STUDENTS at a North-East school got a cool treat when a world-renowned Antarctic explorer stopped by to speak with them.
Captain Louis Rudd MBE, 50, who this year became the first Briton ever to cross the Antarctic solo and unsupported, visited Hummersknott Academy, in Darlington, to share his experiences, and encourage students to never stop trying.
Capt Rudd joined the armed forces at the age of 16 and, through the British Army’s Adventure Training Scheme, has made several expeditions into the icy wastelands of Antarctica.
The latest expedition took Captain Rudd 56 days to ski nearly 1,000 miles through the harshest terrain on Earth, crossing the geographic South Pole, and traversing the continent.
He said: “I think it’s great to have the opportunity to talk to children about our proud history as a nation with exploration, and a bit about polar history.
“I talk about my modern expeditions, and the desire to be successful, the importance of determination and mental resilience, and hopefully the kids will take away something that will help them in their futures.”
Capt Rudd also shared his personal philosophy of “always a little further” – an approach which was inspired by the legendary early 20th century British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott.
Though Scott’s team perished during their return from the South Pole, it’s theorised that they would have survived if they had taken just eleven more steps before making camp each day.
This inspired Captain Rudd to always walk an extra eleven steps daily during his gruelling journey, just in case it made the difference between success or failure and death.
He encouraged students to adopt this approach, and always spend a few extra minutes studying, read just a few more pages, or work a little bit harder than strictly necessary – just in case that extra effort is all they need to succeed.
Judith Bailey, a member of the school’s senior leadership team who arranged the visit, said: “We’re very grateful that Capt Rudd took the time to come and speak us. It’s very appropriate for our Year 10 pupils to hear from him now, as they begin to prepare for their GCSEs.
“As they embark on this crucial stage of their education, I hope they bear in mind his words about staying determined, being resilient, and always trying just a little bit harder.”