SouthPole-sium v.2

9 May

What a fantastic three days – a meeting of Antarctic enthusiasts in Craobh Haven, Scotland and held in the home of the Laird of Lunga, whose daughter Antonia Lindsay-MacDougal welcomed us as did Falcon Scott, grandson of Robert Falcon Scott.
I had never visited Argyll previously, it is beautiful and impressive, mountains, lochs and on this occasion, sunshine – I can see why the Victorians were so enthusiastic about Scotland.
Rob Stephenson, the coordinator, who runs The Antarctic Circle, arranges an unusual conference in that there are only one or two ‘pre-booked’ talks. For most of the three days any delegate can speak on his/her interest (to a maximum of fifteen minutes) and this makes for a fascinating collection of subjects such as: What the whalers really told Shackleton (Rob Burton); A book launch by David Hirzel on Tom Crean’s ‘Discovery’; Cherry-Garrard and T.E.Lawrence (Alison Jolley); Did smoking kill Scott and Shackleton? (Mick Parker) -in my opinion not at all- Crossing the mountains of South Georgia (Trevor Potts); Comparing the Southern Polar journeys of Shackleton and Scott (Mike Tarver); An update on the Scott Photos (David Wilson) and a review of Scott’s ‘Antarctics’ in the First World War (Ann Strathie) plus many more excellent topics. Bob Headland of the Scott Polar Research Institute gave the set talk on ‘Scotland in the Antarctic’ and Bob Burton gave a fascinating vignette on the ‘Strange and Awful History of Scotland’. There was a quiz, a banquet and of course, a group photo.
There were over sixty delegates from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK and the USA. It is a truly remarkable meeting and I look forward to the third SouthPole-sium

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