It was one of the strangest of job alerts: a call to run the world’s most remote, coldest post office – on an island with no permanent residents – and count penguins in almost continuous daylight. But bizarre or not, it struck a chord: 6,000 people applied for the four jobs on Goudier Island in Port Lockroy, and now the winners have been announced: a newlywed, who will leave her husband behind for what she is calling a “solo honeymoon” and three other British women, who are equally thrilled by the adventure ahead. Mairi Hilton, Lucy Bruzzone, Clare Ballantyne and Natalie Corbett, have been picked by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust charity to exchange their home comforts for five months spent in subzero temperatures, with no electricity or flushing toilet, sleeping in bunk beds – and they could not be more excited. Penguins in Goudier There are about 1,500 penguins on the island. Photograph: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust/PA Hilton, 30, from Scotland, who has spent four years completing a PhD in conservation biology in Australia, will be in charge of monitoring the island’s colony of 1,500 gentoo penguins. “This will be my first time in Antarctica and I’m very excited to set eyes on the white continent,” said Hilton, a conservation biologist. “I have no idea what to expect when we get there: how cold it will be, will we have to dig our way through the snow to the post office?” Bruzzone, 40, from London, previously spent three months in Svalbard as chief scientist on an Arctic expedition. She will be the base’s leader and described her new job as a “lifelong dream”. Ballantyne, 23, from Lincolnshire, has just completed a master’s in earth science at Oxford University. She will deal by hand with approximately 80,000 cards, which are mailed each year from the site to more than 100 countries. House on Goudier Island The site has not had any visitors for more than two years because of Covid. Photograph: UK Antarctic Heritage Trust/PA “I’m most looking forward to stepping on to Goudier Island and taking in the cacophony and pungent smell of the penguins, the backdrop of the glaciers and Fief mountains, and being able to call it home for the next few months,” she said. Corbett, the 31-year-old newlywed, is from Hampshire, where she runs a pet accessories business. She will be in charge of running the gift shop in the oldest permanent British base on the Antarctic peninsula. The site has not had visitors for more than two years because of Covid but usually welcomes about 18,000 people a year, between November and March, the Antarctic summer. Vicky Inglis, 42, from Aberdeenshire, who has previously stayed on the island, will join for 10 weeks as a general assistant. … we have a small favour to ask. Millions are turning to the Guardian for open, independent, quality news every day, and readers in 180 countries around the world now support us financially. We believe everyone deserves access to information that’s grounded in science and truth, and analysis rooted in authority and integrity. That’s why we made a different choice: to keep our reporting open for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This means more people can be better informed, united, and inspired to take meaningful action. In these perilous times, a truth-seeking global news organisation like the Guardian is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaire owner, meaning our journalism is free from commercial and political influence – this makes us different. When it’s never been more important, our independence allows us to fearlessly investigate, challenge and expose those in power. Support the Guardian from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.