If there’s a case to be made for nominative determinism – the theory that your name may have a significant role in shaping aspects of job, profession, or character – then Stewart Edge may be Exhibit A.
The 37-year-old Wapping adventurer pushes himself to extremes, conquering Everest in 2011 and, in his latest triumph, reaching the South Pole – the hard way.
Stewart and experienced Canadian polar guide Devon McDiarmid, 40, set out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica and spent 48 gruelling days covering 1,101 nautical miles on skis – from the Weddell Coast to the Pole – and back again
The construction manager, who has worked on towers that make up the London skyline, also raised money for charity Starlight’s seriously and terminally ill children.
Stewart said: “I’d always wanted to reach the South Pole, but flying back almost seemed like cheating – the likes of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen had to get themselves back to the coast as well and I liked the idea of that.
“Finding the right team was probably one of the toughest challenges. To date about 300 people have skied to the Pole, but only 27 have ever done a traverse.
“We were joined for a large part of the expedition by Mostafa Salameh who became the first Jordanian and Shahrom Abdullah the first Malaysian to ever ski to the Pole on our expedition. However, they left Devon and I to the kite skiing which requires a great deal of experience – we were kite skiing up to 120miles a day reaching speeds of 20knots.”
Stewart and Devon spent two years planning the expedition, but nothing could fully prepare them for the conditions.
The team were pushed to the limits by temperatures that fell as low as -50C as they kite skied for up to 18 hours a day, crossing treacherous snow-filled crevasses.
Stewart said: “There were some extremely tough and sometimes scary moments, but it never crossed my mind to give up. I actually enjoyed it too much to ever want to quit and the thought of helping seriously ill children kept me going.
“I can’t thank my family, friends and girlfriend Islay enough for allowing me to pursue my dreams and take on this challenge. I know how much they worry when I’m away.
“But the challenges we faced on the expedition is nothing compared to some of the challenges Starlight’s seriously and terminally ill children face daily and if we’ve helped brighten their lives just a little, then that’s the real achievement.”
Stewart now looks forward to “doing some real work for a while again” but he doesn’t discount further adventures close to the edge.
He said: “There are always plenty of new ideas cropping up in my head. The world is a big place with lots of adventures to be had.”