A BEWDLEY adventurer returning from a gruelling expedition had his welcome home wrecked by mindless vandals who slashed the tyres of the family’s cars, preventing his wife and children from greeting him at the airport.
Sebastian Coulthard, who was part of an intrepid crew that retraced the epic sea and land route taken by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton nearly 100 years ago, was left “gutted” when his wife Tamara and two children were unable to make his homecoming at Heathrow airport, on February 25.
Callous vandals slashed all the tyres on both of their Ford Focus estate cars days before Mr Coulthard, of Springhill Rise, landed in the UK, after five weeks completing the Trans-Antarctic expedition.
“I was pretty gutted about it,” said Mr Coulthard. “I had just completed this trip and we were receiving letters from leaders of governments and members of the Royal family, telling us what good work we were doing and I come home and find my wife being subject to crime.”
The vandalism has not blighted the 30-year-old’s excitement at being part of the first team to succeed in recreating the original expedition, using an identical vessel and equipment.
The crew of six sailed 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island, off the coast of Antarctica, to South Georgia – the same location where Shackleton and his men landed their open boat, JamesCaird, in1916.
Shackleton and his crew had lost their exploration ship, Endurance, to ice and were stranded for about five months until the melting ice finally released them into the Southern Ocean.
Mr Coulthard described the trip as the hardest thing he had ever done, adding he did it for the challenge and his love for adventure.
“It was hard work and amazingly on the 11th day there it was – the island just appeared out of the mist,” he said. “ Everyone was excited, elated and emotional.”
He added the most frightening moment was when they came close to being smashed on to rocks.
“It was at that point the support vessel radioed in and said ‘if you cannot do this then we cannot come and get you’ so we were in a position where it was either submerge on the rocks or sink. Then the experience became very real,” he said.
“All of a sudden the wind started blowing in the right direction and we landed at exactly the same spot where Shackleton landed in 1916 – Peggotty Bluff.”
Mr Coulthard caught the fungal infection, trench foot, so was left behind with three others while the other crew members tackled the rugged peaks of South Georgia, before they all paid their respects at Shackleton’s grave.
He arrived back in Bewdley last week and the vintage outfit he wore will be on display at Bewdley Museum in the summer.
Anyone with information about the tyre incident, on February 21, should contact police on101.