Marlborough Army major nearing journey's end at South Pole

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Major Kate Philp pictured setting off from Heathrow last month Major Kate Philp pictured setting off from Heathrow last month

Marlborough Army Major Kate Philp, who joined Prince Harry for a 200-mile charity trek across Antarctica in November, is looking forward to flying back to be with friends and family at Christmas.

Maj Philp is part of a team of 12 wounded servicemen and women tackling the sub zero challenge and is raising money for the UK charity Walking With The Wounded.

She lost her left leg during an explosion in Afghanistan when the armoured vehicle she was in command of went over an improvised explosive device and killed one of her men.

The team is now only a few days away from the South Pole and Maj Philp, who still serves with The Royal Artillery with 3 UK Division in Bulford, is looking forward to finishing.

She said: “It’s great to finally be at this stage where we are about 25 km away from the pole so two more days skiing should do it.

“There have been a lot of temperature changes to get used to. It has caused a few people, including myself, a few little nips here and there, and it’s amazing how much the altitude takes it out of you - that’s probably the thing I have noticed most of all.

“It’s really difficult breathing, I’m finding that very hard indeed. It makes you feel very unfit, but I know I’m not because I have had a good few months training leading up to this.”

Originally servicemen and servicewomen taking part in the challenge were split into three different teams – British, American and Commonwealth.

The aim was to race against each other, but this part of the challenge was called off for safety reasons after concerns were raised over the weather and harsh terrain.

Maj Philp said the removal of the race element had been positive as it had calmed things down and allowed them to enjoy the experience more, She said: “It has allowed people to take control of the little niggles and the injuries they have sustained, and actually just start to enjoy it a bit more, and it has been a lot more sociable because we have camped together every evening.

“That’s a massive part of what this is about, it’s the four nations and three teams getting together and sharing the experience just like we do on a battlefield.

“I will be heading straight up to Scotland for Christmas and then I will be down in Wiltshire, back home to Marlborough, for a quiet celebration at New Year with my neighbours and some good friends.

“Thank you so much to everyone back at home for their ongoing support. It means so much to us to know that you’re thinking of us and we’re really looking forward to getting back so that we can tell you exactly how it has been out here.”

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