A WOMAN from near York has become only the seventh woman in history to ski solo to the South Pole.

Wendy Searle, a mother of four who was born in Gate Helmsley, completed the 720-mile solo expedition from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole in 42 days, making her the fourth fastest woman to complete the trek unsupported.

Temperatures reached as low as minus 35 degrees at points during her trek.

Wendy, 42, said: “It was a physical challenge – skiing 11 or 12 hours every single day with no rest days.

“It was an even greater mental challenge – I wanted to give up so often, but I got out of the tent regardless and got on with it.”

It took Wendy, who had never skied before the trek, five years to plan and prepare the expedition.

Her training included treks in Norway, Iceland and Greenland.

Wendy’s challenges before even getting to the start line included raising the funds to get to Antarctica, fitting training around a full-time job, family commitments, as well as negotiating time off from her job, where she works as a civil servant in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

All of her kit was dragged on a sledge, including a tent, rations and a comprehensive medical kit, which came to a total weight of 86kg.

As Wendy was unsupported, this meant that she had no fresh supplies of any kind.

Wendy was burning around 2,000 calories more than she was consuming each day and lost a total of 12kg in body weight.

She added: “I wasn’t a professional athlete, I don’t have lots of money and I have a busy job.

“I wanted to show that anyone can make things happen with enough fortitude.

"I was turned down for funding by so many potential sponsors.

“You need to have a thick skin and be prepared to put everything into an expedition like this to make it happen.”

The expedition raised funds for two charities, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, who Wendy formerly worked for and The Youth Adventure Trust.

Wendy completed a blog throughout her expedition. This can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/2SgGCB4