It was a very happy birthday for record-breaking former jockey Richard Dunwoody when he conquered the South Pole via a never-before completed route.

Richard and his team-mate, American explorer Doug Stoup arrived at the South Pole on Friday (18 January) on Richard’s 44th birthday.

Their 680-mile expedition took 48 days in temperatures as low as -45C. In such gruelling conditions both men experienced altitude sickness and snow blindness, as well as losing more than two stone in body weight each.

Richard said: “This has been the hardest thing I have ever undertaken, both physically and mentally, with every day a 12-hour slog, often uphill, on skis and pulling cumbersome sleds [17stone at the outset] that just seemed to get heavier as we got lighter.

“I am exhausted. To finally arrive at the pole is indescribable and my greatest achievement.”

The pair will spend a few days resting at the South Pole station before returning home. Richard’s official charities are SPARKS (Sport Aiding Medical Research for Kids), Racing Welfare and Spinal research.

For more information visit www.beyondshackleton.com