Couple Head for Amazing Challenge; North Adventurer Who Conquered the Poles Now Plans to Be First to Cross Lake Baikal, the Blue Eye of Siberia Explorer Conrad Dickinson Today Reveals to the Journal Where His Next Trip Will Take Him

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Byline: Hayley Beattie reports.

RECORD-breaking polar explorer Conrad Dickinson is preparing for another daredevil adventure next year when he attempts to cross the world's largest freshwater lake.

In an exclusive interview with The Journal, Mr Dickinson, of Causey Hill, Hexham, Northumberland, said he would be leading an expedition in March to attempt a 400-mile winter journey across remote and frozen Lake Baikal, known as the blue eye of Siberia.

The expedition will be a truly North-Eastern affair as he will be joined by his wife Hilary, 53, Anton Baird, 44, of Jesmond, Newcastle, and Alistair Gutherie, 36, who lives near Allen Banks, Bardon Mill, Northumberland.

They will attempt to cross the lake, which is 26 times bigger than England's largest natural lake, Windermere, unsupported and in just 30 days.

Camping on the frozen lake, which is more than a mile deep, they will have to cope with winds of up to 100mph and temperatures as low as - 25C, while pulling a provision-laden sledge weighing 100kg. And with glass-like sheets of ice, getting traction on the incredibly smooth surface is going to be one of the main challenges facing the group.

The 51-year-old walked into the history books earlier this year when he knocked 10 days off the British record for the fastest unsupported 482-mile trek in snowshoes to the geographic North Pole.

He is also the first Brit to have completed the polar grand slam, having also crossed Greenland, and he and Hilary became the first British couple to ski unsupported to the South Pole.

The former Army officer said: "I'm always looking for that next challenge and this one is going to be really tough, but if we complete it, it will be a world first."

Passionate about the North-East, he has also received the support of a number of regional businesses, including Berghaus, and said he is hoping the trip will demonstrate what he describes as the northern spirit. …