Helen Skelton’s South Pole adventure

Even though we may be a little old for Blue Peter these days, we’re still aware of the blonde bombshell that is Helen Skelton. She’s been presenting the show since 2008 and when she’s not filming she’s travelling.

Helen’s currently trekking 500 miles across the Antarctic using an ice bike, a kite and skis. She’s aiming to set a new world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow and once again raising money for Sports Relief.

At 09:55 on January 4th she started at 83 degrees south on a specially-constructed ice bike and started her expedition. She’s travelling with Niklas Norman, a winter sports expert from Norway.

The pair originally planned to begin their trek on New Year’s Day but they were delayed due to bad weather.

Helen told The Telegraph: “Bad weather delayed the start of my challenge by four days and that means I now have less time to reach the South Pole, so the sooner I get going the more likely I am to finish.

“I've decided to start my Polar Challenge on my ice bike as I'm determined to prove that you can ride part of the way to the South Pole.”

She will now travel up to 14 hours a day in the coldest and windiest place on earth where she is likely to encounter blizzards, winds of up to 80mph and temperatures as low as -50oC.

This is not the first time that Helen has raised money for charity. In 2010 she kayaked over 2,000 miles along the River Amazon raising money for Sports Relief and last year she did a high-wire walk between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station raising money for Comic Relief.

Blue Peter viewers will be able to see how she gets on in a special nine-week series that will feature on the show from the end of January.

If you’re thinking of going on your own expedition on your gap year then read Richard Sheane’s Introduction to Expeditions. It’s a compelling read and will make you want to pick up your backpack and go on your very own trek…

Photo of Helen Skelton taken by Ruth Crafer (via Creative Commons)