Many of you will have wondered how touch this is given my eyesight so I wanted to try and describe as best I can the particular challenges I face. I am fortunate to the extent that I still have some sight left. This allows me to appreciate the beauty of Antarctica but it limits me to the extent to which I need to lean on my team mates. The best way I can describe it is like looking through frosted glass with a blind spot in the centre. On practical terms it means I am able to ski relatively unaided, as long as I stick right behind the person who is leading, I guess the silver lining to my situation is that I get out of doing any navigation! However once visibility decreases or terrain changes from flat to sastrugi or there are any sharp drops I have to reach out to Richard, Andrew and Hannah.
Perhaps the larger challenge is the more mundane things, for example I cannot see any detail on small things like the clips on some parts of the tent, arranging my harness and helping with parts of the cooking. With cooking, I cannot read what I put out for dinner so I end up putting out the same beef stew as the past 4 nights, now beef stew is a good meal, but one that loses its novelty value after 4 days!
Thinking about particular challenge I face I constantly remind myself nothing compares to those that have more pronounced sight loss on a daily basis. I should also acknowledge Mark Pollock who is completely blind, Mark took part in a polar race in 2009, whilst our challenges are different i.e. mine is coast to pole, I can only imagine how much of a challenge he faced with no sight at all.
Finally as I contemplate on the last push I hope that what we are doing will give inspiration and motivation to all those that are following us, from Sight Savers, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Perkins and the Carroll centre and others. Speaking to many blind and partially sighted in our calls from Antarctica it is very uplifting to hear their own dreams and hear the confidence in their voices, I hope we can help in some small way to achieve their own ambitions, just as talking to them has inspired us to reach the pole.