Janet's journey to bottom of the world

FOR someone who claims her biggest risk was walking on the cycle side of a footpath, it is not surprising Janet Bettle is a touch apprehensive about her impending adventure.

Simon Tomlinson

FOR someone who claims her biggest risk was walking on the cycle side of a footpath, it is not surprising Janet Bettle is a touch apprehensive about her impending adventure.

That's because the 46-year-old barrister from Tendring has decided to swap her cosy home this Christmas for the frozen landscapes of Antarctica.

The mother-of-two flew out to South America on Boxing Day to meet up with a group of students and science experts before embarking on a ship to the icy continent, where they will spend several days studying its ecosystem.

Speaking before leaving for her epic trip, Mrs Bettle, who is married to 46-year-old Vernon, a GP, said: “I'm not intrepid. I love my family, my home, my job. I also care about my whippets, my cats and my garden.

“Yet come this weekend, I will load the dishwasher, put on my balaclava and head off to the bottom of the world. It's been a huge process just to get selected, but it is reality check time now.”

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Mrs Bettle, a family lawyer at East Anglian Chambers, will be going as a chaperone with Canadian group Students on Ice, which organises educational adventures for young people to both Polar Regions.

They will joined by top scientists at research stations, have the chance to take part in experiments and hopefully see a range of wildlife including penguins, whales and leopard seals. Mrs Bettle will be keeping a blog along the way.

She said: “I have always wanted to visit Antarctica, but have never been in a position to go. I love extreme landscapes and wildlife.

“I'm also very interested to meet people who have spent their working lives in this environment - what force is so powerful that it pulls men and women to such a place?

“My eyes are open to the challenge. I hope to have an experience which will expand my horizons.”

For more information on the expedition and to follow Mrs Bettle's journey visit www.studentsonice.com.