Cambridgeshire

Antarctic postmasters picked for penguin-packed peninsula

Penguins outside post office on Goudier Island Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption The post office and museum building is surrounded by 2,000 penguins

Four people are getting ready to spend five months in the Antarctic Peninsular monitoring penguins and sorting post at the UK's most remote post office.

Each year Cambridge-based UK Antarctic Heritage Trust chooses a small team to spend five months at Port Lockroy.

Rachel Morris from Essex, Adele Jackson from West Yorkshire, Laura Martin from Inverness-shire and Iain Pringle from Lincolnshire beat 2,000 other hopefuls.

The tiny post office deals with mail from 18,000 visitors during the summer.

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption The team will spend November to March - the Antarctic summer - manning the post office

Last year the trust received about 200 applications for the postmaster positions.

This year, more than 2,400 people from 75 countries applied.

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption Penguins tolerate humans but visitors are asked to respect their habitat
Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption The team will live on the island for five months, welcoming more than two cruise ships a day

All felt able to answer "yes" to questions such as: "Can you carry a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins?

"Are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months?"

Penguin monitors

The successful team was chosen after a two-day selection process testing their fitness, teamwork and knowledge of Antarctica.

They will receive further training in September before leaving the following month for Goudier Island, home to thousands of gentoo penguins.

During the Antarctic summer they will mail thousands of cards from visitors on board expedition and cruise ships.

They will also look after the museum, act as guides and monitor the impact of humans on the penguin population.


Postmasters

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption Adele Jackson, Laura Martin, Rachel Morris and Iain Pringle
  • Adele Jackson, 42, from Clayton West in Huddersfield, visited Antarctica last year working as an expedition photographer
  • Laura Martin, 25, from Kingussie, Inverness-shire, currently works as a student outdoor instructor in the Scottish Highlands
  • Rachel Morris, from Saffron Walden in Essex is in her mid-30s, and has just returned from South Georgia Heritage Trust museum, in South Georgia, where she worked as an assistant
  • Iain Pringle, 28, from Nocton, Lincolnshire, currently works as a geophysicist and project supervisor at an archaeological consultancy company

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