BGF has been supporting a new venture, one that is slightly outside of our usual remit. We are backing Ben Saunders, the renowned Arctic explorer, as he attempts the first ever solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, in memory of his friend Lt Col Henry Worsley.
Those who attended our 2017 Portfolio Day will have already heard Ben’s inspiring story, where he spoke about his Polar-conquering plans. The expedition will be a west-to-east traverse from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf via the South Pole and the Shackleton Glacier. It was planned by Henry, a close friend of Ben, who nearly completed the expedition before falling ill and sadly passing away in hospital in Chile in January 2016. The journey remains unfinished.
The challenge will see Ben complete a distance of 1,033 miles in around 65 days, all while starting with a sledge weighing 125kg. He’ll be consuming a gut-busting 6,250 calories per day, and will spend both Christmas and New Year alone in the middle of Antarctica.
Ben is one of the world’s leading polar explorers and a record-breaking long-distance skier. He has covered more than 6,000km (3,700 miles) on foot in the Polar Regions since 2001 and, in 2014, Ben completed The Scott Expedition, the longest human-powered polar journey in history.
Remarkably, Ben was the first person to complete the expedition that defeated Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, a 105-day round-trip from Ross Island on the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again. Ben was also the third person in history to ski solo to the North Pole, and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton.
Ben is dedicated to continuing the efforts of Henry, who was raising funds for the Endeavour Fund when he died in Antarctica. Henry’s legacy raised over £500,000 for the charity, which is part of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and supports wounded, injured and sick veterans through providing opportunities in sport and adventure.