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.

90 Degrees South (Day 63)

Day 63: S89° 52' 1.14", E178° 50' 19.32"

Duration: 18 Hr 00 Min

Daily distance: 35.3 Mi

Distance to go: 890.5 Mi

Temperature: -26 °C

Wind chill: -35 °C

Altitude: 9364 Ft

Yesterday evening at 20.35 GMT Ben and Tarka reached the South Pole and marked the halfway point of the Scott Expedition. They have since turned around and have started their journey skiing back to the coast 900 miles away.

Ben sends his apologies for not writing an update himself but after skiing 35.31 miles (56.83km) yesterday and almost 19 hours on thier feet he understandbly couldnt quite muster the energy to put pen to paper and express the emotions of this landmark day. Ben will be sending a full update in the next 24 hours once they have completed another days skiing. Ben and Tarka thank you all for your unwavering support that helped them reach the pole.

I am immensely proud of Ben and Tarka's achievement reaching the South Pole and in particular for having the strength to turn around and start the return journey back to the coast.

Today's photo was taken just before Ben and Tarka flew from Union Glacier to McMurdo at the start of thier expedition two months ago


# Uncle Pete, December 27th 2013


# Abhishek Kulkarni, December 27th 2013

Very happy to hear. Wishing a successful return journey .

# Q, December 27th 2013

Noble effort lads, what an epic achievement!

# Allison, December 27th 2013

Absolutely brilliant. Well done.

# Richard Pierce, December 27th 2013

Very well done, Ben and Tarka.

Now the real fight begins, against the Antarctic, against monotony, against weariness. But there is no disappoinment, as Scott had, after having found that he had been beaten to the Pole, no expectations of priority, no feeling of having been second in a race, for a race it was over a hundred years ago. And in less than 800 miles time, you will no longer be treading in other men’s footsteps but will be creating a history of your own, making your own unique footprints in the history of the Ice.

God Speed.


# Andrea, December 27th 2013

Wow I was thinking, why the guys are so pale? And did they have a shave at the Pole??? Then I figured the picture is two months old…

# dj, December 27th 2013

The blog post placemark is in the wrong place again. It seems to happen frequently enough that perhaps there is a system issue.  “Proofreading” the file before putting it live may help.

I really can’t wait for Ben’s “official” explanation of what happened on Boxing day.  Their track “pings” only happening every 60 minutes really leaves a lot out of the documentation.  It appears they stopped for awhile just outside of the station area, then proceeded around the elevated station building directly to the pole. Afterwards they headed further on in the direction of the “visitor’s center” and remained for quite awhile according to the number of pings (I thought they had camped). However, the coordinate jumped clear back to outside the camp, where they had stopped before, all in one jump (almost like they had caught a ride on a snow-cat).

They stayed there for only a few hours and were back moving again with a post by 2am (mst) [7am GMT). The explanation (if he goes into detail) has got to be fascinating.

# Andy Ward, December 27th 2013

Please excuse Ben if after an 18 hour day skiing he may have got one digit wrong on his position update. I would call that only human. Maybe you could wait to hear from Ben in his next blog post before you start passing wild and ridiculous statements about lifts on snow-cats (which I can assure would never and did not happen).

Thank you to everyone else for your support. It means a huge amount to Ben and Tarka. I know they are keen to blog as soon as they have finished todays skiing session.


# Kevin Shannon, December 27th 2013

After years of planning, determination and hard work i’m almost certain that Ben and Tarka wouldn’t have ‘skipped a section on a snow-cat’ for a few kilometres as your insinuating. I do not know Ben or Tarka (or any of the team for the matter) personally, but i have followed closely for 4-5 years now and i can say with almost certainty that short cuts aren’t his thing.

Well done to Ben and Tarka for reaching the half point! Looking forward to following the journey back!

# Kristoffer, December 27th 2013

You are not the only one to notice that they did not got straight to the Pole and immediately back like the last blog post insinuated.  I did too.  My own observations of the webcam at Amundsen-Scott station seems to indicate that Ben and Tarka were at the Pole as late as 0230 GMT 27 Dec.

