A POLAR adventurer from Salisbury has completed her mission to ski solo and unaided from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole - becoming only the seventh woman to complete the challenge.

Wendy Searle, who has also become the fourth fastest woman to finish the race, completed her journey on January 8 in 42 days.

She said: “It was absolutely incredible. If you had asked me on the day I finished I might not have said the same thing.

“No-one was more shocked than I was at how well it all went.”

She says she would ski for around 12 hours a day pulling more than 80kg of supplies behind her in a sledge.

I would get to the end of the day of 12 hours skiing and putting my tent up on my hands and knees because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else,” said the 42-year-old.

“I’d be absolutely done and think ‘how on earth am I going to get out my tent and do that all again the next day?’. Somehow you do."

Wendy continued: “What is so addictive about polar travel is we all need purpose in life and there is literally one thing you have to do. You just have to get up and ski south. In a sense that makes it a very simple and purest existence in way and I think that was what was so addictive for me. You can only live in the moment.”

Wendy says her children were sending her text messages regularly which helped spur her on to continue the journey, which she describes as physically and mentally challenging.

Wendy's journey was completely unaided. But she said: “Weirdly I never felt alone and never felt lonely, which is quite odd when you think about that you are out there on this massive continent and it’s just you. There were some really difficult days but there was no kind of rhyme or reason to it.

"Sometimes the conditions might be good but you just feel really tired and you don’t make the progress your hoping to. Then other days when it is a complete whiteout and you can see literally nothing apart from your compass and your skis. You don’t know if you are going up or down, left or right."

The mum-of-four had set her sights on breaking the women’s world speed record for the 1,130km race which was just under 39 days.

“No-one was more shocked than I was at how well it went. To be the seventh woman to complete the journey solo, unsupported, I’m as astounded as anyone. To have done it in 42 days, I am absolutely thrilled,” she added.

“I know I was aiming to get the record and the record is just a few minutes short of 39 days. I was three days off which in the grand scheme of things is quite a long time.

“I know I gave it absolutely everything I could everyday. I couldn’t ski before I started on this.

“I know I couldn’t have done anymore. I’m pleased with how it all went and I’m satisfied it is something I can be really proud of. I don’t feel like I’ve got anything left to prove to myself anymore.”

Wendy hopes it will leave a legacy to inspire other women and girls to pursue their dreams and ambitions, adding: “It might not be a solo journey in Antarctica but with enough planning and perseverance you can overcome pretty much any challenge and make things happen.”