Felicity Aston

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Felicity Aston

Felicity Aston portrait.JPG
Born (1977-10-07) 7 October 1977 (age 45)[1]
Alma materUniversity College London (BSc) University of Reading (MSc)
AwardsMember of the Order of the British Empire (2015)
Polar medal (2015)
Scientific career

Felicity Ann Dawn Aston MBE FRGS (born 7 October 1977) is a British explorer, author and former climate scientist.

Early life and career[edit]

Originally from Birchington-on-Sea, Kent,[2] Aston went to Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls and was educated at University College London (BSc) and Reading University (MSc in applied meteorology).[3]

Between 2000 and 2003, Felicity Aston was the senior meteorologist at Rothera Research Station located on Adelaide Island off the Antarctic Peninsula operated by the British Antarctic Survey, monitoring climate and ozone. As was usual at the time for British Antarctic Survey staff, she spent three summers and two winters continuously at the station without leaving the Antarctic.

Exploration and racing[edit]

Aston in Antarctica

In 2005, she joined a race across Arctic Canada to the 1996 position of the North Magnetic Pole, known as the Polar Challenge. She was part of the first all-female team to complete this race; they came in 6th place out of 16 teams.[4]

In 2006, Aston was part of the first all-female British expedition across the Greenland ice sheet.[5]

In 2009, she was the team leader of the Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, which was a Commonwealth of Nations expedition in which seven women from six Commonwealth member countries skied to the South Pole in 2009 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth.[6][7] Call of the White: Taking the world to the South Pole is her account of this expedition.[8] It was published by Summersdale in 2011 and was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Book Competition in that year.[9]

In 2012, she became the first person to ski alone across the Antarctic land-mass using only personal muscle power, as well as the first woman to cross the Antarctic land-mass alone.[10][11] Her journey began on 25 November 2011, at the Leverett Glacier and continued for 59 days and a distance of 1,084 miles (1,744 kilometres).[12] She had two supply drops.[12] She said, 'The fact that I had crossed Antartica. despite the tears and the fear and the alone-ness, deepened my belief that we are each far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Our bodies are stronger and our minds more resilient than we could ever imagine.'[13]

In 2018 she led the an all-women EuroArabian expedition to the North Pole, which included the mountaineer Asma Al Thani, who became the first Qatari person to ski there.[14]

Aston has also walked across the ice of Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and oldest lake, and completed the Marathon des Sables.[4][15] As of July 2020, she has started preparing for a B.I.G (Before It's Gone) North Pole 2022 expedition, with five other women, to research Arctic sea ice.[16][17]

Positions and awards[edit]

She is an official ambassador for both the British Antarctic Monument Trust[18] and the Equaladventure charity,[19] and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Canterbury Christ Church University for her exploration achievements.[20] She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and The Explorers Club.[21] In 2016 she co-presented a television history programme series about the 1898 Klondyke Gold Rush.[22] Her photo-portrait by Anita Corbin was one of the 100 First Women Portraits at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter.[23]

Aston was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE),[24] and awarded the Polar Medal in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to polar exploration.[25][26][27]

Personal life[edit]

She lives in Iceland and farms eider ducks on an island in the Arctic Westfjords, is married and has a son.[28]


  1. ^ WingsWorldQuest biography
  2. ^ Booth, Robert (23 January 2012). "Briton Felicity Aston becomes first to manually ski solo across Antarctica". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  3. ^ SoapboxScience, Alex Jackson and. "An Intrepid Look at Winter with Climate Scientist and Adventurer Felicity Aston". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Felicity Aston Antarctic Scientist and Polar Explorer". Spellbound Talks. 29 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  5. ^ "The Arctic Circle". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Sept femmes arrivent au Pôle Sud après un trek de 900 km" [Seven women arrive at South Pole after trek of 900 km]. Nouvel Observateur (in French). 31 December 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Burgess, Kelly (13 December 2009). "Women complete 562-mile ski journey to South Pole". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  8. ^ Aston, Felicity (2011). Call of the white : taking the world to the South Pole : eight women, one unique expedition. Chichester: Summersdale Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84839-463-6. OCLC 808343782.
  9. ^ "2011 BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK COMPETITION -FINALISTS". Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Warren, Michael (23 January 2012). "First woman to cross Antarctica solo sets two records". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  11. ^ "First female to ski solo across Antarctica". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b "British adventurer Felicity Aston caps first ski crossing of Antarctica by woman". ESPN. Associated Press. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  13. ^ Frostrup, Mariella (2019). "Alone in Antartica". Wild women and their Amazing Adventures over Land, Sea and Air. London: Anima. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-78854-000-1. OCLC 1193412895.
  14. ^ "Sheikha Asma al-Thani becomes first Qatari to ski to North Pole". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 29 April 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  15. ^ Lab, Adventure (13 December 2011). "Expedition Watch: Felicity Aston's Solo Crossing of Antarctica". The Outside Blog. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  16. ^ @NatGeoUK (2 July 2020). "Why we travel: Felicity Aston on the power of polar regions to teach vital conservation lessons". National Geographic. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  17. ^ "The B.I.G North Pole 2022 Expedition: In Conversation With Felicity Aston, MBE". whitefeatherfoundation.com. 24 June 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  18. ^ "British Antarctic Monument Trust – Ambassadors". antarctic-monument.org. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Equal Adventure". Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  20. ^ "First woman to ski across Antarctica alone awarded Honorary Doctorate". canterbury.ac.uk. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Felicity Aston MBE – Keynote Speaker". London Speaker Bureau. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Felicity Aston". The Proust Nature Questionnaire. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Q&A with Felicity Aston MBE, British polar explorer". VASW. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Antarctic explorer honoured by Queen". Kent Online. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  25. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N16.
  26. ^ 2015 New Year Honours List Archived 2 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Felicity Aston appointed MBE and awarded Polar Medal". antarctic-monument.org. Retrieved 12 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ Aston, Felicity. "A new life in Iceland farming nature's warmest material - Geographical Magazine". geographical.co.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2021.