A HAMPSHIRE scout has made it to the South Pole after more than a month of battling freezing temperatures and extreme conditions.

Joe Doherty, a former Sparsholt College student, has been skiing across Antarctica for more than 40 days, including Christmas and New Year, while facing temperatures as low as -50C across one of the toughest environments on Earth.

He, and a team working to support him behind the scenes, were aiming to become the first Scout team ever to ski unassisted from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back.

In a blog post on Monday – 45 days into the expedition – Joe said: “914km over 45 days of blood, sweat and tears and I am at the bottom of the planet! I can’t believe it, I cried as soon as I got to the Pole.

“This has been a dream, a project, a massive rollercoaster for over seven years now. There are not enough words to describe how I feel, now that I am stood at the South Pole after all those hard times.

“I want to thank so many people for believing in me, supporting me and giving me this opportunity that very few people on this planet get.”

Originally, a larger group had been due to take it on as part of the Hampshire Scout Expeditions (HSX) Antarctica team, but for various reasons, the other members dropped out.

Throughout the expedition, Joe has been posting daily updates online about his time on the snow, aided by fellow HSX member Matthew Prince back in the UK.

Matthew, an activities manager at Marwell Activity Centre near Winchester, had been planning to go on the expedition, but was grounded a broken leg sustained during a training trip to Austria.

Speaking about the expedition at a previous fundraising event, he said: “HSX has been to every continent but Antarctica, and we just wanted to go. It’s a great way to inspire young people.

“The biggest challenge will be the financial one – it’s costing £65,000 per person to fund the trip. We can do all the training, but without the money, we won’t be going anywhere.”

Matthew added: “To have a accident was a bitter pill to swallow. I spent a week in hospital in Austria. I thought just a couple of weeks and I’d be fine but it took me a while to get my head around it.”