Lyndsay on a peak in the Buchanan Hills
After 18 months of planning, fundraising and training my Antarctica expedition got underway in November last year. The first stop was Chile, with 5 days planned to buy the food for the expedition and organise the kit ready to be flown into Antarctica. Unfortunately the weather in Antarctica delayed things since there was a lot of snow at Union Glacier, which prevented the Illyushin from being able to land on the blue ice runway. We therefore had to wait over a week for the weather to settle down and the runway to be cleared, but we finally landed in Antarctica on the 24th November. We stepped off the plane into gorgeous sunshine, immediately faced by stunning scenery of snow, ice and mountains. Out in the sunshine it felt relatively warm but the air temperature was actually quite chilly at -16 degrees. We spent the first night at Union Glacier base camp, where we had to start getting used to sleeping in bright sunshine. The next day, the six of us headed straight out on expedition into the Nimbus hills. We travelled for three and a half weeks on cross country skis, man hauling our sleds behind us and setting up camp each night. The scenery was absolutely stunning in all directions, and the fact that so few people have been to these places before made it all the more special. We managed to climb several of the mountains in the range, often having to use ropes, harnesses, crampons and ice axes to get up safely and avoid hidden crevasses. Occasionally we even took our empty sleds up so we could sledge back down, which was great fun and made us get back for dinner much quicker!
Whilst exploring, I was always on the lookout for patches of ice to take samples for analysis. Unfortunately, these were fairly sparse due to the extremely deep snow covering the glacier. Even digging down could often not get us close to the ice layers at times. I did eventually manage to get 8 samples though which are now with the British Antarctic Survey ready to be sent for analysis to determine if they do contain nanoparticles of iron oxide. I also carried out the students’ experiments to compare the effectiveness of different base layers: ones made of merino wool against polypropylene base layers which contained silver nanoparticles. The nanoparticle layers came out top in terms of UV resistance but their thermal properties were not as good as the merino. The initial smell test on the nanoparticle socks suggests they are more smell resistant that standard hiking socks, but are not as good as the merino. Early this term, my classes will be comparing the bacterial levels of the different socks to complete the comparison. Unfortunately, it seems I haven’t found the secret to getting socks that don’t smell no matter how long you wear them (I did still last a full week before changing them though!).
Overall, the expedition was the experience of a lifetime. Even when temperatures got down to -36’C (with wind chill) and we had to ski into a headwind of 25 knots, I still enjoyed every minute. I felt so privileged to have the opportunity to carry out science research in such an isolated and hostile environment and want to thank all those who made it possible at The Thomas Hardye School and those people and businesses who sponsored me: Dorset Cereals, Icebreaker, Badger Ales, Ringwood Brewery, The Piddle Brewery, Petzl, Thermarest, Great Western Camping, The 3 Compasses Pub, Chestnut House Nursing Home, Waitrose, Tesco, The Plaza Cinema & Get On Board.
Signing off for now!
Miss Lyndsay Hilton
Posted in Uncategorized January 3, 2011
To follow me whilst I’m away:
Daily blogs – www.fuchsfoundation.org
On twitter – AntarcticHilton
Posted in Uncategorized November 2, 2010
Well, after 18 months of training, fundraising, science preparation & planning, I finally set off on my Antarctic expedition tomorrow. The last few days have been spent packing, running to the supermarket for little things I’ve forgotten (lots of times!) and tying up loose ends. It’s amazing the things you need to organise when you’re going to be uncontactable for two months! It’s now starting to sink in as I realise I am actually going to the remotest place on earth with no way of getting out if I decide I don’t like it
If you want to follow me whilst I’m away, I’ll be writing a daily blog at www.fuchsfoundation.org and will be tweeting every few days at AntarcticHilton on Twitter.
Posted in Uncategorized November 2, 2010
During the week beginning 27th September, there will be an Antarctica week in my school which will raise the profile of my expedition amongst the pupils and parents. A number of departments are carrying out Antarctica themed lessons. For example, the science department are asking students to design experiments to test the performance of different base layer materials. The best experiments will be carried out by me in Antarctica to compare those containing nanoparticles with those made of merino wool. On my return, the results from these experiments will be written up as part of my science research. During this week there are also two events taking place during the evening at the school, which are also open to parents and members of the public:
Date: Thursday 30th September
Venue: Theatre, The Thomas Hardye School
Music with an Antarctica theme will be performed by THS students. This will feature a range of performers including the Big Band and the Flute Choir, and will include songs by Snow Patrol, Coldplay and many more! Entry is free, with a bar available and a retiring collection.
Wine, Real Ale & Cheese Tasting Adventure:
Date: Friday 1st October
Venue: 6th form centre, The Thomas Hardye School
The Dorset Wine Company will be giving a talk on wine tasting and running a blind tasting competition of around eight different wines. There will also be a wide variety of real ales and cheeses to taste, which have been specially selected to complement each other. Buffet food will also be provided and the evening will end with a short talk from me on my upcoming Antarctica Expedition. Tickets are £10 and can be purchased from The Thomas Hardye School, Great Western Camping or the Three Compasses in Charminster.
I hope to see many of you there!
Posted in Uncategorized September 19, 2010
In preparation for my Antarctica expedition, I completed a weeks winter training in Norway over February half term. This involved me learning how to cross country ski whilst hauling my own sledge and camping out in temperatures down to -25○C. When we woke up the next morning, it was so cold that there was ice on the inside of the tent and even our toothpaste had frozen! I’ve realised I’ve got lots of strength to build before I’ll be able to pull the weight I need comfortably – so lots of trips to the gym are in order! The next training will be in the summer holidays in the Lake District, where we do our final preparation before we set off for Antarctica in November.