# dj, December 27th 2013

Andy… What on earth precipitated that attack?  If you’ll read my post again, it was only positive and absolutely didn’t deserve the angry response you gave it.  I’ve been nothing but supportive through the whole endeavor, and have intentionally kept out of several of the fracases about the transparentness of postings. You know that I’ve personally emailed you with issues rather than post them publicly but this needs a response.

If we still don’t fully understand the mechanics of how blogs are posted it’s not because we haven’t asked. Ben’s prior post describing “it’s then an easy matter to post them,“did not claim that he did it personally; and because it’s apparent that he writes the post before going to bed and yet they aren’t posted until the next work day (in England), who of us wouldn’t assume that he transmits them for spell checking and posting by his team the next morning?  [I would] Perfectly acceptable.  It’s not until this comment by you that we’ve had any indication at all that “his team” wasn’t in the loop. Certainly, the several other times people (including me) have notified you about mis-locations of posts, you’ve been the one to fix them. And, the fact that it keeps recurring tells me it isn’t automated, could be a system issue and probably could be prevented by a system “tweak.”  That’s what most companies do when they become aware of a problem.

As far as references to “snow cats,” read what I posted will you!  It was a metaphor, hence the words “almost like” - and it definitely was: “almost like they’d used a snow cat.”  Throughout the whole trip, the closest thing I can make out is that your track “pings” from Ben come about once an hour. You’ve stated the fact that your map refreshes occur “once an hour” and they have averaged UNDER 2.5 miles per “ping” the whole trip.  Yesterday they went 10 miles from the pole back to their previous stopping place in one “ping!”  I would think someone’s walking ability being compared to that of a machine would be a compliment.  Is that some British politically incorrectness that I’m not aware about?

The only other time they did a distance like that between “pings” was back at the very first one from the hut to the point. Ben much later alluded to it being because they walked faster without the sledges; but, it was 13 miles in an (hour?)! There are several perfectly acceptable rationale for the track points being that far apart which I can think of, until you choose to explain it. But, really, I have no reason to believe or even insinuate some kind of subterfuge. The other commenters here wouldn’t let me, even if I wanted to - which I don’t. Who was it that said: “me thinks thou dost protest too much?” Some British guy I think.

I don’t think Ben should be the only one allowed to use metaphors here.  I’m going to chalk your anger up to stress and fatigue (and perhaps age?); but, really, I’m not sure what all the tension seems to be. No one here expects you to be anything more than human. Trying to appear so is what raises concerns.

Here’s hoping for a safe and speedy return, and your feeling pleased about your accomplishment and how you’ve done it.

# David, December 27th 2013

Congratulations on your epic journey - take great care on your return journey. Stay safe
God speed

# Mal Owen, December 27th 2013

Travel well contented today ... Aim for the tea and coffee at the end of your journey! Looking forward to tomorrow’s update…I’m not surprised you were too tired Ben to write yesterday after both the physical and mental achievement ! Keep safe and keep the beards !

# Yvonne Misevic, December 27th 2013

Well done lads!

# Rosie Vidovix Unsworth, December 27th 2013

Well done Ben and Tarka! Well done.
Now, let’s get back home for that massive party that is waiting for you!

# Damian Harris, December 27th 2013

35 miles is nothing short of a superhuman effort.
A tremendous achievement guys and well done on reaching the pole.
Cant wait to hear your account of it.

# Deacon Patrick, December 27th 2013

Congratulations Ben and Tarka! Brilliant! I pray the bombardment of civilization at the pole didn’t pop the gift of solitude’s bubble you’ve been traveling in. That is sacred and precious space! May the second half of your journey be as blessed and more as the first. A very merry Christmastide to you both!

With abandon,

# Andrea, December 27th 2013

Maybe, even the “solitude’s bubble you’ve been traveling in. That is sacred and precious space!” indeed, for what it is containing, but not in absolute. The civilisation can not move directly in the nature some of the things she contains, because the things would not exist there as they can be get nearly us only encapsulated in artifacts. As like, if the needed equipment could have been produced directly in the nature, this expedition would have been done long ago by the primitive human beings.

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