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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 in December 2011,
'I embarked on my most demanding expedition to date,
'a 500-mile trek to the South Pole
'by kite, by ski and, in a world first, by bike.'
My legs! Ow!
'It was most the incredible journey of my life, and this is my story.'
'Coming up, I take you behind the scenes of my polar challenge.'
I thought the crew would use GPS or compass but they follow the penguin.
'Meet the crew who supported me every step of the way.'
We've got 20 minutes to get the satellite working.
'And discover what else goes on at the South Pole.'
We set up like movie nights.
We have soccer, volleyball. We're easily entertained down here.
'On the 4th January 2012,
'I set off with my Norwegian team-mate, Niklas Norman,
'on my epic Polar Challenge for Sport Relief.'
-Three! Two! One!
'Our target, to reach the South Pole in just 20 days,
'using three modes of transport.'
-You are going to love the bikes by the end of this, Norman.
'We faced fierce winds, temperatures of minus 48
'and I developed painful blisters and a cough
'that could have stopped the challenge in its tracks.'
My cough is starting to really bug me.
This could, possibly, exclude you from finishing your race.
'But despite everything Antarctica had to throw at us...'
Argh! My legs!
I hate the bike.
'..we made it...'
I can do them all!
'..in just 18 days...'
That's such a good feeling! Whoo!
'We'd travelled 329 miles by kite...'
I can see why the Norwegians prefer this to cycling.
'..68 miles by cross-country skis
'and 103 miles by bike...'
Come on, the bike!
'..and set a new kite-skiing world record along the way.'
20 kilometres to go and you can potentially set a new world record.
This will go down as one of those days you talk about
and as a highlight.
'It was one of the proudest days of my life,
'to stand where Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen
'and British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott
'first stood 100 years ago.'
I'm proud of what we've all achieved as a team.
I cannot believe we are at the South Pole at the bottom of the world.
'I'd completed my polar challenge for Sport Relief,
'I'd made it to the South Pole.'
'The South Pole is the most southerly point in the world.
'It's the coldest, driest, windiest place on Earth.
'Having got there,
'it's time to uncover some of the secrets behind this amazing place.
'First up, did you know there are two South Poles?
'The ceremonial Pole is there to welcome intrepid explorers
'and, just a snowball's throw away, is the Geographic South Pole,
'which is the true South Pole, measuring 90 degrees south.'
The South Pole is on a glacier and that ice is moving.
Every year the marker which shows people exactly
where the Geographic South Pole is has to be shifted back ten metres.
This is it.
'The marker is moved on the 1st January
'and every year there's a new design
'created by people living at the South Pole.
'People like Sven.'
I didn't expect there to be a big building at the South Pole.
I knew there were people here.
This is the third generation of station.
This was opened, officially, in 2008.
The first station was buried under the snow.
It was opened in 1956, 1957.
Is that why it's up on stilts, so the place doesn't get buried?
Yeah, but it still drifts in.
In the winter, like back here, the snow starts building up,
even up to the windows.
-Up to those windows?
-Yeah. Just the drifting.
How do you build a sophisticated facility in Antarctica?
Where do you get everything?
Everything we see here, every single item has been flown in.
It's taken to the coast, by ship or plane,
and then it is flown in.
-What do you do here?
-I'm with one of the science projects.
I'm with one of the telescopes
and we're looking at neutrinos, particles which are hard to detect.
What do you do when you're not doing science?
We set up movie nights, soccer, volleyball...
We're easily entertained down here.
Some people would say science is a bit geeky.
You're presenting a totally different image of scientists.
Oh, no, that's the thing. They think it's geeky,
they should come down here and see what it's like.
This is so cool.
'Sven has plenty of people at the base to keep him company.
'Niklas and I haven't been on our own in Antarctica either.
'Those funny orange splodges reflected in my sunglasses
'are the television crew, filming my every move.
'Let me introduce you properly.'
Niklas is my team-mate, guide and kite skiing instructor.
Murray is the director and he's in charge of the filming.
