A Stonehaven man who last year underwent major brain surgery is to undertake a solo, unassisted and unsupported expedition to the South Pole.
If 30 year-old Luke Robertson, who was also given a pacemaker, is successful, he would be the youngest person in history and the first Scot to complete the gruelling challenge.
With logistics, training and high profile backers, including patron Sir Ranulph Fiennes and backer Mark Beaumont, all in place, Luke is now on a quest for financial supporters.
The record-breaking ‘Due South’ expedition will take place in November and will seek to raise money for Marie Curie, a charity Luke has a close relationship with. In 2014 he was urgently admitted to hospital after a scan diagnosed a large brain mass, suspected to be cancerous. While it turned out to be a rare enterogenous cyst, the experience of weeks in the neurology ward, sharing time with cancer patients, has motivated Luke to undertake this trip for a charitable cause. Luke will also be carrying out this feat with an artificial pacemaker, which he had fitted at the age of 23 to treat complete heart block. By completing this trip, Luke is hoping to inspire others to overcome mental and physical challenges to achieve whatever goals they set themselves.
Described as “brilliantly ambitious” by Mark Beaumont and “one of the most enduring challenges possible” by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Luke will aim to take 35 days to drag 100kg of equipment across 730 miles of ice, braving temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius and 100mph winds. He will do all of this unsupported and unassisted, burning 10,000 calories per day and facing the prospect of losing a quarter of his own body weight.
As part of his training for this expedition, Luke has already travelled to Greenland, Western Norway and trained in the ‘Cold Chamber’ at Glasgow University. Closer to home, his training also includes dragging tractor tyres around Edinburgh and competing in endurance events across the UK. Logistics for the trip are being been arranged by Adventure Network International.
“The assistance, donations and messages of support that I have already received has been humbling. Ultimately this backing helped me to pull through my previous health issues, and is now a key driver and source of motivation behind my push to the South Pole.”