Polar Stroke: tackling adversity

Imagine the elation of completing a perilous trek to the North Pole, only to have your whole world shattered with a terrifying stroke.

Friday, 11th March 2016, 11:09 am
Updated Friday, 11th March 2016, 1:24 pm
David Aston at the North Pole

For 47-year-old DavidAston, from Peebles, this is his reality.

In his newly published book, Polar Stroke, David has documented his experience of having his life turned upside down after completing an expedition to the North Pole.

He said: “It was on Christmas Day 2014 that I decided to write the book and from there it’s grown day by day.”

David Aston with his new book Polar Stroke

The book begins with David’s incredible journey to the top of the world.

A chartered accountant living in Winchester with his wife, Jacki, David needed a new challenge.

“It was about 11 years ago in 2005 that I made it to the North Pole.

“I needed something that would really push my physical ability and it certainly did that.”

David Aston in his tent during an expedition to the North Pole

David trained hard for 18 months in preparation for the trek that he completed with teammates Alex and Charlie.

Once back home, David struggled to return to his day-to-day life and alongside wife Jacki, lived and worked in various locations including Cape Town in South Africa before ending up back in southern England.

Their lives came to a sudden halt in 2013 when David was involved in a horrific car crash, inducing a stroke that left him with cognitive impairment and restricted movement.

He said: “Since the stroke around a third of my brain power has burnt out. Things that I didn’t even think about doing before now take a lot more time and energy and there was no chance I could stay at work.

The tent that David Aston camped in at the North Pole

“I’m very thankful for my North Pole training because I’ve been able to use some of the skills I learnt along the way like how to stay warm.”

A few months into his recovery, the couple moved to Peebles where nurse Jacki has some family and life is cheaper.

Talking about the book- writing process David said: “It’s taken me a while to complete because I can only really do one hour of writing a day.

“I did as much as possible, but there is only so much the stroke will allow.”

David Aston with his new book Polar Stroke

“It’s extremely frustrating not being able to work so this was a new adventure for me to do something with my time.

“As an accountant, I was used to working with numbers every day, so it was strange switching to words but I really enjoyed it.

“It’s something that I’m very proud of because it’s the first thing I’ve started and finished since the stroke.

“Although the stroke has got me, I’ve got my memories and this book and I’m glad I seized the day and went to the North Pole when I did because I wouldn’t be able to now.”

Polar Stroke is available to buy on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback.

David Aston in his tent during an expedition to the North Pole
The tent that David Aston camped in at the North Pole