This morning’s post brought me a card of greetings from the South Pole, stamped and dated the 26th January - the day that Tessa and Pete conducted a unique peace ceremony at the end of the South Pole Race near the Amundsen Scott Station, Antarctica. The card was a wonderful picture of first light and the southern lights as the sun just appeared over the horizon on the very edge of the bottom of our World. Below Tessa and Pete raise the Yin Yang Flag at the Pole, and how happy they look after what was the most challenging time of their lives.
In what was the first race to the South Pole since Scott and Amundson’s ill fated journey nearly 100 years ago, Tessa and Pete were carrying 1300 personal messages of peace and pledges for the environment to speak out, when they reached their objective. They had also spoken the messages out aloud with representatives from 6 different nations on New Year’s Eve at the end of their 100 mile training leg just before they started the epic race leg. This ceremony took almost 3 hours huddled in a draughty tent. As 2008 became 2009, the blowing blizzard became a raging storm and the howling wind threatened to eat everything in its path, sending shifting snow to bury them alive – but their heartfelt resolution was to survive.
In Tessa’s own moving words “Unlike Captain Scott, we did survive! We were able to accomplish our mission, with thanks to modern equipment and the excellent South Pole Race expertise. We felt so honoured that we had been allowed to tiptoe across this stunningly beautiful wilderness that graces the end of our Earth, to experience the solitude of nothing but ice to the curve of the horizon 360 degrees around; the warmth of the sun when the temperature is –50 degrees C; the promise of no darkness; the joy of rainbow sparkling ice crystals dancing in the air, to know the ceaseless play of wind and snow, snow and wind; and to feel the fragility and preciousness of life on the edge.”
Tessa and Pete were the veteran team at 60 and 62 years of age respectively and their training had been steady over the previous 18 months or so. The first stage started with running and culminated in the 2008 London Marathon. Then long distance walking including around the 630 miles of the South West Coast path of England which took them 28 days carrying tent etc. The final stage was tyre-pulling culminating in a record-breaking tyre-pull along the 100 miles of the South Downs Way with their equipment on their tyres. This was to accustom themselves to pulling all their needs for survival on their 4 and a half week journey on skis.
Amongst their survival kit was Yin Yang pHamino-Gold for the exposed skin of their faces, and Yin Yang Joint Cream with MSM, to ease their aching bodies. Tessa had started to use the latter before the adventure, and despite the arduous and demanding physical energy required for the journey, she felt very fit when they reached the South Pole: as her happy smiling photographs portray. Due to the bright sun, which gave them some warmth even at such very low temperatures and the lack of the ozone layer in the Antartic, all the teams used “Factors” on their faces. But Tessa expressed her appreciation of the purity of pHamino-Gold that she used on her face, because she could feel its protective nourishment from plants, as opposed to the chemicals of the standard products. Team Southern Lights was the only one of the six not to suffer from frostbite, which makes me proud of Yin Yang, phamino-Gold and its usefulness where protection from the elements is necessary.
In all their adventures it is very clear that Tessa and Pete’s aim is to do good and positive things, to support peace and progress on our precious planet. To bring Nations together in harmony, even in the most challenging circumstances. They are already planning their next trip to Kilimanjaro in two years time. This completes six global achievements – 2 in South America, one in Tibet, The South Pole, Hawaii and then Africa to complete the 6 point balances. Tessa has given herself 3 months (another challenge) to write the book of this adventure, and they plan to read the messages once again in the Tibetan Peace Garden in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum on the 6th July, 2009. A BBC Film of the race, is due to be shown on TV during the next few months.
Tessa and Pete are very grateful to all of you who have been able to donate sponsorship to their three charities. It is not too late to donate to these at the following websites.
www.justgiving.com/tessburrows1 - to support Tibet and Children with CLIMB FOR TIBET & TIBET RELIEF FUND
www.justgiving.com/teamsouthernlightswwf - to support Climate Change and the Earth with WWF
www.justgiving.com/teamsouthernlightsms - to support Compassionate Action with the MS SCOIETY
To read about the incredible journey, see more pictures and hear their messages go to www.teamsouthernlights.org. It is a most impressive and uplifting achievement.