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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Polar delight for Welsh Pink Lady
Tori James at the pole
A flag and a pole... Tori James makes her mark for Wales
A Pembrokeshire woman has spoken of her delight at being part of the first all-women team to complete a 320-mile trek to the North Magnetic Pole.

Tori James, 23, was one of three women who made up the Pink Lady Polecats in the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge.

Starting in Canada, they raced 15 teams across the frozen Arctic Ocean.

Ms James said she was glad they did not have a run-in with a polar bear and was very pleased to finish in sixth place, ahead of several all-male teams.

"We are absolutely delighted with sixth place," she said.

"We had actually planned to complete the race in 16.5 days - that was our target, that was our best option and we have come away having completed it in 13 days.

"We managed to overtake two guys' teams in the last 36 hours and I know for a fact that when they saw Team Pink Lady overtaking them, they weren't too happy."

Sam Eve (l), Tori James and Felicity Aston (r)
The all-women team of Sam Eve, Tori James and Felicity Aston

The team, which also included Felicity Aston from Hildenborough, Kent, and Sam Eve from Felixstowe, Suffolk, finished the challenge at the end of last week.

Ms James said it had been a steep learning curve when the team first arrived in Arctic Canada.

"I'd never been in temperatures as low as -40C and so the first week was really just giving yourself the confidence that you could live in that kind of environment," she said.

"You quickly learned how to use all the technical equipment and cope, and live 24 hours a day in those temperatures cooking for your team, and surviving and travelling up to 20 nautical miles a day."

She said it was hard to get used to the cold.

"It is a very different cold you get in the Brecon Beacons - you can feel it biting your skin if parts of your face are exposed," she said.

"During that first week, we practise using different systems to cover our face, making sure you can breathe without your goggles steaming up and then freezing."

She also said it was important to travel without restricting visibility so they could look out for polar bears.

The Pink Lady Polecats, picture courtesy of the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge
Sam Eve, Tori James and Felicity Aston wave the Union Jack at the finish

"I am very pleased we didn't see one any closer than we did," she said.

"The second day we walked through an area called Polar Bear Pass where bears migrate annually and we saw one in the distance.

"Fortunately it was moving in the opposite direction to our team, so we were quite pleased about that.

"Other teams did have encounters, and had to use shotgun as a warning blast and flares to scare the bears away."

A team called Hardware.com won the race, while Bryan Smith, a Swansea policeman, was a member of the Deliverance team which finished the race on 5 May in 11 days 22 hours and 40 minutes.

The Polecats have already raised more than 15,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the British Schools Exploring Society.


SEE ALSO:
Polar trio 'elated' after race
04 May 05 |  England


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