Polar explorer Henry Evans, winner of the Daily Telegraph International Scott Centenary Expedition “Spirit of Scott” competition, proved a fascinating and popular guest speaker at Truro High’s 2013 Amy Key Lecture which was organised by the Old Girls’ Association and sponsored by Lillicrap Chilcott.
The 23 year old marine biologist, who graduated from the University of Plymouth, completed a 140 mile trek to the South Pole in January this year – following in the footsteps of Captain Scott and his team, all five of whom famously died in their 1912 attempt. Henry had just one companion for his venture – 63 year old polar guide Geoff Somers who has completed the journey seven times in the past.
Henry, who was chosen from 300 applicants, spoke about the selection process, the arduous training regime and the strenuous process of actually skiing all those miles from Base Camp to the South Pole. His talk was illustrated with photos and there was lots of humorous detail about coping with temperatures of minus 35 degrees Celsius, 24 hour daylight, pulling 65 kg sledges at an altitude of 9000 feet and being plagued by hallucinations which included the sight of a sausage baguette and imagining mice under his skis.
The journey took fourteen days over the Christmas period and one of the things that intrigued the audience most was that accommodation for the 170 scientists living at the Amundsen Scott South Pole station apparently includes a sauna, shop and gym.
As well as giving a lecture about his experiences and demonstrating some of the equipment used, Henry presented Truro High School’s Year 13 leavers with Old Girls’ badges.
“The first Amy Key lecture was held last year and has already become an important annual fixture,” said Headmistress Caroline Pascoe. “I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Henry’s talk. It really was inspiring.”