Update, The Scott Expedition (circa 2013/2014)

10 Feb

Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere have returned safely to the coast at Scott’s Hut. It is a marvellous achievement. They have trekked 1,795 miles over the awful, inhospitable, frigid Antarctic from coast to Pole to coast; the same distance as Paris to Moscow and the longest man haul in Antarctic history. In achieving this they finished what Scott, Wilson, Bowers, Oates and Edgar Evans aimed to do in 1912.

I am so very glad that, when following the footsteps of the Scott’s final expedition, Ben has made repeated reference to the achievements of those brave men of 100 years ago. That expedition has been traduced by some authors; Huntford in his book ‘Scott and Amundsen’ denigrated Scott. Professor Krzysztof Sienicki and colleagues in their paper “The Weather and its Role in Captain Scott and his companions’ Deaths” (see my blog of May 2013), purport that Scott and Birdie Bowers decided on suicide on their return and so fraudulently doctored their temperature recordings (to suggest that the team experienced unusually cold weather). Kristoffer Nelson-Kilger, who has commented on Ben and Tarka’s blog, is, I understand, a co-researcher with Professor Sienicki.

It is remarkable that Ben and Tarka experienced so many of the problems experienced 100 years ago in spite of their careful planning and backup: hunger, thirst, exhaustion, difficulty in finding the track. Their courage, determination and stoicism shine through. In relation to Scott, if there were mistakes made in spite Scott’s thorough planning, as has been claimed, nothing should detract from the heroism of the five men. Self-control was the benchmark for gentlemanly behaviour and they, including rating Edgar Evans, displayed this to the full. They did not complain of their suffering – Scott said they were unendingly cheerful. Wilson’s last entry reads, “Overcast all forenoon and cleared to splendid clear afternoon. Good march on 12.2 m ski. Some fair breeze. Turned in at minus 37:

Ben and Tarka are modern day heroes and stand tall and I look forward to reading more about their experiences. It is to their credit that they recognise and comment on the shining bravery displayed 100 years ago


Ben Saunders  Tarka L’Herpiniere The Scott Expedition

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