Posted by: ezraezra7 | March 9, 2014

Lewis is big in South Korea!

A crew from South Korean national news came to Bristol to make a big feature on Lewis for their news show today. They told us that “Lewis is very big in Korea!”. The crew and presenter were delightful and fun to work with.

They explained that Koreans are very keen on climbing, mountaineering and polar expeditions and that they also admire young people who work hard to achieve their goals.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | March 6, 2014

Lewis portrait

lewisclarkeBritish artist Heather Bowring has painted Lewis’s portrait.  It will form part of a collection called ‘I am not who you think I am’ due to tour Britain later this year.  The paintings, uniquely, are designed to be enjoyed by both sighted and visually impaired visitors.  They are tactile and designed to be touched as well as viewed.

The 14 portraits all depict people who have achieved something remarkable and who challenge stereotypes.  Lewis polar adventurer is contrasted against prejudices against teenage boys in hoodies.

You can find out more about the artist, where to see the collection and view the other portraits at:

Posted by: ezraezra7 | February 19, 2014

Lewis confirmed as Guinness World Record holder

Guinness pictureLewis’s epic Antarctic expedition has now been officially verified by Guinness World Records – the youngest person ever to trek to the South Pole from the Antarctic coast.  He has been invited to the Guinness offices in central London on Friday February 21st to be presented with his certificate.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | February 1, 2014

Lewis meets Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Lewis meets Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Just 2 days after getting back from Antarctica Lewis was invited to talk to an audience of 450 people at the Adventure Travel Show at London’s Olympia.   It was strange for him to see lots of other humans again after nearly 7 weeks on the polar ice but he did a great job speaking with confidence and fielding questions.  Thank you to everyone who donated to the Prince’s Trust – you raised £97.58 which has gone up on Lewis’s Prince’s Trust Just Giving site which remains open for another few months!    Next on the stage was Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest living explorer, who gave an inspirational and often hilarious talk.  Now Lewis is sleeping a lot and getting stuck into his next great adventure – GCSEs.

[photo credit ATS]

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 20, 2014

Lewis to headline at Adventure Travel Show

ATS_logo_MAINHas Lewis’s story whetted your appetite for a bit of adventure in 2014 ?

At 10.15am on Saturday January 25th Lewis will give his first public talk about his extraordinary expedition at the Adventure Travel Show at London’s Olympia.   Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who described Lewis’s new world record as a “great achievement”, will give the show’s keynote talk straight after Lewis at 11.00am in Theatre 1.

Why not come along and see them both, plus lots of other amazing adventurers, and dozens of stalls and workshops, and get some inspiring ideas for your own expedition, gap year or family holiday?

If you quote ‘LEWIS’ when you book online you’ll also receive a discount.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 19, 2014

Thank you

Grandad pic“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Expeditions don’t just happen, they start with an inkling, an idle thought, a ‘what if?’.  And then there’s a hell of a lot of hard work and endless setbacks.  But, with lots of people’s belief and support (and inevitably a few detractors along the way), the expedition struggles into life.  And that’s all before you even set off.

Lewis and Carl’s ambitious expedition to the South Pole couldn’t have happened without the help, encouragement, generosity and enthusiasm of a lot of different people. So this is a big thank you to the many individuals and organisations who have shown such belief in Lewis, and to those who through their generous donations to The Prince’s Trust (via Just Giving online), will now help other young people to overcome fears, or difficulties, to get out there and achieve their goals.  Please keep donating, you really can change lives.

Thank you to:

Mo and Harry Johnson (Harry pictured above): Lewis’s grandparents who recently passed away but who loved to travel and without whose generosity this expedition would never have happened.

Carl Alvey, ANI Polar guide, veteran of many Greenland ice cap crossings and several shorter Antarctic expeditions, who guided Lewis to his goal so expertly.  He also completed this classic Hercules Inlet coast to pole journey for the first time himself.

ANI (Adventure Network International)/ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions) who provided flights and logistics which got Lewis and Carl where they needed to be and helped keep them safe.

Jon Bradshaw, 1st Irish Team to the South Pole 2008, English Channel Swim supporter and seeder of the idea

QEH school, Bristol – who have supported Lewis all the way, including helping him to take his GCSE maths exam a year early and teachers who have provided extra work for him to do through the holidays and will help him catch up on his return.

