Luke Robertson set to complete South Pole solo odyssey

Luke pictured during an expedition training course in Eastern Greenland. Picture: contributed
Luke pictured during an expedition training course in Eastern Greenland. Picture: contributed
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AN adventurer who is aiming to become the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole unassisted was set to complete his mission today.

Luke Robertson will also be the first Scot to achieve the solo challenge, unassisted and unsupported, in -50C temperatures.

The 30-year-old set off on his skis on the epic Due South 730-mile challenge from Hercules Inlet in Antarctica in November.

His fiancée Hazel Clyne revealed that Mr Robertson was making great progress and had now passed 89 degrees south – just one degree of latitude from his destination.

“From [Monday’s] position, he’s about 40 miles from potentially seeing the station – assuming he can see it from 13 miles away. Not long now,” she said.

His position was being charted via his satellite tracking device, however, after he struggled to charge it, Ms Clyne is now receiving updates from the communications team at the Union Glacier base on Antarctica, so she can update the Due South social media accounts.

Luke training in Greenland. Picture: contributed

Luke training in Greenland. Picture: contributed

Mr Robertson, who works at Franklin Templeton on Morrison Street, was spurred on for the extreme expedition after a series of personal experiences.

In 2014 he was taken to hospital after a brain scan revealed a large mass, suspected to be cancer.

The cyst proved benign, but he spent weeks in the neurology ward of the Western General alongside cancer patients.

The sports lover also had a pacemaker fitted when he was just 23 after he was diagnosed with complete heart block.

He’s about 40 miles from potentially seeing the station – assuming he can see it from 13 miles away. Not long now.

Hazel Clyne

His personal health scares and the loss of his uncle to cancer made him determined to raise money for Marie Curie.

His original target of £25,000 has long been smashed, with a new total of £43,000.

Mr Robertson, who has so far taken more than 1.5 million steps on his journey towards the pole, has now increased his target to £100,000.

To help pass the time on his lonely journey, he has downloaded hundreds of songs and podcasts, and his fiancée also recorded a video message from their friends for him to watch. She said she could not wait to be reunited with him.

In 2014 Luke was taken to hospital after a brain scan revealed a large mass, suspected to be cancer. Picture: contributed

In 2014 Luke was taken to hospital after a brain scan revealed a large mass, suspected to be cancer. Picture: contributed

Ms Clyne added: “He is just incredible. I’m so proud of him in all he’s achieved so far on this immense challenge.”

SEE ALSO: Brain surgery Scot aims to make South Pole history

Once he reaches the South Pole and spends a little time recovering, Mr Robertson will make his way home via three flights; from the South Pole to Union Glacier Base Camp on Antarctica, from Antarctica to Punta Arenas in Chile, and then from Chile back to the UK.

He is being cheered on by his colleagues at Franklin Templeton.

His boss Paul Collins, who is the head of EMEA Trading at the firm, said: “Luke is an absolute inspiration to us all.”

• To donate visit www.justgiving.com/duesouth2015.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com