Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Skelton begins charity polar trek

Helen Skelton spent her Christmas Day in Antartica

Daredevil Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton has finally begun her charity polar adventure after bad weather delayed the start.

The 28-year-old was meant to start her gruelling 500-mile (805km) ski, kite and ice bike journey across Antarctica for Sport Relief on January 1, but set off shortly before 10am this morning (Wednesday).

Helen, whose previous exploits include high-wire walking between the chimneys of Battersea power station in London and becoming the first person to solo kayak the length of the Amazon, is aiming to set a new world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow.

She said: "I am desperate to get started and to get a few miles under my belt. 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."

Helen spent Christmas Day in Antarctica and has had to cope with temperatures as low as minus 20C (minus 4F), a diet of dehydrated rations, illness and snow storms.

She will have to travel up to 14 hours a day to complete the challenge while pulling a supply sledge that will weigh up to 181lb (82kg).

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.

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