Dan Snow who loves an adventure and helped fundraising for the expedition

Hannah McKeand who, at 6 expeditions, holds the record for the person to have journeyed to the South Pole more than any other, and also prides herself on inspiring and mentoring young adventurers like Lewis

Sol Clarke (aged 11), Lew’s little brother.  Who endured endless trips to Weston Super Mare, where Lewis practised his tyre pulling, and did lots of media interviews on his brother’s behalf with great aplomb. And who put up with inevitable questions about following in his brother’s footsteps.  Sol is his own person and will no doubt make footsteps of his own, most likely not in the snow.


Val Iles Lewis’s nursery nurse and surrogate Grandma who loves an adventure and clearly read him too much Dr Seuss

Icon Films, Bristol, for fundraising and technical support

Tom Creed, Lew’s mate, who donated money to the Prince’s Trust not once but twice from his paper round

Our Honda car (1999) which showed, and continues to show, great endurance of it’s own as it should have been retired 3 years ago.  191,000 miles on the clock.  Thanks for keeping going.

All of Lewis’s family, friends and teachers – for the messages of support that kept him going

… and finally, to the man in the pub who saw Lewis’s story on the news; the lady in Trinidad and the grandma and grandson from ‘The North’, and everyone else, who were inspired by Lewis’s story and donated to the Prince’s Trust on his behalf, thank you.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 18, 2014

Days forty-seven and forty-eight

SPDistance travelled on Jan 17th: 16 miles

Distance travelled on Jan 18th: 10 miles

Cumulative distance: 702 miles

Distance still to go: 0 miles

Duration of expedition: 49 days

World record achieved: Youngest person to trek to the South Pole from the Antarctic coast (702 miles)

Of note: Lewis and Carl arrived at the South Pole at 18.00 GMT today January 18th, 2014.   Lewis has gone into the history books, becoming the youngest person ever to trek to the South Pole from the coast (see world record page on this blog).

Lewis and Carl were greeted by polar legend, and Lewis’s mentor, Hannah McKeand who just so happened to be manning ANI’s (Adventure Network International’s) polar camp.

After an early start and -50C (inc windchill) it took them a few hours longer than expected to reach their goal.   As Lewis rang to confirm his arrival his dad Steven was live on BBC news 24 via Skype and BBC Points West were also filming as his call came in.  Lewis said he had also been delayed from calling home by 30 mins by eating his first real meal in nearly seven weeks, spaghetti Bolognaise with fresh parmesan.  He is now sitting in a heated tent which he is very excited about.

Lewis will stay overnight at the Pole and then he has been offered a tour of the Amundsen Scott Polar Research base tomorrow.  He will fly back to Union Glacier base camp tomorrow afternoon and will be back in the UK on January 24th.

We and he have so many people to thank, but right now our heartfelt thanks go to Carl Alvey, his polar guide and sole companion for the past seven weeks and ANI, the Antarctic logistics company, who have kept him safe and helped him realise his dream.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 17, 2014

Day forty-six

as base

This data relates to state of play at end of Thursday January 16th.

Distance travelled: 16 miles

Hours on skis: 8.5hrs

Cumulative distance: 680 miles

Still to go: 25 miles

Of note:  It is as if Antarctica is amusing herself by having one last go at thwarting Lewis and Carl.  Forecast temperatures for tomorrow (Sat Jan 18th) are now -50C inc windchill.  Unbelievably cold – particularly as Lewis said in his phone call yesterday “my body is telling me stop”.

Lewis and Carl will now be longingly  scanning the horizon (if they can bear to look up that is, because the icey wind will be belting in their faces) for the first building they will have seen in nearly 7 weeks – the odd looking Amundsen Scott  Polar Research base which is located at the South Pole.  Normally on an expedition your goal is a remote mountain peak, but in Antarctic expeditions you trek from the remote coast and interior to what passes for civilisation – the bizarre vision of a research station  in the middle of nowhere, like a spaceship plonked on the moon.  Unlike Scott though fortunately they will not have to contemplate turning around and walking back to their ship at the coast, rather, in due course and weather permitting, a Russian cargo plane will fly them back to base camp on the coast 702 miles away.