He also thinks he's in charge of me, which he kind of is.
Gisli is a mechanic and engineer.
It's his job to keep the trucks moving forward
and that means that the crew can keep moving forward.
Roli is our sound man. He records everything we say
and gets nice sound effects.
Mike is our cameraman. He records everything that happens,
so that you guys can see it on TV.
Gummi's a paramedic. It's his job to make sure to make sure
we're all safe and well.
Jim is the chef.
He cooks for the crew, not for me, sadly.
And, finally, Tony is our expedition leader.
He's in charge of logistics
and tries to make sure everything goes to plan.
And with all these people, setting up camp and feeding everyone
takes three hours every night.
Niklas lives in that tent.
I live in that one.
We're pretty much self-contained. We boil our own water,
we make our own breakfast and dinner
and we try to keep ourselves to ourselves.
That's what we're meant to do! But over here is where the crew sleep.
You know, how I keep saying we sleep on mattresses on the floor,
which is basically just a piece of foam on the snow and ice.
Let me show you what they've got.
Yeah, they have beds!
And a mattress that I may have just burst.
Once they've got full bellies and a nice cooked meal,
they come in here and get some rest.
I haven't even got a sleeping bag. This massive jacket
is part of my sleeping bag. I just attach a skirt to it.
There's a bit more of the camp to see.
What you don't normally see on TV is the kitchen tent.
As you know, the food I've been eating is not that great,
a little bit like sawdust in a bag.
I just can't eat curried rice.
The crew, however, have been having a very different experience.
Come and find out what.
Jim is here to cook for the crew.
Talk me through the kinds of things that they're eating
while I'm eating sawdust in a bag?
It's been anything from steaks to curries, chillies, erm...
What else have they had?
Stews, all that kind of stuff, really.
How easy is it to cook in Antarctica?
Erm, now it's got easier.
Initially it was really hard.
It was trying to get used to defrosting food,
everything's at minus 30 here.
-How do you defrost it?
-In the trucks outside.
I'll take it out a day, or two days before, in trays,
pop it on the back seat and bring it down, nice and slowly.
So it's safe, and that's it.
How much water do you get through?
-At the moment, we're getting through 40 litres a day.
It's quite a lot.
This is our snow-melter, so we've got a pot here,
we go outside, dig snow, fill the ice bucket...
the cool box,
and then just keep it on top of the snow all the time, get it melted...
So, you're constantly filling that up?
Constantly, all day long, that needs to be full.
Because I've finished, I'm allowed to eat in Jim's kitchen tonight,
so what are we in store for tonight?
-I've done some canapes to start off with tonight.
A cream of tomato soup,
and then a proper good old English beef stew with herb dumplings,
and some pasta, and then we've done a duo of chocolate mousse
and a creamy rice pudding with jam for tonight.
And with that menu,
it's not surprising Jim's the most popular member of the camp.
Living in Antarctica is all about dealing with the environment.
The crew have tonnes of specialist kit that needs to follow them,
so they get the luxury of travelling in style - monster snow truck-style.
I thought the crew would use a GPS or a compass,
but apparently they just follow the penguin.
Sorry. This is one of the trucks that the crew travel in.
It's specially designed to cope with the snow and ice.
Oh, look - flat tyre. Don't worry. It's meant to be like that.
To find out why, I'm off to see our Icelandic engineer, Gisli.
In the UK, if there's a little bit of snow,
everybody just stays off the roads.
-I guess in Iceland you get so much snow, you can't do that?
You'd be at home for three months.
-What happens when you're driving in snow, you sink in.
-As you have found out.
-So, how do you work out a way NOT to sink in?
You need a big area to spread your weight on,
-so you don't sink into the snow.
So, we put these enormous tyres on and then we take the air out,
so it becomes almost flat.
And that basically increases the surface area?
-Yeah, increases the surface.
-That's an idea we pinched for our bikes,
because our bikes were, at first, just sinking in.
We saw what you were doing and we deflated the tyre a bit.
But it does also makes it harder if the tyres are flatter.
