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I kayaked 2,000 miles along the Amazon...
..I walked a high wire between the chimneys
at Battersea Power Station...
..and this time around, I'm going to be taking on
my most physically demanding challenge to date.
I will be attempting to get to the South Pole
entirely under my own steam and taking everything I need with me.
I will be walking, kite skiing and in a world first,
trying to cycle part of my route to the pole.
It's the coldest and windiest place on earth.
Temperatures drop to as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius.
I've no idea how people do this. Honestly.
I don't want to play any more. This is just so frustrating.
So far for her Sport Relief challenge,
Helen's travelled to California to meet the team
creating her specially-adapted ice bike.
She's been plunged into freezing water to see how her body copes
with the extreme cold.
And she's visited Sierra Leone to see how Sport Relief money
really makes a difference.
In today's programme, Helen's off to Exmouth in Devon
to learn the skills she needs for kite-skiing.
I'm going to have to have strong arms, aren't I?
It's the fastest and most dangerous form of transport
she'll be using to travel to the South Pole.
But before she hits the snow,
Helen needs to hit the water to learn kite-surfing.
It's a battle to gain the confidence she needs.
I don't have time to be injured.
And a race against three of the UK's top young kite-surfers
isn't as easy as it seems.
Who put that line on?
Teaching Helen is former British champion, Ned Taylor.
He's been kite-surfing for seven years, wowing the judges
with his incredible range of tricks.
You don't get to become a kite surfing champion without commitment.
You've got to be ready to go out, regardless of the conditions,
whether it's raining, snowing.
You've got to get out there and learn the latest tricks.
I think Helen might be expecting it to be nice and easy
but it's not that easy to do.
Helen can learn this on the water.
When she goes onto the snow, it's going to be a lot easier.
That's the reason we're living a kite-surfing first
because before she goes on the snow.
Helen's come to Devon where Ned will teach her step by step
the skills she needs to get to the South Pole.
To start with, we're going to start to learn to fly a kite.
Once we've got really good at the kite,
were going to go onto a bigger kite that's got more power.
It's going to drag you along.
Then we're going to go on the buggy, this thing with three wheels.
Once we've got that fully cracked and we're really good at that,
only then will be go on the water because it takes a lot of practice.
You've got the water splashing in your face.
That's going to be difficult.
And that will be more like when you go on the snow.
-I haven't flown a kite for years.
-We're going to have to get started.
Ned starts with the basics, how to set up the kite.
But straight away, Helen's trying to find shortcuts.
Why can't you just leave the lines attached?
You've got to learn to do this because when you're in the snow,
something goes wrong, you need to know how to sort it all out.
Ned needs to teach Helen all he can before she puts her new skills
to the test against three young kite surfers,
so it's straight down to business.
To turn the kite to the left, I'm pulling on the red side.
I'm pushing away with the blue.
To turn the kite to the right, I'm pulling on the blue
-and pushing on the red...
-..almost like I'm riding a bike.
Turn. There you go. Keep going. Now the other way.
Oh, it's quite sensitive.
Oh, why's it stopping?
It's really weird because when the wind gets inside the kite,
you can feel the lines go taught
and it does feel like it's got power in it.
-Could you feel the kite pulling on your hand?
Can you imagine if we had a really big kite,
it would be enough power to pull you along on skis.
The wind has been used by travellers to help them cross Antarctica
for more than 100 years.
Just like the famous explorer, Captain Scott, Helen will be
harnessing the power of the wind but instead of using sails,
as he did, she'll be using a power kite.
They're 30 times bigger than the ones you use at home
and create enough power to lift a fully-grown person off the ground.
But controlling it is easier said than done.
I'm going to have to have strong arms, aren't I?
This kite has got so much power in it.
When the wind fills it up, it's like hanging onto the lead of a dog
but your dog turning from a tiny little terrier
into a massive great stallion.
You're going along and it goes like this.
The power and speed that these kites generate
means they have the potential to drag the flier into danger,
so Helen needs to know what to do if she loses control of the kite.
When I tell you, you're going to let go of the bar
and it'll pull on the brake lines on the kite and it'll kill the power.
-So, big turn. OK.
Three, two, one... Let go.
There we go and it's pulled on the brake lines on the kite
and now the kite has no power and it'll just fall down to the ground.
-I'm really enjoying this.
More than I thought because I thought I've got to learn to do this
so I can do that. But I'm enjoying this.
So much so she can't wait for the next training session.
It's a new day and there's really strong wind which means
a lot more power in the kite.
It's like a jet engine has been attached
and Helen's getting pulled all over the beach.
Wo, wo, wo!
Look at me go!
It's definitely a lot windier today, isn't it?
