Science - Pole position

30th January 2009 at 00:00

Two teenagers got a bird's eye view of Antarctica earlier this month after winning a school essay-writing competition.

Ami Munro and Marcus Ingram of Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, set off on January 13 on a scientific adventure that few will ever undertake. After flying to Melbourne, they embarked on a 12-hour flight over Antarctica, which took them over the South Magnetic Pole.

The flight was organised to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Magnetic South Pole on January 16, 1909, during an expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. The S6 students were offered the opportunity by the Royal Society of Victoria, in Melbourne.

While on board, they heard from Antarctic explorers and scientists. They then returned to Melbourne, where they spent an intensive four days taking part in the University of Melbourne's Young Scholars programme.

Robert Gordon's head of college, Hugh Ouston, said: "One of Shackleton's 1909 colleagues had a link with the Gordon Highlanders. The director of the programme was in Aberdeen last year for personal reasons and, when he saw the pupils in their tartan kilts, he came to the college to offer this wonderful opportunity, which many pupils were keen to seize."

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