The Polar Adventures of a World Record-Breaking Woman.
'We called ourselves Plebs to the Pole. It was the first time travellers with no previous polar experience had the chance to attempt such a journey. Before our expedition, Antarctica had been sacred territory - the preserve of scientists and real explorers. No one had any idea how amateurs would perform in such extreme conditions.'
Catharine Hartley, a young woman with no previous polar experience, broke three world records when she took part in the first extreme tourism expedition to the Arctic and Antarctic in 1999 and 2001. Along with her companion Fiona Thornewill, Catharine became the first British woman to walk to the South and then North Pole and the first woman of any nationality to have man-hauled her sled to both.
When Catharine listed walking to the South Pole among her New Year's resolutions, her friends reacted with scepticism and laughter for she is not your usual polar explorer complete with beard and grim toughness. This is the story of a thirty-something city girl who leaves behind a life of failed relationships, too many cigarettes and alcohol-fuelled dreams, in search of respect, success, herself.
'To The Poles Without A Beard' is a wonderfully humorous and inspiring tale of an ordinary woman's quest to achieve the impossible. Taking us through the highs (the unparalleled beauty of Antarctica and the exhilaration of success) and the lows (fundraising, frostbite, hypothermia, fatigue . . .) Catharine's story is an example to anyone who has ever wanted to make their dream - however implausible - a reality.