British explorer proclaimed 1st at pole

Oct. 18, 2006 at 1:55 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Britain's Royal Geographical Society claims that Scottish explorer Sir Wally Herbert was the first person to reach the North Pole by surface travel.

Herbert traveled by dogsled from Alaska to Spitzbergen and then to the pole in 1969.

The U.S. explorer Robert Peary is officially credited with reaching the North Pole 60 years earlier. But critics have suggested that Peary never got all the way north, although his claim is still endorsed by the National Geographic Society in the United States.

The British group plans to honor Herbert Wednesday at its headquarters, the Glasgow Herald said.

"I will say that Peary's navigation was flawed, that he did not reach the North Pole and that the first man to do so was Wally when he set off from Alaska and walked to Spitsbergen," said Robin Hanbury Tenison, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. "It will upset the Americans rather but they don't know about it yet."

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