Distance to go:
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.
A Mixed Bag (Day 29)
Day 29: S81° 05' 11.22", E168° 50' 29.34"
Duration: 8 Hr
Daily distance: 14.7 Mi
Distance to go: 1544.2 Mi
Temperature: -12 °C
Wind chill: -24 °C
Altitude: 115 Ft
Some high points and some low points today. I slept fitfully and woke at 3am to the unmistakable warning grumbles of some rather urgent gastrointestinal distress. A full-on storm was raging outside, I was stripped to my thermal underwear in my sleeping bag (it takes about five minutes to get fully dressed including boots) and Tarka was fast asleep, so I rammed two plastic bags onto my sock-clad feet, clambered into the porch of the tent, zipped myself in, and did what I had to do. Despite burying the fast-freezing evidence, Tarka wasn't exactly over the moon to discover my emergency evacuation when we woke four hours later, and I was the first to admit it hadn't really improved the ambience of our little home.
Then our stove decided to play up. It spluttered sootily through the breakfast snow-melting session but took so long that we were delayed an hour by the time we escaped the tent. And when we did climb out of the door, it was a complete whiteout with a strong headwind. Morale was not at its highest.
Thankfully almost everything improved throughout the day (though I still had to answer the call of nature again before we finished) and we had some really good sections of surface this afternoon. The wind stayed, so we spent all day in goggles and masks, but the sun came out through the clouds and the contrast was good enough to navigate easily all afternoon. We're also inside 81 degrees now, so we're inching closer to the Pole.
We've just swapped the stove for our spare, which is roaring away like a rocket about to take off, and Tarka's servicing the other one while I make dinner (they need a thorough clean every fortnight out here). Dinner, incidentally, is Chicken Jalfrezi, our hottest curry by quite some margin. Kill or cure, I reckon..
Last up, a very happy birthday to Steve Jones, who has worked extraordinarily hard for us over the years to organise the logistics for this expedition. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who is sending us messages of support, either as comments on the site, via email, or to the few that are sending us text messages on the satphone. I'm sorry we can't reply to everyone, but we're more grateful than I know how to say, and please keep them coming.