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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Record Breaking Polar Explorer, Ann Daniels, joins Row Britannia

Ann is the first woman in history, along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, to reach the North and South Poles as part of all women teams.

Ann is a great believer in living life to the full and taking opportunities as they appear. Not letting the fear of failure stop her having a go, with no previous outdoor experience and as a mother of 18 month old triplets, Lucy, Joseph and Rachel, she beat off fierce competition from over 200 other women on a tough Dartmoor selection weekend and was chosen to join the first team, of the McVities Penguin Polar Relay. A unique relay expedition of women sledge hauling to the North Pole. The first team of four women with two guides were tasked with crossing the toughest sections of ice, in the coldest weather, to give this record breaking expedition the best possible start.

This unique expedition was the start of a number of world record breaking expeditions that would see Ann rise in the field of Polar Exploration.

Fired up by her experiences in temperatures cold enough to freeze skin instantly, Ann and four colleagues from the relay went on to organise and accomplish a 700 mile expedition across Antarctica, the windiest, highest and bleakest continent on earth to become The First British All Women’s team to ski to the South Pole.

She became the first British female North Pole guide leading men and women in the most extreme environments on the planet and whilst guiding one such North Pole expedition had the dream to make the whole journey to the North Pole from land. A feat only completed by a few expeditions and never by an all women’s team.

Meeting a new partner, Tom and having a fourth child Sarah didn’t stop Ann’s desire to explore the Polar regions and in 2009, she was asked by Pen Hadow to be his head of ice operations for the ground-breaking Catlin Arctic Survey. This project completed a unique environmental study of the rapidly disappearing frozen Arctic Ocean.

Ann was responsible for leading the team on the ice and finding a safe route, making difficult decisions in the most extreme environment on Earth for 74 consecutive days. In 2010 and 2011 she also led the second and third Catlin Arctic survey, the only person to be invited to partake in all 3 expeditions.

Ann continued to lead expeditions and in 2017 joined Bernice Notenboom’s expedition with Martin Hartley to ski the last 2 degrees to the North Pole working with NASA, The European Space Agency and other scientific bodies inserting ice tracker beacons and measuring the snow depth en route to help scientists understand this unique part of the world.

Whilst guiding a film crew in 2018 she continued this work with NOAA and the University of Washington and plans to return in the coming years to continue this important task.

We are delighted that Ann has joined Row Britannia and will be visiting the University of Exeter on Thursday 9th January at 10am or in February before she departs on her forthcoming expedition.

Record Breaking Polar Explorer, Ann Daniels, joins Row Britannia


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