The Army's Ice Maidens Set Off On Record-Breaking Antarctic Adventure

Today marks the start of the three-month trek, that hopes to see a team of six women become the first ever to cross the Antarctic...

The British Army’s all-women team have set out from Heathrow today, starting their epic journey to Antarctica.

Their record-breaking aim is to become the first all-female team to ski from coast-to-coast across the continent.

All of the women involved in the Ice Maiden challenge are serving in the British Army or Army Reserve.

Prior to today, they have been training for the trek for two years.

Ice Maidens leave Heathrow
The Ice Maidens must carry enough kit to see them through each 600 kilometre stretch of the trek

On the day of their departure they spent quality time with their families and loved ones while at a news conference. The conference was held at Sandhurst Military Academy, the place where some of the Ice Maidens had trained.

Major Sandy Hennis, Reservist in the Royal Signals said at Sandhurst: "It’s about showing the women out there that though a lot of the adventure world can be male dominated, there are really great women out there doing a lot of great things.

"We just want to say we come from normal women, we’ve just put a lot of training in and we’re going out to achieve something that is pretty amazing. Anyone can go out and do something, whatever they chose to do."

The Ice Maidens left Heathrow taking with them all the equipment they will need to survive each 600 kilometre stretch of their journey. They will only have two resupply stops along their route.

Major Hennis's mother told us how proud she was of her daughter:

"We knew she would get through, all the way through. She's the sort of person who is determined to make  the most out of every challenge and she’ll always get to the top."

Family, friends and some well-wishers had turned out to bid farewell to the team.

The plan is to cover 1,700 kilometres over 3 months however, this is of course weather depending.

They can expect to battle wind speeds of over 60mph and bitterly cold temperatures of around -50c.

The challenge they are attempting has only previously been completed by one other woman, the explorer Felicity Aston in 2012.

Some have described the mission as the ultimate opportunity to show that women have the all-strength required to operate in one of the world’s most hostile environments.

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