When I have the kite in front of me,
I feel like it could just go and take me with it at any second.
The area in which the kite can be flown is called the wind window
and this can be used to control the amount of power in the kite.
The kite is most powerful and generates the most speed
when it's straight out in front of the person flying it
and the wind is coming from behind.
If Helen moves the kite to the sides or top of the wind window
she can reduce the power in the kite.
This allows her to slow down, which will help her to turn.
With a bit more practise, Helen gets confident moving the kite
in and out of the wind to control the amount of power
but to prove she's ready to move on to the buggy,
Ned sets her a challenge, flying the kite... blind folded.
What's really important before she can move on is that she can
fly the kite just by feeling it, rather than having to look at it all
the time because when she's going on a buggy or the skis
or on the water, she's not going to be able to look at the kite all the time.
-Is that OK?
Just nice and slow. Good, now the other way.
I'm not going to go for any sharp turns.
Does it feel a bit weird?
Yeah, it does feel weird
because I don't feel like I'm as connected to the kite.
I feel like I'm down here, it's up there
and I've got to hope that it does the right thing
whereas when you can see it, you kind of feel like you're more of a team.
Right hand. Oh!
The trouble is, when it starts to go wrong, you can't do anything
when you've got the blindfold on because I don't know what to correct.
Eventually, with a bit of practice,
even when the kite starts to go wrong, you'll know exactly
what to do without looking at it but at this stage,
you're doing really well and I feel we're ready for the next step.
To get to the South Pole, Helen needs to be fitter
than she's ever been before.
This means following a punishing fitness regime,
on top of everything else.
And her least favourite activity is tyre-pulling.
I've got to drag this tyre up and down the beach,
not for 10 or 15 minutes, for an hour and a half.
I have to pull this tyre because I have to get used
to pulling something heavy, so this is going to hurt, quite frankly.
I need to find some motivation because right now,
I don't want to do this.
# I would walk 500 miles
# And I would walk 500 more
# Just to be that man who walks a thousand miles
# To fall down at your door... #
This is so boring.
I've just been trudging along what looks like the same bit of sand
for 45 minutes.
I'm going to have to get used to it
because this is going to be my life for at least four months.
# And I would walk 500 miles... #
It's Helen's first session on the buggy.
Ned wants her to use the power in the kite to control her speed and make turns.
We need to get a little bit of speed in the buggy before we go to turn.
-If you turn when you're not moving, it'll be difficult.
So what we're going to do is you can imagine this is the kite and I'm pulling you along.
So the kite is pulling you along, along like this.
We're going to try and turn.
You're going to steer the kite so it comes up above your head
so it's not pulling you anymore,
and then with the momentum that you've got,
you're going to turn exactly what you did, sharply with your feet
until you go all the way round, and then we're going to straighten back up and dive the kite down,
and it's going to pull you in this direction.
OK, I'm off, bye!
Right, right, right. Good. Keep it steady there.
Speed is no problem, but turning the buggy is a whole other matter.
Keep going, keep going, keep going, now the other way. Good.
Bring the kite up above your head, keep resisting the kite,
and steer it up. Up, up, up!
I was steering the kite!
The kite on its own is really good, the buggy,
the steering on its own is really good.
It's doing two things at once.
It's like tapping your head and rubbing your belly.
-It gets really difficult.
As if she wasn't black and blue from all the tyre pulling,
she keeps crashing!
But there's no way she's giving up.
Right, move your feet.
I want to get good at this
because when you're doing it right it feels great.
I am frustrated that I didn't nail the turns straight away.
I'll get there. Hopefully!
Helen wants to find out why she's finding it hard to turn the buggy.
The hardest direction to go is down with the wind
because, as you pick up speed, you catch up with the wind and it loses power in your kite.
What you have to do is, if the wind is coming in this direction,
in order to get downwind,
we can't just go straight down like that, we have to zigzag our way
downwind and that's going to be the only way we'll get downwind.
So cut across it.
Cutting across, and just going slightly downwind on every tack.
Cutting across the wind means she'll always have enough power
in the kite to keep moving, but it also lets her slow down
so she can make controlled turns, and Ned's putting her to the test.
What we're going to do is put a couple of cones at either side,
and what you're going to try and do is ride along and then ride in-between the cones.
-That's going to show a bit more control.
That's it, start thinking about controlling our speed,
bring the kite up.
Good. Kite up, and just roll into it, roll into the turn.
Not going as quickly, not going as quickly.
Now we're getting the kite going, nice and slow, control! Good!
I'm going slowly, I'm going slowly, like I said I would.
Suddenly, everything Ned's been saying clicks into place.
It is better to go slower because it means that
I can control the buggy, control the kite,
and actually I'm learning stuff.
