June 19 2013 Latest news:
Members of the Walking with the Wounded team train on Brancaster Beach in preperation for their next polar assault - Double amputee Sgt Duncan Slater trains on the snow covered beach pulling some tyres. Picture Matthew Usher.
Monday, March 18, 2013
A wounded Norfolk soldier is hoping to become the first double amputee to ski to the South Pole.
Duncan Slater, who lives in Diss, was told by doctors that he would never walk again after being injured by a roadside bomb in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan but he is now training with the aim of racing to the Antarctic.
Sgt Slater, who had been serving with the RAF Regiment, has spent the last week training in Iceland to acclimatise himself to the icy conditions of the South Pole and he hopes that other injured servicemen will follow his lead.
“I volunteered to do this to show what amputees can do,” said Sgt Slater, after spending five days and nights on Langjokull glacier in Iceland.
“It would be great to see more and more amputees reach the pole.
“Hopefully I won’t be the last, and if I get there and find out an easier way of doing it, then other people can follow in my footsteps and do it as well.”
The 34-year-old is one of six injured servicemen and women hoping to be selected for a four-person British team to compete against teams from America and the Commonwealth in the Walking With The Wounded charity race to the South Pole in November.
Sgt Slater has been in Iceland with other wounded men and women from the UK, US, Australia and Canada to familiarise himself with the conditions the teams will face in Antarctica.
They have camped out on the glacial ice, melted snow for water each morning and night and eaten freeze-dried rations.
Sgt Slater said the conditions have been a strain, but he has learned to adapt.
“It’s had its challenges to be honest,” he said.
“It’s not easy learning to ski and then go out for four days covering quite a lot of mileage.
“But it’s been a great learning curve.”
Asked if he has a particular technique, he added: “It is a little bit ad hoc, but you’ve got to find your way of doing it and find a rhythm, but once you do that, it’s amazing how much distance you can cover in a day.
“You’ve got to be quite hot on your personal administration. You’ve got to really look after your stumps.
“The last things you want to do is get any rubs, and blisters, or indeed in these temperatures, any frostbite or injuries like that on them.”
After his injury in 2009 Sgt Slater spent a year in a wheelchair before doctors told him he would need to have his legs amputated.
However within six weeks Sgt Slater was making strides on his new prosthetic limbs.
Speaking to the EDP before leaving for Iceland Sgt Slater said: “I had been sitting about not doing a great deal at home for a long period when my wife Kim found out about this expedition and suggested I go for it. So I applied for it and now I’m into the final six and I feel very lucky to have got this far.
“It’s going to be tough out there but that’s why we do all the training.”
The polar expedition covers 330km and takes place under the patronage of Prince Harry in November and December.
Sgt Slater will find out in the coming weeks if he is to be one of the four members of the British team.
Naturists are to be banned from a nationally-renowned Norfolk beach following complaints about anti-social behaviour committed in the area.
max temp: 25°C
min temp: 15°C