Helen Skelton, Blue Peter Presenter, Spends Christmas Day In Antarctica

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Daredevil Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton spent Christmas Day in Antarctica as she prepares for an attempt to become the first person to use a bike to reach the South Pole.

The 28-year-old will begin her gruelling 500-mile ski, kite and ice bike journey across Antarctica for Sport Relief on January 1.
Skelton, whose previous exploits include high-wire walking between the chimneys of Battersea power station in London and becoming the first person to solo-kayak the length of the Amazon, is aiming to set a new world record for the longest bicycle journey on snow.

Today she also had to overcome the challenge of spending Christmas Day in Antarctica, with hours of training in sub-zero temperatures and dehydrated rations for dinner.

Skelton woke to overnight temperatures of minus 20C, with her stocking containing just a piece of Christmas cake and a letter from her family wishing her luck.

She was due to spend six hours on the snow training for her forthcoming challenge, and rather than feasting on a turkey dinner, she dined on dehydrated goulash.

"I had no idea I would miss my family this much on Christmas Day, I've been going through our Christmas traditions in my head and it's pretty weird not to be part of it," she said.

"This year is certainly going to be different, I'll be having dehydrated goulash and some dried mango in a tent and will spend all day training.

"Still, I can't complain - this is without doubt the most beautiful place I've ever been. Happy Christmas!"

The Blue Peter action woman will travel for up to 14 hours a day when she starts her journey 83 degrees south, battling against 80mph winds and temperatures that plummet to as low as minus 50C.

Possible dangers include dehydration, frostbite, sun blindness, snow drifts and altitude sickness.

Skelton will have to pull a sledge that will weigh up to 12 stone, containing all the food, equipment and supplies she will need for her journey.

The frame of the presenter's ice bike, which took three months to build, has been made from aluminium aircraft tubing designed to withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions.

Helen's Polar Challenge For Sport Relief will be shown in a special nine-week series on Blue Peter from the end of January to March and the presenter can be sponsored at www.sportrelief.com/helen.

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