A quick update for anyone who was interested in my last post.
As I mentioned previously, I was delighted to be asked to present the Gold D of E awards to Scouts at St James’ Palace last week. More information about the other presenters and the amazing recipients can be found here along with information for anyone who has been inspired to complete the award themselves. As a gold award holder, I highly recommend it!
In addition the Scouts have released a blog update about the events in the Throne Room (yes, we did get the best room!) which heavily features my favourite item of kit – Duct Tape.
I was honored and delighted today to be invited to St James’ Palace to present 42 Scouts with their Duke of Edinburgh Gold awards.
They each had fantastic stories about their expeditions (not all in the British rain!) and the skills and services they had to complete. The gold award is a huge achievement and represents many months of hard work – these Scouts and the other awardees should feel very proud, as I’m sure their parents and supporters do.
It was only 3 years ago that I received my own Gold Award at St James’ Palace and returning as a presenter in the illustrious company of Theo Paphitis, Felicity Aston, Alistair Stewart and Carol Kirkwood was an amazing experience – even better the Duke of Edinburgh himself was present to meet the awardees and congratulate them.
Being able to share my Antarctic experiences with like-minded young people is always pleasure and hopefully one or two are now thinking about where their Scouting experience and DofE award can take them.
Keep an eye on the site for photos coming soon.
It’s been a very busy couple of months up here in Newcastle so let me just highlight a few of the amazing things I’ve been a part of:
- Secret project with the Scouts at Gilwell Park, stay tuned for photos and information coming up soon
- I was honoured to be nominated for the Inspirational Women of the North East exhibition taking place at Hatton Gallery in November, the amazing Bryony Bainbridge and Roweena Russell and I could be spotted around the Forum area of Newcastle University a few weeks ago taking photos – visit their website, twitter or facebook for updates on the project to celebrate the women of Tyne and Wear
- Following a successful presentation to the Scout organisation in November, I was invited to the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers Apprentice Dinner as guest speaker, the evening was really enjoyable with a diverse set of questions to keep me on my toes. As a direct result of this event I will now be rowing in the Oxbridge Waterman’s Challenge before THE Oxbridge Boat Race
- The data collected during the Coast to Pole expedition is fully written up as my undergraduate dissertation ready for hand in, it truly is the end of an era (at least 2 years) and a major stepping stone to leaving University and planning the next project
- I was kindly invited along to the Northumbrian Mountaineering Club’s evening meeting to talk about the expedition and training, great to see people interested in the equipment used and the progression from Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Scouting through to mountaineering and Polar travel
- Next week I am back in my home town of Melbourne, Derbyshire to present the inaugural Dr Freeman Award for a person or organisation who has made a ‘significant contribution’ to the Parish of Melbourne
- In addition to all of the above, training will be picking up again from next week now that my University workload has decreased (slightly) and i’m looking at assessing the base level of fitness I have now maintained compared to my last training break several years ago
Hope you are all enjoying the lovely weather of 2013, clear blue skies and sunshine in Newcastle as I write this, time to get the walking boots out
The January 2013 issue of the NGHS connect magazine has now been released here.
Check out the covers and a 2 page article on the record-breaking expedition featuring extracts that I wrote for the magazine.
Seeing as one NGHS student has already decided to beat my record, lets see how many more challengers I’ll get as a result of this article!
firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss the expedition or lay down the gauntlet or if you’d like to discuss a presentation for your upcoming event.
Wow, a whole 12 months has passed already since that morning when Lisa, Bob and I finally trudged into the Scott-Amundsen camp site. As I’m sure many have said before me, there is no place quite like Antarctica. Having been back in the UK for a full year I can’t wait to go back, despite the blisters and sunburn and windchap.
That 15 hours of skiing, mainly in a white-out, catching the occasional, tantalising glimpse of the South Pole base was the culmination of 2 months in Antarctica and 3 years of training and planning.
Not only was the expedition the trip of a life-time, but the experience has opened so many doors since my return. I have spoken to schools, businesses and friends, renewed my ties to the Scouting movement (who, as previously mentioned are entirely to blame for my record-breaking expedition) and been invited to take part in many exciting projects to inspire the next wave of adventure-seekers.
I have also been solemnly informed by a 9 year old that my record won’t stand for long.
I’m pleased to pass on that the rest of the team are doing well and pursuing various interesting trips (seemingly often involving beaches rather than sub-zero temperatures!) and I really couldn’t have wished for a better bunch of people to have put up with me for a whole 2 months.
If 4 years ago I was full of anticipation, 1 year ago I was full of elation, this year I am full of excitement for the future. With the end (nearly) in sight of my Geography degree, and the greatest adventure of the first 21 years of my life well and truly behind me, I refuse to accept that I have achieved and completed all my life’s challenges already. So let’s see what the next 12 months and 21 years holds.
Today is the first anniversary of Bryony Balen’s record-breaking achievement to become the youngest British woman to ski 713 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
Paul and I (her parents!) are immensely proud of her – not only the fact that she managed to complete the expedition but also the way in which she conducted herself, raised large sums of money for The Calvert Trust and Mountain Rescue and, even though she has returned to her studies at Newcastle University, given many talks about her experiences, hoping to inspire others to live their dreams.
Well done Bryony!! And we think we’re hard-done-to with a few centimetres of snow and temperatures hovering around zero!
So it’s hard to believe that one year ago today our team had just landed at the Hercules Inlet and completed our first day of skiing.
My feet are aching from the thought of that first 13km yet a very big part of me misses the experience, even though it feels like it happened to a different person.
In a way I suppose I am a very different person to the Bryony of 12 months ago, I’m over 2 stone lighter for a start! Having completed the 2 month challenge also changed me mentally and emotionally, I feel maturer and more confident in my own abilities and decision-making skills.
The flip-side of the coin is that I’m not settling into student mode too well, the experiences of 56 days trudging across the Antarctic coupled with employment in the ‘real world’ on my return have left me keen for the next stage in my life, exacerbated by seeing many of my university year-mates moving into either masters programs or work.
I suppose I’ll be patient for a little longer, assess the ways in which I have matured and changed from my experiences in Antarctica and put those lessons to good use for my next adventures…..
I am delighted to announce that mine and Robert’s entry into the 2012 Great North Run raised over £900 for the Calvert Trust Kielder, smashing our £600 target.
Many thanks for all of the support, we couldn’t have achieved this without you.
As many of you may know, I often ‘blame’ the scouting organisation for my expedition to Antarctica and I am still a proud member of the movement.
Check out the wonderful article on my record-breaking journey in this month’s Scouting magazine here.
Just a quick update of progress for the Great North Run, coming up in less than 2 weeks.
Considering that I have never run for running’s own sake, only as part of training for some other discipline, this really is a great personal challenge for me.
As part of training for Newcastle University’s rowing team we ran 10km every Tuesday night, up until 2 weeks ago that distance was easily the furthest I’d ever managed to cover. I’m therefore delighted to announce that I’ve survived 12km now, over half the distance of the Great North Run in a time of 1 hour 15 mins, on track to be coming home in under 2 1/2 hours for the event itself.
Our amazing Calvert Trust running vests in purple and green have arrived and been road-tested (actually Newcastle Town Moor tested) and it’s safe to say the SouthPoleAdventure running duo are looking forward to the 16th of September.
If you’d like to support the Kielder Calvert Trust and our Great North Run effort please visit our VirginMoneyGiving page and sponsor what you can.