A SCOTTISH university graduate has landed her first job in charge of the most southerly post office in the world.
Florence Barrow will have three humans and 4000 penguins for company when she arrives for work later this year in the Antarctic.
The 22-year-old modern history graduate from St Andrews University beat off 160 rivals for the job 11,000 miles away from home.
She is following in the footsteps of illustrious ancestors who helped explore the wild beauty of the continent in the early 20th Century.
Florence, who was brought up with tales of her explorer relatives’ adventures, will be post mistress at Port Lockroy, the most visited area of the Antarctic.
During the summer – when temperatures range from just 5 to a balmy 15 degrees C – around 15,000 cruise ship passengers call in.
Florence will send the tourists’ postcards and letters to all corners of the earth.
Exploring is in her family’s blood. Her great-great uncle was Hartley Ferrar, a geologist on board RRS Discovery, which made trips to the continent between 1901 – 1904.
And her great grandfather was a deckhand for the Terra Nova exploration team who became the first explorers to reach the South Pole 1912 – although the entire team died on the return journey.
Florence said winning the job, with the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, was a “dream”.
She said: “My grandmother used to tell me stories about Antarctica when I was a little girl and it’s always been a big part of my family history and a big dream of mine to go.
“When I graduated university I saw an online job advert and couldn’t believe it, it was my dream job and I was thrilled when I found out I had been selected.
“I feel very proud to be the next generation in my family to experience the Antarctic, it feels wonderful.”
The group shopped in Tesco and Sainsbury’s to get four months of supplies – including canned and tinned goods, and 12 kg of chocolate.
Florence admitted that living with three strangers could be the most challenging aspect of her trip.
She said: “We have only spent one week together and will be sharing one room in Antarctica, that may be the hardest thing, living with people you don’t know in such a an intense environment will certainly be interesting.
“As a group we will man the whole base, run the post office, run the museum and gift shop, as well as monitoring the penguins -we have spent the summer preparing for all the roles.”
The team have all received first aid training and in a medical emergency will be able to call a nearby boat which will have a doctor and medical room on board.
“With a generation of graduates out of work, I am incredibly lucky to have secured any job, let alone a dream job,” Florence said.
“The landscape looks incredibly beautiful. Antarctica is such an important place politically, scientifically and historically.
“Despite its isolation it really matters to the wider world and I feel honoured to have a chance to help protect its heritage for future generations.
“It is certainly an unusual first job but all my family are excited for me and I can’t wait to go to Antarctica, it really is a dream,” she added.
Only half of the Antarctic island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins and Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the north-west shore of Wiencke Islands of the British Antarctic Territory.
It was discovered in 1904 and was formally used for waling until 1931.