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Pole to Pole?

PUBLISHED: 14:06 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 21 May 2010

It's a desolate landscape that few get to see and into which many have ventured never to return, but at 19 years old George Bullard has already been bitten by the polar exploration bug.

It's a desolate landscape that few get to see and into which many have ventured never to return, but at 19 years old George Bullard has already been bitten by the polar exploration bug.

George, from Gressenhall, has just returned from the icy wastes of sub-Antarctica and has been touched so much by his experiences that he is hoping to visit the North Pole later this year.

If the Eton-educated student succeeds in his goal, it will mean he will have been to the opposite ends of Earth during his gap year.

He said: “Going to Antarctic is one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had. I took 799 photos but it is hard to put into words. It was simply incredible.

“We did not get to go to the continent but we got to South Georgia, which was incredible.

“It is such a desperate place, but it is absolutely packed with wildlife.”

George was part of an 18-member team from the British Schools Exploring Society selected for the eight-week adventure. After a rigorous selection process he had to raise £5,500 for the trip.

The team sailed around South Georgia and the Falkland Islands learning about and researching climate change. They also learned how to conserve the delicate ecosystem while trying to spot humpback and minke whales, killer whales and southern right whales, a species hunted almost to extinction.

While on South Georgia the expedition went skiing and trekking and climbed some of the peaks that the great explorer Ernest Shackleton had tackled.

On the Falklands they retraced the footsteps of British forces on the 25th anniversary of the conflict with Argentina.

While enduring sub-zero temperatures, Mr Bullard saw both the beauty and the danger of the polar region. Sailing to South Georgia, his party got caught in a force nine gale, an experience

he described as terrify-

ing.

But he also got to sleep out under beautiful clear skies .

George added: “There was one day where it was glorious sunshine and we climbed up a peak for an amazing view.

“On Christmas Day

we slept out under clear skies. It was beautiful.”

Now, he is invest-igating the possibility of funding a trip to

the North Pole this year.

If he does not succeed with that, he hopes to travel to Australia instead and experience life as a jackaroo, an outback cowboy, before heading off to university.

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