Byline: VICKY SPAVIN
AN Arctic fox has saved daredevil polar explorer Dave Mill's life.
Dave feared he would have to abandon his expedition when he came across a huge area of treacherous thin ice.
Conquering the 500-mile stretch from Canada to the Pole proved too much for great explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who was forced to turn back last year.
Dave, from Kenmore, Perthshire, thought he too was doomed to fail but, thanks to the fox, he is now just 36 days away from becoming the first man to make the arduous trek.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Record on his satellite phone, Dave, 33, said: "I looked at the pack ice and thought, 'I don't like the look of that'.
"Then I spotted the fox tracks. I studied them and it seemed he had taken it nice and easy. I decided the ice must be pretty safe.
"It was amazing. Within half an hour I was across the worst bit but if I'd made the wrong decision I could have found myself in extreme danger."
Dave plans to plant a Daily Record flag when he completes the trip - one of the world's last great challenges. He is clocking up 12 hours a day on the ice, despite freezing conditions.
Temperatures have fallen to minus 40C and, with just 50 days' food, every second counts.
Dave - who is sponsored by Dewar's World of Whisky at Aberfeldy - is no stranger to the Arctic, having spent 35 days as support to Fiennes.
Remembering last year, when he was forced to turn back by a radio failure, he said: "I could've gone on longer but it would've created a serious problem.
"The chances of finding me on the ice would have been very slim. But even then there was a part of me that didn't want to stop.
"It's hard to give up when something's beyond your control."
This time round, Dave is certain he will make it.
He said: "Whether you are a tough individual or not you have got to think …