Felicity Aston is the first and only woman in the world to ski across Antarctica alone. The 1,744km, 59-day journey completed in January 2012 also made her the first person in the world to traverse the continent purely by muscle power without the aid of kites or machines. In 2015 she was awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal for services in Antarctica and was appointed MBE for services to Polar Exploration.
In 2009 she led the 38-day, 911km Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, the largest and most international women’s team ever to ski to the South Pole. The team included women from Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, New Zealand. Felicity was responsible for selecting and training this diverse, multicultural team of novice adventurers for one of the most arduous journeys on Earth. Her book about the expedition, ‘Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole’ was published in March 2011 and was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Book Competition. She has written two further books, ‘Alone in Antarctica’ (with a foreword by Joanne Lumley) and ‘Chasing Winter: A journey to the Pole of Cold’.
Previously, Felicity has led several other notable expeditions including the first British women’s crossing of Greenland, a 700km winter crossing of Lake Baikal in a Siberian winter and an adventurous expedition in Iceland for young people with a brain injury. She was also part of the first, ever, all-female team to complete the Polar Challenge, a 500km endurance race to the magnetic north pole, and has completed the notorious Marathon Des Sables, a 150-mile foot race across the Sahara. More recently, Felicity led a 35,000km expedition in a Land Rover Defender to the Pole of Cold (the coldest inhabited place in the world) in the far northeast of Siberia. Felicity has been elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London and is a Fellow of The Explorers Club in New York.
Trained as a Physicist and Meteorologist, Felicity’s first polar experience was as a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey. Based for three years on a remote research station on the Antarctic Peninsula, her job was to monitor climate and ozone. In 2013 she co-presented a two-part series for BBC Science exploring atmospheric physics and cloud science called, ‘Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies’ and in 2016 she co-presented a three-part series for BBC History called ‘Operation Gold Rush’ retracing the route of the 1898 Klondike stampede across the Yukon.
3 words to describe Nature?
Space. Joy. Relentless
3 things Nature taught you?
3 most treasured Nature spots?
Kentish Coast, UK
When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?,
When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?
When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?
When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?
When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?
When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?
Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?
I'm a snow and ice person...be that on the ocean, in the mountains, within a forest or as a desert
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?
Share with us a childhood nature memory?
My childhood home backed onto woodland. When it snowed - a rare event in southern England - the woodland was transformed into a new and magical place. It was so exciting and even though I knew every inch of the woods I would rush to explore this 'new' environment. I was always very conscious it was temporary, that I had to rush to see everything before it all disappeared.