Bristol doctor's South Pole trek
Bristol doctor Ed Coats has taken a break from his day job at Southmead Hospital and trekked to the South Pole. His exploits were filmed for the BBC2 documentary, 'On Thin Ice' which can be seen on the BBC iPlayer while the series is ongoing.
Dr Coats took part in the 2008 Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race alongside TV celebrity Ben Fogle and former British rowing champion and double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell.
Ed beat 650 applicants for his place on the team, collectively known as Team QinetiQ, for the gruelling South Pole race. Their two weeks of intensive polar training in Antarctica consisted of working out in a giant freezer!
Team QinetiQ endured temperatures of -50C (-58F) during the 473-mile contest, the first race to the South Pole since Scott and Amundsenís historic race nearly 100 years ago.
Roald Amundsen completed the trek on December 11, 1911, with Robert Scott finishing on January 17, 1912. The area is known as one of the world's most inhospitable areas, as Team QinetiQ's lonely tent shows.
The teams of three had to ski, while pulling 200lb sleds, from the edge of the Antarctica continent, across the largest ice cap in the world, and on to the Geographic South Pole.
Dr Coats' day job is as a doctor of obstetrics and gynaecology in a busy Bristol maternity unit but he landed a place in the team following a high-profile public search and intensive two-day selection process.
Before taking part in the South Pole Race, Ed had represented Great Britain as a decathlete, captained two teams that swam the English Channel in 2003 and he has completed the Karrimor Mountain Marathon.
10 teams from across the world raced across the Antarctic Plateau, with Team QinetiQ crossing the finish line in second place, just 20 hours behind their Norwegian rivals. Here, Ed gets emotional arriving at the South Pole.
The trio had little cross country skiing and no polar experience between them prior to the race, but they managed to trek up to 20 miles-a-day - all three had lost a large amount of weight by the end of the challenge.