Royal Marine to embark on epic trip

A ROYAL Marine from Suffolk is hoping to make history when he sets off on an epic trip crossing almost 1,500 miles to reach one of the most inhospitable places in the world.

By John Howard

A ROYAL Marine from Suffolk is hoping to make history when he sets off on an epic trip crossing almost 1,500 miles to reach one of the most inhospitable places in the world.

Major Paul Mattin, 39, who is originally from Melton, near Woodbridge, is one of four members of the Polar Quest team who are bidding to conquer the South Pole without dogs or vehicles on a Royal Navy expedition.

The team, led by his colleague Captain Sean Chapple, will attempt to make the first British military return journey to the South Pole in history. They will use kites to pull them wearing skis and will use sledges on the return leg.


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The adventurers also hope to become the first Royal Marines to walk unsupported to the South Pole and will be following in the footsteps of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, whose famous venture in 1912 was the last time service personnel were involved in a trip to the South Pole.

Departing from Patriot Hills in Antarctica, each man will pull a sledge weighing more than 20st, which will contain everything they need to survive.

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The team will ski for up to 50 days to reach their destination and on arrival, which is planned for Christmas Day, will hold a memorial service in recognition of the endeavours of Captain Scott and others who have undertaken such expeditions in the past.

Major Mattin now lives near Exeter with wife Nicky, has three sons Zack, 10, James, eight, and Benji, six. His parents, Roger and Judy, still live in Melton.

The major went to Farlinghaye School, Woodbridge, before joining the marines when he was just 16. He is a veteran of service in Northern Ireland, Belize, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan and a keen skier and mountaineer.

The team will use three sizes of kite with the smallest for the strongest winds and the largest for lightest winds. The air temperature will average about in the teens in Celsius and reach as low as -40C at night.

Major Mattin said: “This will certainly be a test of physical endurance, but the mental side will be just as hard with the austere landscape proving difficult to maintain your concentration.

“The cold will also cause debilitating cuts and blisters. A vital part of the exercise is nutrition in the extreme cold while pulling heavy sleds. We have to eat the right food to consume 5,500 calories a day -

the normal level is half that.

“Also, although not as high, the atmosphere is as thin as on Mont Blanc, so we will have to work harder than at normal sea level. However, we have an excellent team spirit and the military sense of humour will get us through the toughest periods.”

The team will send daily updates to the Polar Quest website www.polarquest.co.uk and people will be able to register for regular news on the team's progress.

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