Captain Scott

Miles Advanced: 50.6                                                                                                                                            Weather: 14 Degrees, Overcast                                                                                                                      Elevation: 216 ft.

We are doing well with heavy loads this early in the trip. We got to waypoint ‘Kelly’ and to our surprise we found the trail had moved a half-mile east since last year. That means this area of the Ice Shelf is moving approximately 7 feet a day! That’s mindboggling! In every direction there is nothing but flat white, but far in the distance, beyond the horizon, the gigantic Byrd Glacier plummets off the Polar Plateau and thrusts itself into the Ice Shelf creating a faster moving area of ice known as an ‘Ice Stream’. With all this movement you would expect to find a few crevasses but thankfully there are none in the vicinity of the trail.

We passed the area where Captain Scott and his companions had met their end. They died during the return journey from the Pole in 1912, just 11 miles from One Ton Depot- the resupply cache that may have saved them. In his book ‘Worst Journey in the World’ Cherry Garrard (a would-be rescuer) describes the grizzly scene as he found it.

“Scott had thrown back the flaps of his bag at the end. His left hand was stretched over Wilson , his lifelong friend… near Scott was a lamp formed from a tin and some lamp wick. It had been used to burn the little methylated spirit which remained. I think that Scott had used it to help him to write up to the end. I feel sure that he had died last – and once I had thought that he would not go so far as some of the others. We never realized how strong that man was, mentally and physically, until now.”

Scott’s last words, written in his journal, were: “For God’s sake take care of our people.”

Above: Captain Scott and his men at the South Pole. They all died on the return journey. Scott is in the center of the photograph, his face blackened by frostbite.

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