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Coldest Journey begins

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has departed London for a research trip to Antarctica. His icebreaker set sail from London Bridge for the six-month trip called The Coldest Journey.

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Ice breaker ship arrives in London

An ice breaker is now moored on the Thames.

The ship is here to stock up on supplies, before taking the renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the South Pole.

He's aiming to complete the first crossing of the Antarctic during a polar winter. The details now from Martin Stew.

Now, here's Martin Stew's thoughts on the new ship.

It's been cold in London over the weekend with temperaturesdropping below freezing and harsh frosts - but surely not cold enough to needan ice-breaking ship? Yet that's exactly what we've had being towed along theThames this afternoon.

S.A.Agulhas is a South African ship which will (eventually) be bound for Antarctica. It's in the capital today to be loaded with supplies for Sir Ranulph Fiennes' latest polar expedition, "The Coldest Journey on earth".

Sir Ranulph's team of six men are hoping to be the first to cross the Antarctic during the winter months. If you thought it was cold in Clapham or chilly in Catford last night spare a thought for what they'll be facing.

Temperatures dipping down to -80 degrees centigrade (with wind chill making that feel like -120!).

To makes matters worse the majority of their journey will be done in the dark as there are only a few hours of light each day.

What's all that got to do with London? Well, the expedition is being organised with help from various countries around the commonwealth. London has been the operation centre bringing cutting edge technology, expertise and funding together.

S.A.Agulhas is here to stock up and also to hosts parties for those who have made the trip possible - and help raise awareness for the charity 'Seeing is Believing'.

Agulhas and her brave (and foolhardy) crew will set sail for Antarica on thursday, I wish them luck!

Martin.

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