British Explorer and Polar Adventurer, Louis Rudd MBE FRGS, joins the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Louis has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Louis is a record-breaking polar adventurer, expedition leader, former Royal Marine Commando and SAS soldier, with 34 years of service. He is the first – and only – person to have traversed Antarctica twice using human power alone, and has reached the South Pole three times from different coastal start points. He is a member of the exclusive Explorers Club, A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Published Author and accomplished Public Speaker.
“Throughout my military career, work with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and veterans, and my polar expeditions, I have first-hand experience why maintaining good mental health and fitness is vital to our overall wellbeing. I am also aware, through my work with schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK, that there has been a steady increase in the number of students and young adults who needaccess to mental health support. In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, we must act now In order to avoid long-term effects on young adult mental health. I applaud The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) for striving to unite the charity, education and sport sectors through their BRIT Challenges. Their vision to deliver an annual BRIT Challenge, for UK universities and colleges, is already having a positive UK-wide impact on young adult mental health and fitness; over the past two years, over 160 university and college teams have taken part in their BRIT Challenges. For a charity with no staff and minimal funding, this is an extraordinary achievement. The annual BRIT Challenge is an inclusive feel-good fundraiser and has been designed to enable students and young adults of all abilities to take part wherever they are (at home or on campus). The BRIT Challenge is free to enter and all that universities, colleges and students’ unions need to do is enter a team and promote the opportunity to participate so that their students and staff can be empowered and encouraged to take part.
I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and hope my fellow Explorers and Adventurers will join me as BRIT Ambassadors to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK; with physical visits being postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, BRIT Ambassador support is virtual and inspiration is delivered through video clips and social media engagement. This is a great time to get out and cover distance towards a team 2,021 mile target; I look forward to encouraging students and staff at Herefordshire and Ludlow College and Hereford College of Arts and as they complete their 2,021 miles and fundraising targets. I also hope that Royal Marine Commando units will enter teams and compete to cover the 2,021 mile distance before the 1st July 2021".
Louis’ first trip to Antarctica was in 2011/12 on the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race Expedition. Along with Lt Col Henry Worsley MBE, Polar Medal, he skied 800 miles over 67 days unsupported from the Bay of Whales, up the Axel Heiberg Glacier to the South Pole, following the original route of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen. The expedition raised £150,000 for the Royal British Legion charity.
In 2016/17, Louis planned and led a team of five Army Reservists on a 67-day, 1,100-mile traverse of Antarctica. The SPEAR17 Expedition started at Hercules Inlet, skied 700 miles unsupported to the South Pole, collected a resupply and then crossed the Titan Dome and descended the Shackleton Glacier before arriving on the Ross Ice Shelf. The expedition won multiple awards including the Sun Military Award (Millie) for ‘Inspiring Others’ and in 2018, Louis was awarded an MBE for his leadership on the journey. The team raised £50,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
In May 2018, Louis guided a team of five civilian friends on a 570km west-to-east traverse of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Despite a difficult season and hurricane-strength winds, the team completed the crossing in 27 days. In 2018/19, Louis undertook the ‘Spirit of Endurance’ expedition which was a 56-day, 920-mile solo unsupported (no kites or resupply) crossing of the Antarctic continental land mass, becoming the first Briton and second ever in the world to complete this journey. He is the first person to traverse Antarctica twice on foot. Post-expedition, he completed a 5-month schools programme on behalf of the Army, lecturing on his military career and life of adventure. He was honoured to receive the Scientific Exploration Society’s ‘Explorer of the Year 2019’ award.
As well as conducting his own expeditions, Louis now focuses on consulting for others undertaking their own polar journeys, including specialist training and expedition management, as well as offering speaking engagements on leadership and the lessons from his Antarctic and military experiences. He is an Ambassador for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Director of Expeditions for Shackleton London.
For more information on Louis, please visit his website. Louis is on Twitter @louisruddmbe and Instagram @louisrudd where you can follow his forthcoming expeditions that will take place in November 2021 and February 2022.