Before, when I was flying around,
I was literally staying in this by the skin of my teeth.
Now I'm actually in charge of it.
I've really enjoyed this, being able to control my speed
and I've turned intentionally.
How is this going to help me though when I'm kite surfing?
It's just generally being able to control two things at once
and that's what you've done today.
You've been able to control the kite and the buggy,
being able to do two things at once like that is perfect,
and it's really going to help you on all the other sports.
Does that mean I can move on to the water?
-Let's move on to the water, I think.
I'm a bit concerned that when she goes on the water
she's thinking it's going to be easy,
similar to how the buggy was, but it's not going to be that easy
and I think it's going to be a bit of a shock when she goes on the water.
Well, it's nice and windy, that's a good sign.
It's a really nice day today. It's a lot windier than the last few days,
but it'll be perfect for us to go on the water.
-Yeah, let's do it.
But, before Ned lets Helen on the water,
he gets her to practice setting up the kite again.
And again! So that even a blizzard won't stop her.
Antarctica is the most extreme environment on Earth,
with winds of up to 199 mph and an average temperature of minus 50 degrees Celsius,
the simplest tasks become 100 times harder.
Helen needs to know her skills inside out
so she can cope in the freezing temperatures.
If Helen can't tie a knot on a beach,
she's got no chance at the South Pole.
I think that's what put me off flying a kite as a kid.
I remember just getting it all in a massive knot,
and thinking I don't want to play with that any more!
That goes over there and there. No, that's not right.
-Do you want me to show you again?
Everything Ned's taught her has gone straight out of the window.
That's classic me though, isn't it? "Yes, I remember!"
-It's OK, it was a long time ago.
-That's quite a faff here.
-When I'm wearing huge gloves that I can't take off in the snow and the wind,
that's going to be a real pain in the neck, isn't it?
In Antarctica, I'm going to have skis and a tent and a sled full of stuff.
-Right, I think I can do it this time.
-Famous last words.
OK. Pull it tight, and...
The kite is finally ready to go.
-Perfect. Ready to go?
-All on, yes.
On the water, Helen has a lot to think about.
Keeping the kite steady, moving the board into position,
and trying to get up on her feet.
Here we go, let's just go straight. Hard left. Head forward, and up.
All the flight is coming all the way up the buggy head,
and all the way down. Make the most of the power.
Here we are, let's just go straight. Hard left. Head forward and up.
That's it, good.
After a few attempts, everything comes together, and she's off.
And down again. Leaning back now.
That's it, keep the kite moving.
Everything is starting to come together,
and she knows what she's doing and she knows what she needs to improve.
She can just do it now.
That was amazing, well done!
That just felt perfect, and I was laughing my head off all the way.
I was flying down there, and thought, "I'm going to keep going!
"I'll keep going. I'll be in Wales soon but I'll keep going!"
Again. Back up to the top.
I don't want to talk to you because I will cry.
The board bounced off her feet
and the edge of the board hit her on the bottom of the foot.
I think it's bruised it quite bad.
I don't have time to be proper injured. I'll be fine in a minute.
Just stay, just stay down, Hel. Just keep it in the water.
Just keep it cold, keep it iced.
I'm not being difficult, but I'm telling you it really hurts.
She was riding along, she got a bit of speed.
The board bounced off her feet and hit her in the soft bit of her foot
and I think it's just bruised it quite badly.
She was getting, like, overly confident I think,
trying to progress really fast, and, yes, just took it a bit too far.
Oh my word.
I've got to learn this board, and I've got to be good,
and I haven't got time for this.
Oh my word!
It's fine because I'm walking on it, but...
I don't think it's a good idea to carry on today.
It's tender in that middle bit, and that sits right on the foot strap.
You're going to be needing to apply pressure to that middle bit in order to control the board.
For crying out loud!
When Ralph Fiennes cut his fingers off,
and he carries on adventuring and exploring.
I've got a bruise on my foot and I have to stop!
I feel like I'm halfway down the racetrack
or I'm halfway over the hurdle and I'm being pulled back down.
..I want to be able to do this.
It's game over for today's training.
Helen's pushed herself too hard, too quickly.
If she carries on like this,
it could end her polar challenge before it's even begun.
It's a new day on the water,
and Helen needs to get her confidence back.
I'm kind of mad that I feel like I've wasted some of yesterday
so I just want to get good.
You're running away already, you must be keen!
I know! I just want to get on with it. The more you think about it, the more you think,
"Oh, I fell off, I can't do it", so I just want to get on with it.
But, again, she's putting herself under pressure to perform
as this is the last session before she races against three top young kite surfers.
Will she have learned the skills she needs to kite ski to the South Pole?
