AN INTREPID former Basingstoke student is gearing up to attempt to become one of the first-ever people to walk to the South Pole via the Scott route, completely unsupported.

Joe Doherty is spending the next five years training for the challenge, before setting off with five other members of Hampshire Scout Expeditions (HSX) on the perilous journey.

The 20-year-old former Queen Mary’s College student will go on various practise expeditions in Norway, Greenland and Alaska, before attempting the world record in November 2018.

The group, who range in age from 19 to 23, will spend Christmas and New Year in Alaska before returning in February, hopefully having completed the journey.

Joe, who works at Calshot Activities Centre as a climbing instructor and who is a quarter-master with HSX, said: “It is dangerous. We will be out there unsupported and no one can come and rescue us if something goes wrong.

“If you lose a glove, you will get frostbite within 15 seconds. If your stove fails, you will die because you can’t get any water. We will take five just in case.

“There are a lot of things that can go wrong. We are going to take a lot of food with us and then dump food on the way so we can pick it up on the way back. But we might not find it. It does worry us, but who dares wins. You have to have the attitude that you can do it.”

The expedition is expected to cost £80,000 per person, which will be raised through sponsorship, with the hope that businesses will help fund the trip in return for having their logo on the team members’ equipment.

Joe, who now lives in Andover and who used to be an Explorer Scout in Basingstoke, is leading the team, said: “The HSX has a track record of being able to accomplish these expeditions, and we have a big support team. It’s about 90 per cent planning – five years of planning and four months of trekking. I’m very excited about it.”