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From the Amazon to Antarctica

Saturday 19th February 2011

Extreme travelling competition for budding explorers

A budding explorer from Essex, who has been inspired by Captain Robert Scott of the Antarctic, will have the chance to prove that he has got what it takes to follow in the legendary Royal Navy Officer’s footsteps during an exercise held at HMS Raleigh, in Cornwall, next week.
James Borrell, aged 20, is one of ten candidates who have been shortlisted to take part in the International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE) after entering a competition run by the expedition organisers and the Daily Telegraph.  The aim of the expedition is to visit Scott’s last camp, where he and two other men perished from exposure and starvation 100 years ago.  Two of Scott’s comrades had died earlier in the mission.
James is a final year biologist studying at the University of Exeter. He says;
“This centenary is literally a once in a lifetime event, and I feel very privileged to be in some way involved with remembering this great man.”
James’s first expedition was to the rainforests of Madagascar with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES), an experience that he admits probably changed his life. In Madagascar, James and his fellow team members helped begin a forest regeneration programme with the local communities, one of the main reasons he chose to study biology at university. He feels very strongly in the benefits of expeditions to young people and last week was delighted to have secured the position of Science Co-ordinator on a BSES expedition to the Amazon this summer.  He continues;
“One of the best things about BSES is that in keeping with the ethos of Captain Scott, there is a purpose, a scientific aim, and with that comes an even greater sense of achievement.”
James now feels one step closer to a dream of travelling from the Amazon to Antarctica;
“Visiting the Amazon rainforest is a dream come true for any biologist, and the chance to journey to the other extreme, Antarctica, especially at such an historic time, would be incredible.”
James is enthusiastic about the selection event taking place next week. He is also hoping that the scientist in him will get a chance to visit Antarctica;
“I’m most looking forward to meeting so many other people who are as excited about expeditions as me. It is a competition, but I think it’s important to put that aside, be yourself, and enjoy the experience!
“The Terra Nova was in fact primarily a scientific expedition, and most of the people currently on Antarctica are scientists working in very tough conditions to learn more about our planet and the way it works. I’d love the chance to meet a few of them and find out more.”
James gives presentations and talks at schools to encourage young people to embark on expeditions and he hopes that this centenary event will provide a fresh opportunity to inspire the next generation of modern-day explorers and scientists.
“There are all sorts of ways to get involved with the celebrations, such as the Scott Scholarships Sledge Pull, which will be organising a nationwide event to support a great cause.”

For more information please visit the BSES website.