THE intrepid adventurer endured biting Antarctic temperatures of -50C to complete his solitary trek, raising almost £50,000 for charity in the process.
At around 2.30am January 12, after 39 days skiing unassisted on some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet, Luke Robertson, from Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, reached the South Pole.
It had been a dream of Luke’s since he was a young boy.
From an early age he was captivated by the tales of the original polar explorers of the early 20th century. But it wasn’t until 2008, when Luke was in the hospital being fitted with a pacemaker, that he knew he had to do it.
“I read Sir Randle Fine’s book, Mad Bad and Dangerous where he talked about the magic, mystery and attraction of Antarctica, throughout all his travels it was the one place that stuck in his mind.
“So really from then on it became imprinted in my mind became a matter of when and not if I could get there.”
I felt honoured standing on the shoulders of the Polar pioneersLuke Robertson
Sir Fine became the patron of the trip as Luke decided to set off on the adventure, raising £47,000 for Marie Curie along the way.
“When I was in hospital with a suspected brain tumour in 2014, I spoke to a lot of patients in there who spoke very highly of Marie Curie and the amazing work the nurses did.
“So again that was imprinted in my mind, and even before that, in 2010 my uncle passed away and my whole family was helped greatly by Marie Curie. So even back then I knew when I went to Antarctica I wanted to raise money for that fantastic charity.”
The trip was a gruelling experience, with terrible weather, wind and white out conditions, but at no point did Luke feel like he wouldn’t complete the journey and he is now the first Scot to ever complete a solo trek to the South Pole.
“I was completely inspired and motivated by the messages and support from back home.
“There were points, definitely, when it was particularly difficult - like when all my tech stopped working.
It meant that I had to survive with all the batteries I already had charged. I could only speak to my fiancé one a week, I couldn’t update the social media side of things.
“Because the weather was particularly tough this year, there was a lot of thick snow and wind, it meant my progress through the middle part of the trip was a little bit slower than I expected.
“I was eating a lot more food during the middle stages than I’d anticipated.
“So during the last few stages I made a few large pushes.
“I completed the last stage in two big pushes - which was around 75 miles - I did the last 45 miles in 40 hours without sleep. That was particularly challenging, when you’ve already been skiing for 39 consecutive days.
“But I was so close and so relieved to get to the Pole and repay the faith shown in me by donators.”
Reaching the Pole was a dream come true, but one that Luke still feels hasn’t quite sunk in.
“There was so many emotions going on when I reached the Pole. Some of which was disbelief.
“Myself, my friends and family had all worked so hard for quite some time to achieve it. And to be honest, it’s still taking a little while to sink in now, being back in Scotland. “I felt very humbled thinking about the people who had walked it before me, all those characters I looked up to. I felt honoured standing on the shoulders of the Polar pioneers.
“Not to mention the mix of joy, tiredness and hunger - one of the members of staff at the Pole was the chef. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw him, all I wanted to do was eat and keep eating.”
Back home now and recovering from frost bite, Luke is already looking at his next adventures - and one that includes a massive milestone in his life.
“I’m currently planning one of my biggest adventures - getting married to my fiancé Hazel in August.”