Saturday, October 3, 2015

Antarctic postmasters complete training for penguin-packed peninsula

  • 3 October 2015

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

Four people have completed a week's gruelling training preparing for five months in the Antarctic Peninsular at the UK's most remote post office.
Cambridge-based UK Antarctic Heritage Trust chose 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 2,500 other hopefuls.
The tiny post office deals with mail from 18,000 visitors during the summer.
Before heading off to their new jobs, the four postmasters spent a week in Cambridge learning about all aspects of life on Goudier Island, which is home to thousands of gentoo penguins.

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption Team members were asked if they were happy to live with 2,000 smelly penguins for five months

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption Penguins tolerate humans but visitors are asked to respect their habitat
The training course included lessons in emergency first aid, role-play sessions on dealing with the thousands of tourists who arrive on cruise ships, maintenance of the museum and historic buildings and learning how to use specialist data collection equipment to monitor the impact of people on the resident penguin population.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also sent an expert to deliver a lesson on the finer points of the Antarctic Treaty.

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust


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

The training was intended to equip them for everyday life at Port Lockroy.
"We ask a lot of the team when we send them to Antarctica, with each member having responsibility for a very broad and diverse set of duties," Camilla Nichol, chief executive of the trust, said.
Trainee postmaster Rachel Morris described the training as "very thorough" and said it had helped them "bond as a team".
"I feel as prepared as possible for the work we will do," she said.
Once settled in their new home, the team are expected to send regular blogs back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust detailing daily life as a postman among the penguins.

Image copyright UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
Image caption The teamwill live on the island for five months, welcoming more than two cruise ships a day

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