Posted in Uncategorized March 24, 2010
The Polar Expeditions evening was a huge success with over 150 people attending and really positive feedback received. Mr Peter Fuchs’ talk & film showing original footage of the first Antarctic crossing was fascinating and a real privelage to watch. Dr Simon Boxall was a compelling speaker, showing a real passion for his research on global warming in the Arctic. A big thank you to everyone who came and made the evening such a success. A particular thank you to those who gave a donation to my expedition – £530 in total was raised which more than exceeded my expectations. If anyone would like to be added to my email distribution list to be informed of my progress in preparing for the expedition, they should email me on [email protected]. Also don’t forget to do your shopping at http://www.buy.at/lhilton1 - you can get lots of discounts off your shopping at all the major retailers and a percentage will be donated to my expedition each time you shop. Keep an eye on this website for other upcoming events!
Posted in Uncategorized October 26, 2009
Come to my exciting event in the Corn Exchange, Dorchester on Wednesday 21st October at 7pm.
Watch original footage of the first crossing of the Antarctic in 1956/8. The 45 minute film follows the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition which was led by Sir Vivian Fuchs, the first Director of the British Antarctic Survey. This will be preceded with a short talk by Peter Fuchs who will give an intriguing insight into his father’s expedition.
Following free drinks and buffet food, Dr Simon Boxall will then deliver a talk on his Cape Farewell expeditions to the Arctic. These expeditions bring scientists, artists, musicians and film makers together in the High Arctic to do research and investigate the impact of climate change in our polar regions. The voyages have involved musicians such as K T Tunstall and Jarvis Cocker, artists like Antony Gormley and writers such as Ian McEwan. Dr Boxall is a truly engaging speaker and is renowned for the Christmas Lectures he has given.
This is an entirely free event, with any donations on the evening being used to support my expedition to the Antarctic in 2010. Tickets can be collected from either the Thomas Hardye School or Great Western Camping from Monday 12th October. As tickets are limited, please only collect one if you definitely plan on attending. In the meantime, if you would like further information about my expedition or this event, please contact me on 01305 266064 or [email protected].
Hopefully see you there!
Posted in Uncategorized October 6, 2009
On the 28th July, my friend Karen and I successfully completed the 3 peaks challenge in 22 hours and 43 minutes. After a small delay (due to a tempremental car), we started at 10pm on the 27th by hiking up Snowdon. It was pretty dark by the time we started but we really enjoying the climb up, getting only slightly scared when we thought we saw a ghost on the summit! With the use of our head torches, we were able to stick to the path and got up and down in three and a half hours. Then came the drive to Scafell which didn’t take too long with Kimber’s driving (although it did make me slightly ill!). We managed only 1-2 hours sleep in the car then started climbing Scafell at 5:30am on the 28th. Despite the ferocious wind and rain, we hiked to the summit and were back down again within 3 hours. Then came the long drive to Scotland, broken only with a few coffee stops and a lovely fish and chip supper. We started climbing Ben Nevis at around3:30pm that afternoon and walked through snow and horizontal hale to reach the summit in 3 hours. We then made it back down to Glen Nevis by8:43pm, bringing the total time on Ben Nevis to 5hours 15 min and our 3 peaks challenge being successfully completed in 22 hours and 43 minutes. A really big thank you must go to Karen for doing the challenge with me (just for fun) and to Kimber for driving us the whole way and providing Karen with amazingly useful advice as she battled the onset of hypothermia on Ben Nevis! It was a really fun challenge to do, the hardest thing about it being the lack of sleep. Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored me. If you would like to sponsor me now, you still can at www.justgiving.com/lhilton1
Posted in Uncategorized August 19, 2009
On the 27th July this year I, along with my friend Karen, are going to attempt the 3 peaks challenge to raise money for my Antarctica expedition. This involves climbing the highest mountains in Wales, England & Scotland (Snowdon, Scafell & Ben Nevis), all in 24 hours! We’ll even have to do some of the hiking overnight in the dark. The times we need to aim for are 4 hours to climb up and down Snowdon, 5 hours for Scafell and 5 for Ben Nevis. The rest of the 24 hours is for driving between the mountains, which our friend Kimber has kindly agreed to do
So, if you are able to sponsor me, please click on the Justgiving link to the right of this post. Alternatively, send me a cheque at my school (see the fundraising page for the address).
Thanks so much for your support.
Posted in Uncategorized May 20, 2009
Hello and welcome to my site!
After a rigorous selection centre over the Easter holidays, I have been selected to go on a science expedition to Antarctica in November 2010. The expedition is organised by a charity called the Fuchs Foundation, who aim to raise the profile of science in schools and the exciting research that is being carried out in places like Antarctica and encourage more young people to study science. I will be going with two guides and three other teachers from around the UK. During our 6 week stay we will each be conducting a science project and camping in temperatures down to -40°C, man-hauling all our tents and equipment and possibly even climbing mountains that have never been climbed before. To prepare for the expedition, we are also going on two training expeditions to Norway next year, bringing the total cost of the trip to around £35,000 per teacher! I need to raise £14,000, so click on the fundraising page to see how you can help and watch this space for fundraising events coming up. Thank you for your support.
Posted in Uncategorized April 18, 2009