SPORTSMAN-turned-adventurer Richard Parks, who was attempting to ski solo from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, has been forced to abandon his efforts.

Facing some of the worst weather conditions western Antarctica had seen in years, Parks, a former Monmouth School pupil who went on to represent Wales in rugby union, cut short his solo expedition on the 17th day. He had already covered a distance of 306 miles.

Parks' body was reported to be showing significant strain, following two weeks of pushing hard to keep within touching distance of the solo coast to pole world speed record.

He was collected by plane from the ice on Friday evening and taken back to Union Glacier Base Camp, the logistical and operations hub in Antarctica.

Since then he has been resting and eating, before being flown off the continent to Chile, arriving there in the early hours of this morning after a month on the frozen continent.

After arriving, Parks said: “It’s very weird to be back in Chile, I feel absolutely wrecked after a long night travelling but I am doing okay all things considered.”

Despite suffering foot problems, Parks has managed to avoid any form of frostbite.

“I definitely made the right decisions out there,” said Richard, who lost 9 kilograms during the expedition.

Parks turned to feats of endurance when injury ended his rugby career. In 2011, he became the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents and stand at the north and south pole within the same calendar year.