I have to get a decent run because otherwise...
She's in trouble!
Remember your head and shoulders.
Dive it, dive it, dive it. It'll be a switch.
She'll just click and get it in a minute,
so we've just got to hope that happens.
I don't want to talk to you because I'm stressing myself out
and it's making me worse.
I was enjoying it and I was good.
Everyone keeps saying, "You need to get good fast, you need to get good fast"
I'm aware of that!
Ned's the British champion and he didn't do this on his second day, did he?
That's it! Good!
A lot better run on that one. She was just a bit cautious from yesterday,
she kind of forgot what she was doing, but she's getting it now.
It's her final day in Devon. What has Helen let herself in for?
I've got three of my friends who are the best young talents in the UK.
They're 10, 12 and 14,
and you're going to be racing against them across the Channel.
As a team, they're going to have to ride three times as far as you.
One, two, three, OK. Right, I really have to keep the kite in the air then, don't I?
Exactly. That's the most important bit. Kite in the air and board on your feet.
The boys have had a lot of experience so they'll be able to fly in this wind.
Because they're quite small, they'll be able to complete it.
It will be difficult for Helen.
If the wind comes up just a tiny bit more, she'll be able to do it.
But at the moment we're right on that borderline.
Do you know what you're doing? You all have to make it across, one at a time.
I only have to get up there once.
Ned is going to help me pump up my kite, so let's get cracking.
Three, two, one, go! Ned, go!
Helen hopes all that practice setting up the kite will pay off.
She can't afford to put a foot wrong against these three.
We're clearly winning at the moment.
I'll hold the end, you unwrap them.
But, in her eagerness to stay ahead of the boys, Helen makes a careless mistake.
She's got her lines in a tangle and the wrong way round.
Red on the right. Schoolboy!
Ned rushes in to help.
I'm just running around now!
Making a mistake in Antarctica could end Helen's hopes of reaching the South Pole.
She'll need to be seriously organised and disciplined to survive.
The routine of putting up a tent and melting snow for food will take at least three hours every day.
The more mistakes she makes, the slower she'll be,
risking exhaustion and frostbite.
The boys take advantage of Helen's mistake and jump ahead.
This is so annoying. They've totally caught up with us. Oh no!
They're already on their first run and Helen isn't even in the water.
Keep going up, that's it.
-And then... Disaster!
-Who put that line on?
Another careless mistake.
Tying my line properly!
Eventually, Helen gets in the water,
but the boys are on their third and final run.
And, just as she gets started, the wind drops,
and she can't keep the kite in the air.
It's clearly not a blaze of glory but I am getting there, slowly.
Oh, this isn't fun!
-How can you say well done? I let you down!
We beat them in the setting up though, didn't we?
We were doing well with the pumping, we had the speedy pumping.
I'm so annoyed because when I got up and got going, I thought,
"Yeah, I'm going to at least do myself proud. I'm going to get across,"
but I just lost the wind I think, didn't I?
Yes, you just lost the wind and then the kite came down,
but you got that good start.
It shows that you can consistently get up. If we had more wind, you'd have kept going
and I reckon you'd have given them a good run for their money.
I do feel really flat because I wanted to get to the other side,
big victory, yay me, and that just didn't happen.
The main thing is that you've got the kite control.
If you can fly the kite, then you can adapt that to any kite sport.
I think I need to get serious now and I need to concentrate,
and I need to go away and practice.
-Just keep practising that kite and you'll be able to do it.
With this, I've been putting it to the back of my mind the whole time that I'm going to the South Pole,
that I'm going to need these skills to get me there,
and this whole challenge thing today I've been trying to see as a bit of a laugh,
but ultimately I think that means I've let myself down.
It's the little things that she needs to really focus on.
She gets distracted easily.
She needs to be focusing, and that's what let her down
was that she didn't attach one of the lines properly
and it actually came off while she was beginning to ride.
If she does something like that on the snow,
she could get herself into a lot of trouble.
I mucked up here and that just proves you've got to keep your eye on the ball.
This week's been a wake-up call for Helen.
She's got to get serious about her polar challenge
to stand any chance of making it to the South Pole.
And time is running out.
If you've been inspired by Helen's challenge,
why don't you go the extra mile and get involved in Sport Relief this year?
Get a grown-up, and sign up to do the Sport Relief mile.
There are hundreds of events around the country,
and, by raising money,
you can help vulnerable people in the UK and around the world.
Next time, Helen travels to New Zealand to turn kite surfing into kite skiing.
I think I can do it, can't I?
Her sled tests her patience.
It's horrible. This isn't good at all!
And can she survive a night in a snow hole?
I have no idea how people do this!