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Blaydon 'Ice Maiden' celebrates Antarctica ski record

Ice Maidens Photo: British Army

By Kris Jepson

An Army officer from Blaydon, Gateshead, is celebrating after her team of 'Ice Maidens' became the largest all-female group to ski coast-to-coast across the Antarctic.

Lt Jenni Stephenson of the Royal Artillery told ITV News Tyne Tees it was "fantastic and exciting to finish" the journey.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

The Ice Maiden team of six soldiers started their 1,000 mile expedition in November last year and each pulled a sledge weighing 80kg behind them.

The team reached the finish line at the Hercules Inlet on Saturday, after 62 days skiing on the ice.

It's a bit of a medley of emotions right now. I don’t think any of us, what we have just done, has sunk in yet, so obviously I'm really excited to finish. Getting to the South Pole, as we skied towards the South Pole I just thought, what on earth is a girl from Blaydon doing skiing to the South Pole? It was ridiculous, a phenomenal moment.

– Lt Jenni Stephenson
South Pole Credit: British Army

The six women went through a rigorous application process, which involved tests in the UK and Norway.

They were chosen from 250 applicants, who are all serving in the Army.

Lt Stephenson said she wanted to inspire women of all ages and abilities.

Even if only one person feels a little bIt more confident about something they’ve never done before, that would mean this would be a huge success. I hope that people see six ordinary women, and I promise we are just ordinary women, going to try and do something a little bit different and I really hope that that encourages people to, not be constrained by where they’re from, or what they have done, or haven’t done and just give things a go.

– Lt Jenni Stephenson
Lt Jenni Stephenson Credit: Family photo