Berkshire

Newbury mother trains in freezer for South Pole trek

Julie Ashmore from Newbury outside the freezer
Image caption Julie Ashmore will be embarking on her South Pole expedition in January

A Berkshire woman who calls herself "an average working mum-of-two" is spending 24 hours in an industrial freezer to prepare for a South Pole expedition.

Julie Ashmore, from Newbury, is in training ahead of a 22-day trek to mark the 100th anniversary of polar explorer Captain Scott's ill-fated 1912 expedition.

Leaving on 1 January 2012, she is part of a team of four who are all camping in the freezer in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on Saturday.

The group will emerge on Sunday at 11:00 GMT.

Before entering the freezer, situated on a food manufacturer's site, Mrs Ashmore said: "It's not my usual weekend I have to say, I'm usually dropping kids off at swimming, football and dance clubs.

"It's going to be very interesting, it's the closest I can get to spending time in the South Pole."

The freezer is a 40ft by 8ft (12m by 2.5m) container with no windows and only one door.

The temperature will be similar to that of the South Pole in January - about -25C (-13F).

The team will be sharing a three-man tent among the frozen foods stored inside.

Mrs Ashmore met expedition leader Neil Laughton by chance after she had the idea to go on a polar expedition.

She said: "I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year because I fancied myself as a bit of a mountaineer but I discovered that altitude and I don't really mix.

"So I thought if I can't do mountains, why not think of something a little bit flatter."

Capt Scott's party died in the antarctic as they tried to return to base, short of supplies and suffering from starvation and hypothermia.

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