Cotswolds adventurer completes South Pole mission with the help of Abba

Phil Hayday Brown

Phil Hayday Brown

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by

A COTSWOLDS adventurer has returned after a gruelling race to the South Pole, spurred on by the music of Abba.

Super trooper Phil Hayday-Brown, 39, was on one of six teams who set off on January 4 to reach the Pole.

Phil, from Rendcomb, said despite regularly skiing for over 15 hours the hardest part was the mental challenge but found comfort in listening to the Swedish pop band on a teammate's MP3 player to much 440-mile trek.

"Everyone knows the words to Abba," he said. "I was singing along, it lifted my spirits."

It was the first race to the South Pole since 1911, when British Naval Officer, Captain Robert Falcon-Scott battled Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

"It was a long way and very cold," he said. "But we had a great time."

He said his highlight was reaching the halfway checkpoint, as he was at peak fitness and in high spirits.

Although when he reached on the Pole he said he was more relieved than anything else.

"We'd lost a lot of weight," he said. "We had superficial frostbite and were exhausted."

Phil's competition included another team of TV presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic gold medallist rower, James Cracknell, who managed to build a lead on him.

However, history repeated itself and Fogle and Cracknell were pipped by the Norwegian team.

Phil's team finished fourth on January 26 with a time of 21 days and 6 hours.

He arrived back home on February 3 to be greeted by the heaviest snow in the Cotswolds for 20 years but still managed to make a snowman with his five-year-old daughter.

"My fingers were still a bit numb," he said.


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