Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere say they’ve set a record for the longest polar journey on foot.
For four months they traveled in freezing conditions, dragging about 200 kgs each. "We never had an easy day," Saunders tells us.
Connect the World has been following their epic journey all along – from their departure in October, to this week’s emotional family reunion.
In 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team set off on the same journey, but died in the last stage after running out of food.
Even after consuming nearly 6,000 calories a day, L'Herpiniere and Saunders each lost nearly a quarter of their body weight.
While they're delighted with their achievement, they're also still processing the magnitude of it. "It was a journey that defies any description... it was a challenge that brought us both to our very limits."
Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere have made history. They’ve broken the world record for the longest polar journey on foot – by walking to the South Pole and back.
Becky spoke to polar explorer Robert Swan to get his reaction.
"They're not mad, they're amazing," he said. "It's terrifically exciting... They'll be feeling very light in their souls, very light in their spirit, and damn proud of what they've done. I'm their patron, I've been following them, I'm really just so impressed by their guts, what they've achieved, and they've done it with style and dignity, which I think is really important."
Saunders and L'Herpiniere were recreating Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition, which ended in disaster over 100 years ago –when Scott’s team starved to death on the ice. The modern pair had originally planned on travelling unaided, but received an emergency food drop in January after their supplies ran out. However, Swan says that this won't have any impact on their accomplishment. "There's not much point dying at the South Pole. They won't be disappointed, they've achieved the most amazing piece of history."
Swan also shared what he thinks the team’s most looking forward to when they arrive home.
"They're going to be really thin on return. After only 70 days I lost nearly 50lbs in body weight. They're going to be thinking solely about food. Nothing else. And I just hope they don't make the same mistake I made which is to eat too much at the end and then to be really quite sick for a long time. What you really yearn for also is to sit in a chair. They've been 105 days lying down, eating, lying down again."
Swan was the first person ever to walk to both the North and South Pole. "I threatened never to walk anywhere ever again," he said about his one-way journey through Antarctica. And the Scott Expedition adventurers have travelled double that distance. "It's like walking from London to Moscow, or from San Francisco to Chicago. It's just stunning."
Polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere have received an emergency food drop after running out of supplies on their way back from the South Pole. They set off last October in an attempt to retrace the ill-fated steps of Antartic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott.
Saunders and L'Herpiniere have been planning and training for ten years in preparation for 110 days in temperatures as low as -50 degrees. Their goal was to make it to the South-Pole and back unassisted, but ultimately they ran into similar difficulties to Scott, who died after running out of supplies.
Becky asked Paul Rose, Vice President of the Royal Geographic Society, whether this meant that their mission had failed.
"I think it's a great, unqualified success. It's a tremendous journey, 18,000 miles, and the fact that they had to get an air drop support, I mean you could almost have counted on it. It's so ambitious to do that journey totally unsupported that if I was a betting man I probably would have even betted on a bit of support. I mean why not? If Scott and his men had been in those circumstances they would have accepted an air drop too"
They're expected to complete their epic trip in mid-February.