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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 08:37 GMT
Couple aim to break polar record
Conrad Dickinson and his wife Hilary,
Conrad and Hilary Dickinson will keep warm by eating cake
A Northumberland couple are aiming to ski their way into the record books by embarking on a 1,300 trip to the South Pole this Christmas.

Conrad Dickinson, 49, and his wife Hilary, 51, from Hexham, aim to be the first British team to do the trip without relying on motorised vehicles.

They say for the last stretch of their trip they will sing carols to keep warm and mark Christmas Day eating cake.

Mr Dickinson believes they have 25 days to get home before winter sets in.

The couple, who are with a Canadian woman and her two grown-up children, left base Hercules Inlet on 1 November in Antarctica and are due to arrive in the South Pole late on Thursday afternoon.

Heavy sledge

They are hoping to make the return journey powered by kites battling through snow drifts and braving temperatures as low as -45C.

Former Artic Special Forces soldier Mr Dickinson, who owns the Karpet Mill carpet shop in Newcastle, said: "During the last 37 miles from the US base to the Pole we will sing carols in the hope of getting a warm reception."

Each team member is dragging a heavy sledge of food and equipment behind them.

Their kites and extra food will be dropped off at the Pole to enable them to prepare for the return journey on Christmas Day.

Before they set off from the Antarctic US base on their way home they will don party hats, eat chocolate and pull crackers on the ice.

To prepare for their kite-ski return the team underwent extensive training in the Canadian Artic, Baffin Island, Greenland and Norway.

Watch footage of the expedition

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