aurora australis
Stunning: the aurora australis, seen from space Reuters/Nasa

Bristol schoolboy Lewis Clarke has become the youngest person yet to walk to the South Pole. The 16-year-old took 48 days to make the 700-mile trek across glaciers and mountains as temperatures plummeted to -50C (-58F).

Clarke set out from the Antarctic coast two weeks after his 16th birthday on 2 December and, as well as the weather, had to cope with blisters, colds, high-altitude coughs and a broken ski.

Using the Hercules Inlet route, Clarke, accompanied by experienced polar guide Carl Alvey, had to pull his supplies on a sledge for eight hours each day across the eerily beautiful continent in winds of up to 120mph (193kph).

Lewis Clark
16-year-old Polar explorer Lewis Clarke Youngest To South Pole

Having reached the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, Clarke was met by polar explorer and mentor Hannah McKeand. As he reveals on his blog, before speaking to his father via Skype he enjoyed a hot meal in a warm tent.

"I'm really happy," Clarke said, "but mostly relieved that for the first time in 48 days I don't have to get up tomorrow and drag my sled for nine hours in the snow and icy wind. Today was really hard, the closer I got to the Pole the slower I went, my legs had had enough. But now I'm here and I've had some spaghetti bolognaise and I am sitting in a heated tent."

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital School has raised £2,000 for the Prince's Trust and is being given a tour of the research base before flying back to the Union Glacier base camp and on to the UK, returning home on 24 January. He is waiting to hear from Guinness World Records to see if he has officially broken the record, set by 18-year-old Canadian Sarah McNair Landry in 2005.

Having reached the South Pole, Clarke now faces an even more daunting task: taking his GCSEs.