Amelia makes it to the South Pole

After a record-breaking Antarctic trek, 16-year-old Amelia Hempleman-Adams (and her dad) checked in with Joanna Moorhead

It was the moment Amelia Hempleman-Adams, 16, had looked forward to for many months: the moment she became the youngest person to reach the South Pole on skis.

"It was simply amazing," she said, speaking from the Antarctic by satellite phone. "It was such a relief. I was more tired than I've ever been. The journey was exhausting, even though the weather was mostly kind to us.

"But there are still those moments when you think: are we really going to get there? And the moment when you actually do is quite awesome."

Amelia, who is studying for A-levels at Prior Park College in Bath, reached the South Pole on Friday after spending 17 nights on the ice with her father, the explorer David Hempleman-Adams. He's been on countless expeditions in his time but, as he expected before he set out, this turned out to be his toughest yet because he had the youngest of his three daughters to look after as well as himself.

"I wanted her to return to the UK with all her fingers and toes, and frostbite can take hold in minutes," he said. "But she was brilliant. She was better than some of the adults on the team at looking after herself. She held her own. She pulled her own sledge. I think the worst thing for her was having to share a tent with me and not being able to sleep because of my snoring!"

At the start of each day of the expedition, Hempleman-Adams said, he would get out a picture of his hero, Ernest Shackleton, and salute it. The team was following a route from the point where Shackleton had to turn back in 1909 during one of his South Pole expeditions. "I think Shackleton was looking after us, because on the whole the weather was excellent."

But, Amelia said, there were occasional glitches. "At one point we had a whiteout, and that was quite scary. You can't see anything; you just have to put your head down and follow the sledge in front of you."

She said the most extraordinary part of the trip had been the sense of isolation in the Antarctic landscape. "You can't imagine being in such a lonely place until you're actually there. It's just you and the team and the elements, for as far as you can see. I've never been anywhere like that before."

One of the scariest moments, she said, was when the small plane flying them in for the start of the expedition had to make at least 12 attempts to land on the ice. "We had to keep going up and round again, and it was horrible. I was feeling really sick," she said. "It was very bumpy, and not nice at all. But we got down in the end."

Another difficulty was sleeping. "My dad's snoring was bad enough, but there was also the fact that it's 24-hour daylight there, so the sun is beaming in through the tent all night long." She said the experience had brought her closer to her father. "One of the best bits was finding out what happens to Dad when he goes on expeditions, because through my life he's been on so many of them, and this is the first time I've actually been able to go with him."

The thing she missed most, she said, was her friends. "My friends are really important to me, like most teenagers, and I've missed not being able to talk to them all the time. But so many of them have sent wonderful messages via our website, and they really helped to keep me going.

"What I'm most looking forward to about being back home is a really, really hot shower. That and a family meal at home with my mum and my sisters. Eating dried food for a fortnight wasn't brilliant.

"But the best thing about the whole trip was that we made it – and it's something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice