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Leading Arctic explorer shares his story with Chamber members


​The first person to walk to both the North and South Pole shared his story with leaders of some of the North East’s largest businesses and encouraged people to be part of his next Antarctic Expedition.

Robert Swan, who was brought up in County Durham and now lives and works in California, is a passionate advocate for renewable energy to fight Climate Change. He told the story of his treks to the North and South Poles .He also announced for the first time in the UK his 2041 Antarctic ship expedition in November.

Robert was delighted to be home ,albeit virtually on line . His Mother Margaret Swan lives in Wycliffe near Barnard Castle she is 105 Years old and going strong.

He said: “Our planet needs to use cleaner energy to survive Climate change is no longer something we should debate about it is a reality and we have to think about out impact ,each of us.”

For 30 years I have done everything in my power to raise awareness of the need for renewable energy and what it can do, to help protect the planet.

My November Ship based expedition to the Antarctic is open to anyone who wants to learn at first hand the impact of Climate Change and what can combat it successfully. I am particularly keen to have people with me who can come back and share the story of the whole adventure to encourage everyone to learn about sustainable solutions.”You do not have to be an explorer to join us" he said as long as you are healthy and passionate you can come.

Robert Swan’s started his career as an adventurer when he was 23 with a fundraising campaign for his polar trek ambition. The first one was to the South Pole when he was 28 and with his team, he walked 900 miles with no radio or GPS and face temperatures as low as -68 degrees Celsius.

Robert said: “My dream was always to become the first person to walk to both poles so it was then time to head North “ The findings were equally shocking with ice caps melting months earlier than usual, in April, instead of August. This change put my team and I in real danger of drowning and cemented by determination to raise awareness of Climate Change.

Every year Robert and his Son Barney lead an Expedition to the Antarctic involving women and men from Industry and Business and Students. The expedition focus is to encourage, inspire and educate them on how our planet is changing.

In his early career Robert Swan was encouraged by renowned French explorer Jacques Cousteau whose support enable Robert to gain financial help for his missions. The Frenchman told him he should always ensure he only left footprints in the snow not anything else and the advice stayed with Robert. As part of this pledge he organised a team which recycled over 1,500 of metal dumped in Antarctica.

Further information on the trip is available on

He spoke to Chamber Partner members, a group of senior business figures which is chaired by Louise Hunter, director of corporate affairs, Northumbrian Water.