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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