UK & World News

  • 3 December 2013, 21:36

Harry Wishes Rowers Luck From South Pole

Prince Harry has taken time out of his Walking with the Wounded South Pole Challenge to phone a team of able-bodied and injured servicemen preparing to row across the Atlantic.

In a call made from inside his tent at the start line of the 210-mile polar charity trek, Prince Harry told the four-strong Row2Recovery team, two of whom are amputees: "Good luck and have a safe trip."

The Apache helicopter pilot joked in his satellite phone call to the rowers at their base camp in the Canary Islands that his challenge was far more testing than theirs.

Wrapped up against the cold, he said: "It's minus 30 (degrees Celsius) here - apparently it's plus 30 where you are."

When one of the rowing team joked that their challenge was "a little bit further than your walk", Harry responded: "Yeah, but rowing 3,000 miles is a hell of a lot easier than walking 300km by the way. FYI."

His quip was met with laughter by the rowers, who gathered around their phone in bright sunshine - in stark contrast to the freezing conditions Harry is in.

Harry is taking part in the gruelling expedition alongside Sergeant Duncan Slater, Captain Guy Disney, Captain Ibrar Ali MC and Major Kate Philp,

When the rowers conceded the fourth-in-line to the throne had his work cut out with a broken toe, he replied: "I'm not really allowed to talk about my broken toe next to people like (Guy) Disney, who's only got one leg."

"Have a really good time, sure we'll see you in three months and you'll sail through, bar the 50ft waves", said the Prince, who also warned them to "avoid the occasional great white shark coming underneath the boat".

Both the Atlantic and Antarctica challenges are supported byThe Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess ofCambridge and Prince Harry through their Endeavour Fund.

Harry is racing with a team of injured British servicemen and women against United States and Commonwealth groups in an expedition organised by the Walking With The Wounded charity.

After day two of the South Pole Allied Challenge, Prince Harry and the UK team have opened up a nearly a mile lead over the US and Commonwealth teams.

Hollywood actor Alexander Skarsgard, star of the hit HBO series True Blood, is heading the US team and English actor Dominic West, from the popular series The Wire, is racing alongside the Commonwealth team.

Trekking around 15km to 20km (nine to 12 miles) a day, the teams will endure temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius and 50mph winds as they pull their 70kg sleds towards the southernmost point on the globe.

In addition, the terrain made up of sastrugi - sharp irregular grooves in the snow caused by wind erosion - is making the skiing particularly difficult.

The Prince, who took part in the Walking With The Wounded trek to the North Pole in 2011 for five days, is patron of the Antarctica expedition.

The teams are due to arrive at the South Pole in mid-December.