But they’ve still got to get there first ….. next news is likely to be  either one of the two following scenarios 1] they have made it to the Pole or 2] they are imprisoned by cold and gale force winds in their tent perhaps 10-15 miles away from their goal.  We will know which tomorrow, perhaps lunchtime or afternoon (Sat January 18th).  As soon as we hear anything we’ll blog the news here.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 16, 2014

Day forty-five

weather pic

Distance travelled: 11 miles

Hours on skis: 6 hrs

Cumulative distance: 664 miles

Still to go: 37 miles

Temp: -25C (windchill -35C)

Of note:  Lewis rang into his school, QEH in Bristol, to talk to school friends and answer their questions today.  The whole thing was filmed by BBC Points West and the National News.  It was quite hard to hear Lewis on his crackly satellite phone but, as discussed in the previous blog, it is now truly mind over matter.  Lewis said “my body has had enough, I am forcing it to go on”.  Their report to basecamp reads simply “Lewis is tired. Very cold.”  Despite this he sounded cheery enough and loved talking to his mates from school. [because of the delay in getting base camp reports, the data above always relates to the previous day, so they did 11 miles yesterday.  We will know what they managed today tomorrow and so on].

Picture shows forecast for Saturday, the day they hope to arrive at the Pole.  You can see that not only does the temperature start to fall on Saturday but the wind also picks up to a strong breeze.  The result is that the southerly most point on earth will greet Lewis and Carl, after nearly seven weeks on the ice, with sunshine, but – it is also forecast to be -46C! at 18.00 on Saturday (that’s -30 plus windchill).  This is alarmingly cold even for Antarctica.  And remember it’s summer down there.  Whether it will delay their arrival will remain to be seen.  Carl will always put his and Lewis’s safety first and if they need to hole up in the tent to prevent frost bite then that is what they will have to do, however close the pole is.

All being well, predicted arrival date remains Saturday. Given this forecast the sooner they can get there the better.  Lewis is exhausted but somehow he needs to push on to avoid this dangerous weather.

Posted by: ezraezra7 | January 15, 2014

Day forty-four

jeansDistance travelled: 17 miles

Hours on skis: 9 hours

Cumulative distance: 654

Still to go: 48 miles

Temp: -31C (-41C with windchill)

Of note: report to basecamp “Whiteout. Coldest day yet.”

Antarctica does not give up it’s prizes easily and when Lewis’s teacher Mr Cook said the hardest was over I am not sure Lewis would agree.   Whilst there are no more sastrugi and no further climbing (they are now at approx. 9,800ft the height of the pole itself), there are the new challenges of almost total physical depletion, which all the expeditioners are suffering from at present.  They are running on mental toughness only right now.   Reading Jon’s excellent write up in previous blog, these final days, especially in whiteout and freezing temperatures, must be some of the most agonising.

Whilst of course we had lots of concerns about Lewis undertaking this enormous expedition, his mental strength was the one thing that reassured us because we had seen evidence of it in the past.  When Lewis trained for the Channel Swim relay (World Record Youngest Relay to swim across English Channel 2010), aged 12, he spent hours and hours training by swimming in very very cold water and sometimes very rough seas with currents you could hardly make headway against.  But never once in the months and months of training did he moan or ever get out of a session early.  He was not the fastest swimmer, as he is not the fastest cross country skier, but he possesses the only thing that all expeditioners really need – a mind that can overcome a body that is desperate to stop – and this is what we hope will keep him going in these final difficult days.

One of the other expeditioners out in Antarctica at the moment, a man attempting to be the first (solo) Finn to the Pole, is reporting he has a blackened frost bitten area on his face, we hope he is okay.  We are hoping Lewis and Carl are being very careful as the Antarctic wind will find it’s way to the tiniest area of uncovered skin.

It’s hard to photograph what cold feels like, but this photo of a pair of jeans so cold they are standing up on their own (by Ranulph Fiennes, see Freeze Frame website of polar images) does a good job I think.

All being well, 2-3 days to go.

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