Student prepares for arctic adventure

Victoria NichollsA sixth form student is preparing herself for the harsh realities of life in the Arctic after being hand-picked to go on a scientific expedition.Victoria Nicholls

A sixth form student is preparing herself for the harsh realities of life in the Arctic after being hand-picked to go on a scientific expedition.

Lucy Shepherd, from Henham near Southwold, is one of a dozen budding adventurers who have been selected from 16 to 20-year-olds from across the country to take part in the trip to research the effects of global warming.

She found out she had made the final cut after responding to an advert on the internet and being interviewed by the organisers, the British Schools Exploration Society.

Lucy, 17, said she was excited at the prospect of next summer's month-long trip.

'It's the challenge,' she said. 'Not many people get to do it and I'm probably not going to get the chance to go there again.'

She added: 'I have a bit of experience - I go on lots of expeditions. I just came back from Nepal and I've been to Scotland quite a lot - I really like that kind of thing.'

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Lucy, who is in her final year at Woodbridge School studying A-levels in Chemistry, Biology and Art, said the experience would give her a unique opportunity to pursue her two passions, trekking and film-making, and that she was fully supported by her parents Paul and Aysha.

Next July, Lucy's expedition group will head for Svalbard, an archipelago midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Following snow and ice training during the first week the young adventures will help carry out scientific research into the impacts of global warming.

Lucy said: 'We are going to meet the scientists and help them with their work and measure the glaciers to see how much they melt. We're also going to look at the effects of the cold on the human body.'

Throughout the trip the group will traverse the ice on cross-country skis, pull sledges packed with their supplies and equipment, and sleep in tents on the ice. They are expecting to catch glimpses of Arctic wildlife, including as walruses and whales.

Undeterred by sub-zero temperatures and unknown challenges that lie await in one of the planet's harshest environments, Lucy said she was intrigued to experience an Arctic blizzard, but was more wary of other hazards, such as ice crevasses, and polar bears, adding: 'Apparently they're very hungry.'

Family trips to Scotland ignited Lucy's passion for trekking, which led her to achieve her Duke of Edinburgh's gold award.

Following her Arctic adventure, Lucy will spend a gap year in New Zealand before hoping to study medicine at a university in Scotland to be near mountains.

She has already set her sights on ambitions beyond her studies. 'My ideal job would combine everything - it would be an expedition doctor who films,' she said, adding she was eager to go trekking in the Amazon one day.

As well as putting proceeds from wedding videos she shoots into her Arctic fund, Lucy is also looking for sponsorship for the �3,100 expedition, and is offering companies the rare incentive of photographing their logo on location in the Arctic.

Anyone able to help with sponsorship can contact Lucy on

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