It makes it harder to turn them,
but it also brings you on top of the snow surface,
so instead of ploughing through, which is extremely difficult,
you're now moving on top,
and you can keep on going, instead of pointing down.
Why can't you deflate the tyres at the start of the day
and then leave them?
You guys always seem to be pumping them up and letting them down.
Yeah! We just like playing around with them.
Never happier than when he's near a massive tyre.
Keeping the trucks moving is vital for an expedition like this.
We've had to bring everything with us for the entire trip.
We don't just travel in one truck.
Because Tony and his team are here for three months,
they need two trucks because they have so much stuff.
On our side of things, we've got cameras and lenses and cables.
Remember, there aren't any shops,
so if anything breaks, you can't replace it.
That's why you've got to bring a spare. Sadly, for me,
the trucks only have enough space to carry equipment
for the crew and support team. You've probably seen that, each day,
I pull two sledges behind me, packed full with stuff,
and I'm carrying with me my entire life
for the whole time I'm in Antarctica,
so nearly two months' worth of kit in just two little bags.
I don't have a lot of clothes to change into -
that's why I'm always wearing the same thing.
But I've got things that I really need.
Things that are vital to me getting through this and staying alive.
So, I've got a kettle, in which I boil all my water
and make all my meals - breakfast and dinner.
The red bottle contains fuel to power the stove. A-ha!
Come on, blue flame.
This green bag I keep at the front of my sledge.
It's got everything in it that I might need to grab in a hurry,
so a sat phone, the GPS, a bag of nuts,
spare gloves - in case I drop my mittens -
a bottle of water... My flask goes in there as well.
That is very important.
Next to my flask I've got boots,
which are my saviour, to be honest.
In the training leg, my feet were just getting ripped to shreds.
You've already developed a blister about the size of a 20p piece.
If we left this on its own, it would just get worse.
You've got to carry things that you might need in an emergency,
so this bag is full of plasters and paracetamol.
It's the medical kit, basically. I'm hoping I won't need to open it,
but you've got to carry it just in case, because we are...
well, thousands of miles from a hospital.
This yellow thing is only to be used in an emergency.
That's why it's inside a plastic bag.
-This says where we are at all times?
-This transmits every 15 minutes.
It's coming up to the satellites,
down to the computers, so we know where you are.
My face mask I wear every day, which may look ridiculous, but I'm loving.
"IMPERIAL MARCH" FROM STAR WARS PLAYS
My Darth Vader mask
is the best thing that I could have possibly brought to Antarctica.
It may look ridiculous but it is really, really practical.
That mask means my whole face is covered, and there's no risk of me
getting little bits of frostbite or little bits of frost nip.
Many of my friends have said that they'd never travel with me again
because I take such big bags.
Former Blue Peter presenters, you're included in that.
Well, look at me. I'm a changed person.
I could go on holiday with practically an envelope
and nothing else!
As well as getting used to travelling light,
I've also had to adapt to how basic life is.
Out here, you stink.
You can't wash and you're sweating every day
and you're in the same clothes, it's too cold to get undressed,
so you're in the same thermals,
so I couldn't have 40 different pairs of thermals.
I've worn pretty much the same stuff the whole time.
One of the best feelings out here is brushing your teeth in the morning,
because you do feel clean if you've got clean teeth and nice breath.
The only trouble with that is that the toothpaste does freeze.
I haven't been able to brush my teeth for two days
because the toothpaste...
..is frozen solid.
Two days without brushing my teeth was manageable,
but when it came to my hair, I only managed to wash it once in 40 days!
This is me trying to wash my hair.
I'm dunking it.
Then there's going to the toilet.
Now, you might be surprised to know that there's more than one way
to go to the loo in minus 30.
On the move, digging a hole
and using a disposable bag is the quickest option.
Or, with a bit more time, build a snow wall for privacy.
Some camps even have the luxury of a proper sit-on toilet.
Whichever way you choose, it stinks!
