He might only have managed one tune before the bitter cold froze his bagpipes, but Carlops adventurer Jak Kennedy’s dream had come true.
The 29-year-old became the first person to play the bagpipes at the South Pole this month, buit on ly after he was first forced to defrost them when the -30C temperatures froze a valve.
Jak’s one tune was ‘Scotland the Brave’ at the ceremonial South Pole and then he managed a rendition of ‘Teribus’ at the geographical pole at the end of an energy-sapping70-mile trek.
Speaking afterwards, Jak, who has played the pipes for 20 years, said he went into autopilot when he started playing.
“I’d been thinking of going to the Antarctic for years and years now but only recently did I think it would be a great idea to play the bagpipes there,” he told BBC Radio from the bottom of the world.
“My gloves were unable to cover the holes properly unfortunately, but I loved it. Once I got going, I wanted to play for longer but the valve had frozen over completely. I brought the noise rather than the silence.Playing the bagpipes really kept spirits up within the group.”
Bagpiper Gilbert Kerr was famously photographed playing to a solitary penguin on the edge of the Antarctic continent in 1904 but there is no record of him actually playing at the pole.
It took Jak seven days to complete the 70 miles hauling his 50-kilo sled laden with equipment to his prized destination.
“It was very interesting conditions and we encountered some serious cold temperatures. You have to really respect the continent in terms of the weather,” he explained.
Scientists based at the nearby research station provided Jak with an audience for his record-setting performance, althopugh he did not think it was one of his best.
“I think I did OK, I think I passed, but I wouldn’t put it as my finest performance but definitely the toughest,” he added.