Local News

Fulfilling a Dream: Ben Weber Reaches the South Pole

Scot, Ben Weber has reached the South Pole after an epic 58 day 700 mile solo trek across the Antarctic ice and snow. Pushing himself to the limits Ben endured a brutal 18 hour last day to reach the Pole.

During his mammoth challenge Ben encountered -40c wind chill, white out conditions, driving snowstorms and miles of strength sapping ragged ice fields and crevasses.

Shaking off a potential expedition ending neck injury Ben remorselessly progressed towards the Pole pulling a 110kg sled crammed with life-saving supplies, food, fuel and emergency equipment.

Ben developed a severe neck injury early on the expedition. He sought medical advice and relied on daily painkillers. Ben held fears that the injury would cause him to abandon the expedition. However, through sheer bloody-minded determination Ben has conquered everything that was thrown at him.

Ben Weber (41) who is lives in Carrbridge and originally from Orkney undertook the challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research UK said:

“This has been such an incredible and challenging expedition. I thought at the start – from day five, when my neck started to become painful-that I might have to give up, and it was so hard. The pain just wouldn’t go away, and I was getting slower and slower. While I was able to get that under control, then there were the daily challenges. The extreme cold, the whiteouts, the sastrugi and the wind; soft snow slowing things down; the climbing… going from sea level to eventually get to 2,800m.”

“So to get to the Pole… it’s difficult to express how delighted I am. To get through everything, all those daily challenges, to get through the pain and the frustration… it’s hard to believe. Seeing the research base at the Pole slowly becoming larger and larger and now I am here!! So surreal! It really is fulfilling a dream. “

Ben’s grinding daily routine revolved around hauling his fully laden sled, eating 6,000+ calories and pitching his tent for overnight protection from the elements. All the while preventing frostbite to his hands, feet and face. The entire expedition has been spent to full 24 hour daylight.

Ben privately funded the expedition to realise a lifelong ambition to reach the South Pole. The trip aims to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Ben had wanted to take on a personal challenge for some years.  However, the shock of losing his mother Marian to cancer in 2018 made him finally decide that the time was right to undertake a fundraising challenge. Donations can be made through Just Giving links on the website www.polarweber.com

“My mother was always so incredibly supportive of me with my journeys and expeditions. I wish I could be able to celebrate this achievement with her. Sadly, after she passed away due to cancer four years or so ago, this is not possible, though I know she would be so proud.

“While I have always wanted to fulfil this dream and make it to the Pole, I really want to make this expedition mean much more than my own ambitions: I truly want to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK, to help research into diagnosing cancers before it is too late like it was with my mother. To help with treatments so people don’t have to go through so much pain like my mother. I am so grateful for any donations that people can make to my campaign for this – everything counts and can make a huge difference. “

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Scotland, said: 

“A huge congratulations to Ben for reaching the South Pole. We’d like to thank Ben for using the expedition as an opportunity to raise vital funds to beat cancer, a disease that affects so many.”

“Cancer Research UK has made enormous progress in the fight against the disease. However, we have only been able to do this thanks to the dedication and commitment of volunteers and supporters like Ben without whom we would not be able to fund our life-saving work. One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime*. All of us can support the research that will beat it.”  

Ben has been sending back a daily blog and social media channels. Each day readers have shared Ben’s highs and lows as he endured the relentless slog of up to 10 hours of skiing and pitching his life saving tent in driving wind and snow.

The natural elements of the savage continent have bared their teeth. Temperatures plummeted to – 20c with -40c windchill and driving snow buried the tent and sled. Biggest challenge of all to Ben has been the relentless miles and miles of Sastrugi ice. Snow is driven by the wind and freezes layer upon layer of ice that resemble sand dunes. Sastrugi can vary in size from small ripples to large 10 meter blocks of impassable ice.

“The sastrugi, oh wow! It was constant for a lot of the time. Incredibly large, all sorts of irregular shapes and sizes. Having to keep going up, over, down and around, again and again! There was one stretch of a good 100 miles or so when it just didn’t stop. And it becomes so much worse in whiteouts, when you can only see them as you tread on them or fall over them! So tiring!”

Lesley Weber, Ben’s sister, who lives in Gourock in the West of Scotland said.

“Ben has always been keen to take on this expedition of a lifetime. Friends and family follow his daily progress with great interest and pride. We have marvelled at his absolute strength and determination. He has been through more than any of us can imagine and look forward to welcoming him home, after all we have Christmas and New Year parties to catch up on!”

Friend Aleks Mozdznska summed up her feelings by saying.

 “ I met Ben by sheer chance at the summit of Braeriach. While walking back to the car park his friend Bobby said to me: guess what he does for fun? Pulls 4 tyres around the Cairngorms National Park! I was so confused! I learnt later that he was training for this amazing expedition.  Little did I know back then how much of an inspiration Ben would become for me.

“I have been following his preparation and journey from the start. What stands out to me the most is his determination and positivity. His mental strength is unbelievable and really lifts me up when I have a tough day!

“His audio updates and blog are so authentic and absorbing – really makes everyone feel part of his epic journey. You are excited with him but also worried if his day was difficult. I am truly thrilled for him to reach the South Pole and cannot wait to buy him a celebratory drink (or two!).”

Daily updates and Bens personal audio diary are available at: