Partially sighted adventurer sets South Pole record
A DETERMINED explorer from Clevedon has become the first visually impaired person to cross Antarctica and reach the South Pole.
Alan Lock trekked for 39 days in a team of four to make it to the geographic South Pole from the coast of Antarctica.
The 31-year-old set a new world record after completing the Polar Vision fete on Tuesday, which was organised to raise awareness and funds for sight charities.
Alan said: “It feels amazing to have made it to the South Pole, what an adventure.
“The high point is having the opportunity to make this expedition in the first place.
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“There have been difficulties with the terrain but this has all been made possible by my great team members.”
Alan, who grew up and went to school in Clevedon, was joined by Andrew Jensen and Richard Smith, who he met while studying for an MBA at Berkley in California.
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Their guide for the expedition was Hannah McKean, who also set her own world record by becoming the first person to make the trek to the South Pole for the fifth time.
The trek saw the team walk for almost 600 miles, facing arctic winds, snow white outs and temperatures as low as -35C. Trekking on skis, the team also dragged sledges weighing 60kg.
At the age of 23, Alan was diagnosed with macular degeneration and within six weeks his vision deteriorated to the point where he felt he was looking through frosted glass.
He has now lost all central vision.
The condition forced him to give up a career in the Royal Navy and he now works for BT in London.
Despite being partially sighted, Alan has since completed 10 marathons including the 151-mile Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert. He has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, walked to Everest Base Camp and, in 2008, set a Guinness World Record by becoming the first visually impaired person to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
Polar Vision was organised to raise money for Dogs for the Blind in America and Sight Savers International. It is believed more than �20,000 has so far been raised.
* For more details and sponsorship information visit www.polar-vision.org