Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man Kit to take up job as postman in Antarctica

Kit Adams from Newcastle who will be working as a postman in Port Lockroy
Kit Adams from Newcastle who will be working as a postman in Port Lockroy
Kit Adams from Newcastle who will be working as a postman in Port Lockroy with Vicky Inglis, Lucy Dorman, Heidi Ahvenainen and Lauren Elliott
Penguins outside Bransfield House
Goudier Island on Port Lockroy
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

This is the Northern Ireland man who has travelled to the end of the earth for a cool new job - in every sense.

Kit Adams is swapping life in Co Down for a radically different role as a postman in Antarctica.

And while looking after one of the world's most remote post offices might not be for everyone, the 26-year-old Newcastle man cannot wait to get started.

The geography graduate and his four female teammates will run the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's post office at Port Lockroy for four months from November until March.

The young adventurer, who already has three Arctic expeditions under his belt, said he is looking forward to the Antarctic experience - and a white Christmas.

"I've already booked Christmas Day off, so I'll be spending it with 2,000 penguins and the rest of the team and that's going to be something special for sure," he said.

Kit, who has a Masters degree in polar and alpine change, said he was working in the expeditions department of a boarding school in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, when he learned about the Port Lockroy opportunity.

He added: "From a young age I've been really passionate about snow.

"Any time there was snow here in the Mournes I was out skiing or sledging, so something outdoor-orientated in those kind of environments was always going to be a huge draw.

"I was on a joint expedition with another Swiss school and the other member of staff had previously worked in Port Lockroy.

"She told me all about it and recommended that I apply."

After a "normal application process" he was chosen for the role of Port Lockroy assistant and following a further selection process "they then ascribed different roles to different people and I was offered the role of postmaster".

Kit won't be scuttling around delivering letters on the remote island - so what will he do, in sub-zero temperatures with no mains electricity or running water, when he gets there?

He added: "There will be two cruise ships at the height of the season every day and the tourists will get postcards and send them home.

"We also get some mail coming into the post office from philatelists from around the world who want to get certain letters stamped in such a way.

"Last year there were 80,000 postcards sent through that post office.

"It's tiny. One building contains the shop, the post office and the museum.

"On the island there are three buildings - that one, called Bransfield House, an old boat shed and then the Nissan Hub that we will live in."

Kit's team, which also includes two Britons, a Scot and a Finn, will run the world's most southerly public post office, manage Port Lockroy's living museum and monitor the resident gentoo penguin colony.

It will take more than two weeks by plane and boat to travel the 11,000 miles to their temporary island home, which is around the size of a football pitch.

As part of their job, they will welcome up to 18,000 visitors to Port Lockroy throughout the season and give them an insight into life on a scientific base in Antarctica in the 1950s and 60s.

The visiting explorers can buy souvenirs in the gift shop and send postcards from one of the most famous public post offices in the world.

For example, last year the Port Lockroy team hand-cancelled more than 50,000 stamps on postcards destined for over 100 countries. With his contract with UK Antarctic Heritage Trust officially starting today, Kit said he is reconciled to a future with no mod cons, "no Spotify, YouTube, Netflix or anything like that".

Apart from a weekly blog, there will be little contact with the outside world.

There will also be 24-hour daylight "the whole time" they are there but it is not something that Kit, who has had three Arctic trips to Svalbard, Greenland and Finnmark, finds daunting "because I've experienced that before".

Back home, estate agent dad Colin and mum Janette, a conservation volunteer, are "really enthusiastic" about his forthcoming adventure.

So too are his 24-year-old twin siblings Caroline, a primary school teacher and Nick, who works for Kit's former school employer in the Swiss Alps. "We're an adventurous family and I've had really quite an outdoorsy upbringing," he said. "They're not surprised that I've applied for this and they're thrilled that I've managed to get it."

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, with just one day off every two weeks, Kit could not be happier.

He added: "I've been very fortunate. I've done a lot of these trips of a lifetime, so if I can keep doing them I certainly will!"

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