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Adventurer Mollie Hughes in solo South Pole ski bid

Adventurer Mollie Hughes will leave for the South Pole in November in her record-breaking bid Photo: Mike Wilkinson/PA

Adventurer Mollie Hughes has announced a bid to become the youngest woman ever to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole.

The challenge will see Hughes travel across 702 miles of Antarctica, aiming to reach the South Pole by New Year’s Day.

The Devon-born mountaineer, who lives in Edinburgh, became the youngest person to have successfully climbed both the north and south sides of Mount Everest in 2017, aged 26.

Her next adventure will begin in mid-November, when she leaves from Hercules Inlet in Western Antarctica.

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If successful, Hughes will be the youngest woman by four years to achieve the feat.

The current record is held by Johanna Davidson from Sweden, who was 33 when she completed the same route solo and unsupported.

Temperatures will be around minus 50C, and she faces hauling her 75kg sled across crevasse fields while also negotiating 6ft “waves” of snow.

Hughes, who is seeking to raise £100,000 for the expedition, aims to raise awareness of The Polar Academy, a youth mental health charity for which she was recently appointed a guide.

She said: “I’m fully aware that to ski solo 702 miles through the world’s coldest and most unforgiving terrain will require immense mental and physical strength.

“To date, records show that only six women and 17 men have ever completed the Hercules Inlet route on skis, alone and without resupply.

“Aside from the unrelenting cold, I envisage my constant battle with facing all the challenges on my own will be the toughest challenge down there.”

Hughes has been hauling tyres across a beach as part of her training Credit: Mike Wilkinson/PA

As part of her preparations, Hughes will undertake a two-week expedition in Arctic Norway in March followed by 15 days on the ice of Eastern Greenland.

She is being advised by The Polar Academy founder Craig Mathieson, who led Scotland’s first dedicated expedition to the South Pole in 2004.

Mathieson said: “I have no doubt that she has the skills and mental toughness to achieve her goal.

“Success will further underline Mollie’s credentials as an inspirational explorer and as a role model for young people in Scotland and throughout the world.”