February 15, 2023
We caught up with Louis Rudd amid the polar season, and learnt a little more about his background and how he developed a love for polar exploration.
You've been on epic challenges; what got you into the polar environment?
From a really young age, reading about Captain Scott.
Here’s my story: when I was at school and I got in a spot of trouble, I was sent to see the headmaster. I was going to get caned and I was pretty terrified (I was only around 12). I was sat in this small reception room outside the headmaster's office waiting to go in and be punished. There was a small bookshelf on one side and without paying any particular attention I just grabbed a random book off the shelf as a form of distraction, and it was a little Ladybird book titled Captain Scott. It had all these pictures and was telling the story about Captain Scott and the epic struggle to be the first to the South Pole.
That was my earliest recollection of becoming aware of polar explorers and it really inspired me. I carried on reading about it. Reading that before I went to the headmaster made me think: "If I want to be a rough polar explorer I've got to harden up". It was the first time I became aware of mental resilience. Getting it in perspective. I should have stuck the book down the back of my pants!
I know you went to Antarctica with the military, could you tell us a little about that?
I spent 6 years in the marines, the rest of the time in the SAS - UK special forces. I really enjoyed it and was lucky to come through unscathed unlike a lot of people
I joined the military as a route to adventure. The army was fantastic at supporting several major expeditions to Antarctica. There's a brilliant scheme in the army that a lot of people are not aware of called the ‘Adventure Training Scheme’, which lets you apply to go and do these trips. It builds robustness, mentally and physically, taking on these challenges.
After the first trip my fascination with the place (Antarctica) took over. It feels like a real privilege when you're down there.
We have to ask… What's your favourite Expedition Foods meal?
I absolutely love some of the main meals, like Chicken Tikka with Rice. I really love the Sweet and Sour Chicken as well. I love curries so all of the curry dishes are good, like Chicken Korma. I carry a little pot of curry powder sometimes for Expedition Foods meals that aren't curry-based, so if I end up with spag bol one day, I put a bit of curry powder in it. If I had to pick one out of everything I reckon Chicken Tikka with Rice. Sometimes I have a main meal for breakfast. I always just use Expedition Foods because I've never had a bad meal; they seem to fuel me really well.
In 2018, Louis completed a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, a journey that was previously thought to be impossible. Read more about Louis’ experiences on his website (here) and on the Expedition Foods blog (here).
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