SIX British soldiers – including one from Portsmouth – have become the first all-female team to cross Antarctica using muscle-power alone.
The group covered 1,700km in 61 days during the British Army’s Ice Maiden expedition, pulling sledges weighing up to 76kg. Having travelled up to 45km a day, facing bitterly cold temperatures of -50°C and winds of 60mph – they were unsupported, with just two resupply points along the route.
The team completed the feat on January 20 – led by Major Nics Wetherill, a GP from Portsmouth.
Reflecting on their efforts, defence secretary Gavin Williamson, said: ‘I want to congratulate the heroic Ice Maidens on their formidable and trailblazing trek across Antarctica.
‘They are an inspiration to us all and are role models to young people across the country.
‘They truly demonstrate why the British armed forces are the best in the world, and show that with hard work, courage, and determination anything is possible.
‘We are immensely proud of them and what they have achieved.’
The Ice Maiden team:
•Major Nics Wetherill, Royal Army medical corps – (based in Portsmouth, originally from Buckinghamshire)
•Major Natalie Taylor, Royal Army Medical Corps – (based in Chepstow, originally from Staffordshire)
•Major Sandy Hennis, Royal Signals (army reserve) – (based in Redditch, lives in Cannock, originally from Staffordshire/Derbyshire)
•Captain Zanna Baker, Royal Artillery – (based in Bedfordshire, originally from Hereford)
•Lieutenant Jenni Stephenson, Royal Artillery – (based in Wiltshire, originally from Tyne and Wear)
•Lance Sergeant Sophie Montagne, Honourable Artillery Company (army reserve) – (based in London, originally from Sussex)