the Journey

  • Distance to go: 0 Mi

    Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.

    Distances here are shown in statute miles.

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The Scott Expedition in Context

An overview of some notable Antarctic expeditions, both contemporary and historical:

1 1910–1912: Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, Roald Amundsen

Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen was the first man to successfully lead an expedition to the South Pole.  He set out at a similar time but on a different route to a British team led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, and famously arrived at the South Pole first, just five weeks ahead of Scott and his men on 14 December 1911.

Route: A return journey to the South Pole starting and ending at the Bay of Wales
Distance: 1677 miles (2700km)
Time taken: 79 days (54 / 25)
Support: Dogs

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2 1910–1913: The Terra Nova Expedition, Captain Robert Falcon Scott

The Terra Nova expedition, led by British explorer, Captain Robert Falcon Scott is one of the most poignant journeys of the golden age of Edwardian exploration.

Famously, Scott and his five-man team set out from Scott’s Hut on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to become the first to reach the South Pole. After 77 days travelling they successfully arrived on 17 January 1912…. to find the Norwegian team, led by Amundsen had beaten them by just 33 days.

Tragically the whole team perished on their return, just 11 miles short of their next supply depot and 97 miles short of Scott’s Hut, their final destination.

Route: Return journey to the South Pole starting at Scott’s Hut on the Ross Ice Shelf. The team perished 97 miles short of their final destination on the return.
Distance: 1600 miles
Time taken: 122
Support: Dogs, ponies and mechanical tractors

Captain Scott remains a national hero and iconic figure in both British and polar history. He is also well known for the scientific and exploratory work undertaken on his expeditions.

Captain Scott and The Terra Nova expedition is the inspiration for the Scott Expedition.

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3 1984–1987: In the Footsteps of Scott, Robert Swan

In 1985, Robert Swan led a three-man team 900 miles across Antarctica from the Cape Evans to the South Pole, ‘following in the footsteps of Scott’. The team skied unsupported for 69 days without radio communications to arrive at the South Pole on 11 January 1986.

Route: Cape Evans to the South Pole (one-way journey)
Distance: 900 miles (1405 km)
Time taken: 69 days
Support: unsupported – no radio communications

Robert Swan is the first to walk to both the North and South Poles, founder of 2041 and a patron of the Scott Expedition.

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4 1992–1993: Fiennes & Stroud

In 1992 Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud set off from Berkner Island to make the first unsupported coast-to-coast crossing on foot of Antarctica.

Route: Berkner Island to Ross Ice Shelf (base of Beardmore Glacier)
Distance: 1350 miles (2170km)
Time taken: 94 days
Support: unsupported

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5 2009: Ben Fogle and James Cracknell

In January 2009, Ben Fogle, James Cracknell and Ed Coats competed in the inaugural South Pole Race as Team QinetiQ. The team covered 480 miles in 18 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes to claim second place overall, 20 hours behind the winning Norwegian team.

Route: From the edge of the Antarctic plateau to the South Pole
Distance: 480 miles (770km)
Time taken: 18 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes
Support: Support team and film crew with vehicles

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6 2011: Cas & Jonesy / Aleksander Gamme

From October – December 2011 Australians James Castrisson (Cas) and Justin Jones (Jonesy) completed an unsupported return journey from Hercules Inlet on the edge of the Antarctic landmass to the South Pole. They set off within days of Norwegian Aleksander Gamme, who made the same journey, but alone. Famously, Gamme waited at the finish line for Cass & Jonesy so all three crossed their chosen finish line together, an extraordinary example of cooperation and sportsmanship.

Route: A return journey from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole
Distance: 1400 miles (2260km)
Time taken: 89 days
Support: unsupported

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7 2013: South Pole Allied Challenge, Walking with the Wounded

In 2013, three teams of wounded servicemen and women are embarking upon a race across 3 degrees to the South Pole. Wounded from the UK, the US and the Commonwealth (Australia and Canada) will embark on this gruelling challenge to show the world the extraordinary courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded while serving our countries.

Route: 3 degrees to the South Pole
Distance:  210 miles (335km)
Expected time: 16 days
Support: Support team with vehicles

The teams are aiming to reach the South Pole around 17 December 2013.

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S 2013: The Scott Expedition, Ben Saunders

Ben Saunders and his teammate Tarka L’Herpiniere are setting out to honour Scott’s legacy by becoming the first to retrace and complete Scott’s original, perilous Terra Nova expedition.

The Scott Expedition is a 1,800-mile (2,900km), four-month return journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back on foot following Scott’s exact route. Equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons, the team will face temperatures as low as -50 °C and will haul sled loads of up to 200kg each.

Follow their journey live

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