Oh-ho-ho-ohh! There aren't any doors, obviously, in Antarctica,
so the theory is that if the shovel is upright,
it means there's nobody in there.
If the shovel's down then the toilet's engaged.
I didn't know about that theory, so that explains why
there's been a lot of, "Oh, sorry! Ooh, sorry!"
Learned that lesson the hard way.
But where does all the waste go?
Everything we take has to come out of Antarctica with us,
so this truck is full of rubbish.
Food waste, even things like toilet paper.
If you go to the toilet, you've got to take everything with you,
so you poo into a bag and take the paper with you.
As well as carrying all our rubbish and kit,
the trucks also do another vital job.
They let me keep in touch with you back in the UK.
Using the latest technology,
I've been able to let you know what I've been up to
by phone, online and with live broadcasts from Antarctica.
My favourite one is this phone here. It's like the Batphone.
It's got a red flashing light, it's stuck to the dashboard.
This connects to a satellite and it's quite a good connection.
But it's not 100% reliable, so we've got a backup sat phone,
which is basically a big mobile phone.
As well as those, we have a laptop which we can plug into the internet.
It's not like at home - it's not Wi-fi or cables.
We rely on satellites that float above Antarctica,
and there aren't that many, so the internet is really slow.
To send a two-minute video clip can take over two hours.
Making telly in the UK can be complicated,
but making telly in Antarctica is very complicated!
We're at the bottom of the world,
yet we're trying to connect to satellites
that will ping pictures back into the UK.
We've got 20 minutes to roughly get the satellite working.
The team are under pressure to get a satellite link-up
with Television Centre back in the UK.
The video has frozen at the moment.
I've just got a still picture of you.
But once all the technical glitches are ironed out, you turn on your TVs
and hey presto!
Helen, are you there?
-'Yes, I am here, and I can hear you!'
Can you tell us why you're doing this? Why are you out there?
I'm here for Sport Relief.
I was challenged to see if I could get to the South Pole.
'It IS tough, but I'm determined to make it'
and I've met loads of people whose lives have totally changed
by Sport Relief-funded projects and I believe in it,
so I know that your money makes a difference.
Come back in one piece, Helen. We miss you. See you soon.
'I will do. I miss you all, so hello to everybody!
'Thank you for all the lovely messages.
-'Keep them coming. I appreciate them.'
-Thanks so much, Helen.
I'm SO glad that worked. That was amazing.
As well as regular link-ups with Blue Peter,
I've been promoting Sport Relief by doing interviews along my route
to inspire you go the extra mile this year.
Is that BBC London? Is that Radio 2?
It's Helen Skelton phoning from Antarctica.
Raising awareness for Sport Relief is something very close to my heart.
I've seen first-hand how projects funded by Sport Relief money
can change people's lives.
Before setting off for Antarctica,
I went to visit a project in Lancashire
which has helped a young woman called Sian.
It's hard to tell
but just over a year ago, Sian was in a really bad way.
Her parents had separated, her grandmother was ill
and her dog had died.
As a result, Sian started hanging out on the streets,
-See you later, Mum.
It's illegal to buy alcohol under the age of 18
but Government research shows that by the age of 15,
eight out of ten young people have will have tried alcohol
and some will be drinking up to 13 units a week.
Alcohol is an addictive substance
and abusing it can lead to physical and mental problems.
Alone and unable to talk to her family,
Sian used the effects of alcohol to blot out her problems.
But now she's got her life back on track
thanks to a project funded by Sport Relief.
It's called the ReachOut project.
One of the things that ReachOut does
is go into schools and hold special lessons,
teaching girls like Sian about how dangerous alcohol can be.
It's these lessons that have meant Sian has stopped drinking.
When you started coming to these lessons,
did you know much about alcohol?
Not really. I didn't understand what it was doing to me.
I just thought it gives me a buzz and then that was it.
I didn't realise what the other effects for it was,
like my school work and how tired you get
and everything that it's doing to your insides.
We're going to talk about the effects of alcohol on this body.
If you weren't coming to lessons like this,
what do you think you would be doing out of school?
