“That’s how much I want to go”: Edinburgh adventurer will ‘auction off a bum cheek’ to raise funds for record-breaking expedition

What would you sacrifice for the chance to trek 702 miles across some of the world’s harshest terrain, in minus 50 degrees Celsius, dragging a 90kg sled and completely alone for two months?

Mollie Hughes in training for her next adventure. Picture: Mollie Hughes
Mollie Hughes in training for her next adventure. Picture: Mollie Hughes

If the answer is ‘nothing at all’, then you don’t have much in common with record-breaking Edinburgh explorer Mollie Hughes, who has promised to ‘auction off’ a bum cheek in order to raise funds to her latest expedition.

Ms Hughes, 29, will allow the highest bidder to have ‘anything they want’ tattooed on her skin, in an attempt to become the youngest woman ever to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole.

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During the trek, which Ms Hughes expects to take between 45 and 50 days, temperatures will reach below minus 50 degrees Celsius.

Mollie Hughes with Lhakpa Wongchu Sherpa on the summit of Mount Everest. Picture: Mollie Hughes

So far only six women and 17 men have completed the route without support.

"I'm hoping to inspire others to get out there, especially young women," said Ms Hughes, who has been going on climbing and other adventure trips since she was in her teens.

"I want people to know they too can achieve huge things. Life is so short, we only get 90 years or so at an average. I want people to get out there and make the most of it."

Already a record-breaker, in 2017 aged 26 Ms Hughes became the youngest woman to ever successfully climb both the north and south sides of Mount Everest.

This new adventure will be physically 'very different'. "It will be all about the long days, eight hours of just skiing and skiing," she said.

However, the mental challenge will be the same: "It's about being able to push myself, it's about mental toughness."

Since announcing the trip in January Ms Hughes has raised £60,000 through corporate sponsorship and individual donations. But she still needs a further £15,000, and has set up a crowdfunding page to gather support.

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Along with regular donations one lucky bidder will be able to choose anything they want to be tattooed on her left bum cheek, with the only condition that it not be offensive.

The prize specifically refers to the left cheek, as in 2011 Ms Hughes auctioned off her right bum cheek in a similar fundraising campaign before climbing Mount Everest.

"I was quite young and pretty gung-ho at the time," she said.

Two ‘slightly inebriated’ Royal Marines won that prize, auctioned in Ms Hughes’ local pub, for around £1,000.

"I now have two kissing chickens tattooed on my right bum cheek for the rest of my life,” Ms Hughes said. “I hope you will agree, worth it to get to climb Mount Everest."

This time the ‘older and wiser’ Ms Hughes will give away the honour for no less than £15,000, her total funding shortfall.

“This is how much I want to go to Antarctica.” she said.

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To find out more about Ms Hughes' journey or donate, visit her page on Crowdfunder.