Blue Peter presenter cycles to the South Pole
Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton (28) has completed her gruelling 500-mile trek across Antarctica for Sport Relief 2012. Travelling on skis and by kite, she also became the first person to use a bike as part of an expedition to the Pole. After 18-days of battling with snowstorms, temperatures as low as minus 48 degrees Celsius, not to mention numerous blisters, a cough and dehydration, she eventually reached the South Pole at 11.40pm on Sunday, and celebrated by planting a Sport Relief flag and a Blue Peter flag to mark the spot.
In that time she completed 103 miles (7 days) on the snow bike; and 68 miles (3 days) on skis; and 239 miles (8 days) by kite-assisted ski. She also set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest 100km travelled by kite ski in just 7 hours and 28 minutes. She spent a total of 30 nights camping on ice, ate over 50 rations of dehydrated food, used 15 metres of medical tape on her blister-covered feet and had just one wash (with a sock and bucket of cold water).
On arrival at the Pole, she said: ‘This has been a massive adventure and at times it felt like it was never going to end… My body hurts in so many different places and mentally I’m exhausted… so to be finally standing at the Pole feels incredible.”
The feisty Blue Peter presenter is no new-comer to extreme challenges: she kayaked 2,010 miles down the Amazon River for Sport Relief in 2010, achieving two Guinness World Records, and became the first person to high-wire walk between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station for Red Nose Day last February.
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes paid tribute to her latest achievement, remarking: ‘I take my hat off to Helen Skelton. I have to admit when she first told me that she was going to cycle part of the way to the South Pole, I laughed. But through pure grit and determination she has got there and shown that yes you can use a bike to reach the Pole. Her incredible efforts are a great example of willpower.’
Here are some highlights of the expedition:
You can read Helen’s diary of her polar expedition at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/diaries/helen-skeltons-polar-challenge-for-sport-relief or watch the special nine week series starting on Blue Peter today on BBC One at 4.30pm.