I'd probably still be drinking, because I didn't have the information
that they could give.
I bet it's a bit easier talking to these two
-because they're not your family, are they?
And it's all confidential as well.
-Do you ever worry about the things you say here?
-Not at all.
Over the last year, the ReachOut project has helped over 600 children
by talking, listening
and generally supporting them with any troubles they might have.
Now when Sian finishes school, she doesn't hang out on street corners.
She's at the project headquarters, helping others.
How would you compare the Sian of three years ago
to the Sian we've met today?
The Sian of three years ago was obviously...
enough of a concern for me to want her to come onto the...
Well, not just me - myself and my colleagues.
..to come onto the girls' group that we were delivering in school.
We knew that we couldn't just...ignore...
seeing her out and about.
You could tell she didn't really want to be in the situation
that she was in.
-She didn't kind of fit in with what she was doing.
And how do you see Sian's future?
I think she'll be extremely successful
at whatever she sets her mind to.
And how proud will you be?
-I'll try not to cry all the time!
Why are you still involved with the project?
You've changed your behaviour and you're doing well at school.
Why do you still come here?
Because they've made me feel so fantastic about myself now
compared to how I used to feel,
cos I used to feel all upset all the time and gloomy,
and now I'm just a ball full of sunshine!
I just am constantly smiling all the time.
And they've made that happen
and I want to make somebody else feel like that.
I want somebody else to be smiling all the time.
Sometimes it's hard to see
where the money you raise for Sport Relief goes and how it helps people.
But Sian's told us her life was rotten,
she was in a difficult situation.
Then she came here to a Sport Relief-funded project,
and things totally turned around.
She's getting decent grades, going to school
and thinking about a career.
But to top all that,
she's now spending time helping others before it's too late.
And if you've been inspired by Sian's story,
why don't you go the extra mile
and get involved with Sport Relief this year?
Get a grown-up and sign up
to do the Sport Relief mile.
There are hundreds of events, and by raising money,
you can help poor and vulnerable people in the UK
and around the world.
Well, that is almost the end of my journey in Antarctica.
I'm going to get on this plane and head back to the coast.
From there, it's onto Cape Town
and then I will make my way back home.
But I've got plenty of happy memories and lots to talk about.
Here are some of the best bits.
Two, one, go.
That is it. Good. And push. Keep working.
-500 miles? Are you having a laugh?!
This is a bit embarrassing. They're so heavy!
The backs of my legs are already... are already burning!
You know, in 38 years of doing polar expeditions,
I made a mistake for three minutes and that was too much.
I went over ice that was collapsing.
My sledge fell in the water, it dragged me down ten feet.
I lost all the ends of those fingers in only three minutes
of being exposed to the wind and the cold.
Let it roll.
Let it roll, let it roll, let it roll!
This is absolutely doing my head in.
I need to get seriously fit.
SHE EXHALES DEEPLY
Fun for five minutes.
Practical for 500 miles?
I don't think so.
Ohh! HE LAUGHS
-I don't want to talk to you, cos I WILL cry.
Crying out loud. Ranulph 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.
Forward and up. That's it! Good.
No! What are you doing, sledge?
Sledge! You and I are going to fall out.
It's literally going to take me about two years
to get to the South Pole at this rate.
This is right on the edge
of what we're capable of putting a tent up on.
I can honestly say
this is the most unpleasant experience of my life.
I am relieved to finally be here in Antarctica.
# We can rule the world... #
-# All the stars are coming out tonight
# They're lighting up the sky tonight... #
I'm feeling good, I'm feeling positive.
I have to be upbeat and believe I can do this.
Same campsite for two days because the weather is SO bad,
we've been snowed in to our own campsite.
20 kilometres to go and you and Nicholas could potentially set
a new world record.
This will go down as one of those days
that you talk about as a highlight.
I cannot believe that we are at the South Pole!
We're at the bottom of the world.
This might be the proudest day of my life.
# We can rule the world... #
From me in Antarctica, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd