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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable