, Special Olympics UK, Britain's largest sports charity.

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