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.

Back in the Game (Day 19)

Day 19: S79° 16' 59.4", E168° 28' 21.06"

Duration: 7 Hr

Daily distance: 9.5 Mi

Distance to go: 1669 Mi

Temperature: -18 °C

Wind chill: -21 °C

Altitude: 184 Ft

We only covered a few hundred metres more today than we did yesterday, and the surface is still very poor, but we had a bit of sunshine today and for some reason both my spirit and my stamina seemed a great deal higher than they did 24 hours ago. In fact I'd go as far as saying I actually enjoyed at least part of today, and I'm feeling upbeat about the coming weeks.

I'll keep it short now as I'm a) exhausted and b) on cooking duty but here are answers to a couple more questions:

Q) What have you enjoyed most so far?

A) Seeing Scott's Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans was an incredible experience. Other than that, a hot meal and climbing in my sleeping bag each evening are daily highlights! 

Q) Do you build a wall around the tent to protect it from the wind?

A) We've done this once so far, but generally our Hilleberg Keron is pretty good in the wind, as long as it's pitched facing into it. 

Q) How do you prevent frostbite?

A) Mostly through having good clothing and equipment (thanks Mountain Equipment!) and by being diligent. I avoid having bare hands when I'm outside and use thin fleece gloves for fiddly tasks (tying a knot or using a Leatherman to tighten a screw, for example) and big mittens over the top when we're skiing. I keep my face covered a lot of the time as well, with a mask called a Gorilla. We have big polar boots (Alfa North Pole Extreme Gtx) with Intuition liners and so far they seem great.

Also, a belated thank you to everyone that answered ours about runny noses, and a quick hello to my brother Steven, to Cat, Lottie and Eva, and to his pupils (and indeed all the pupils!) at Aiglon College.


# CaninesCashews, November 13th 2013

Hi guys,
All sounds a bit more upbeat, amazing what a bit of sunshine can do.
Glad you’re on the ‘up.
Which means its tome for another quote from me, from one of my favourite authors, Herman Melville in Moby Dick,“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
I hope you have time or occasion for a laugh or even just a giggle in the next few days - the power of a smile is amazing (and obviously uses less muscles and energy than a frown!)
Stay safe,

# Andy Lawrence, November 13th 2013

Hi guys, I’m awestruck by what you’re doing and really look forward to these daily updates. Can I ask a question about food, I know what brands you’re using, your meal pattern and your broad nutritional targets, can you say something about what’s going down best? It’s always handy to have that sort of info tucked away for future reference.

# pfong, November 13th 2013

Glad to hear the good weather is cheering you up. Here’s to more good weather to come.

# George Chapman, November 13th 2013

Glad to see things are going well for you. I really like all your post and photos. Keep you chin up and your eye on the ball. Can we see a photo of your sled with the solar panels out?
Following you on FB and Google Earth from sunny Central Florida U.S.A. Todays temperature 64ºF at 4:17AM

# Kevin Wright, November 13th 2013

Hi Guys. Great news for today then! Looks lie our prayers are being answered! I’ll continue to pray that you start to get a better deal For the remainder of your walk.
Take care

# Mal Owen, November 13th 2013

Well pleased to hear the spirits are up. It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do…was my encouragement to get up and out for a 40 length swim on this frosty, car-scraping morning here in the UK.
What’s that black object behind the sledge ?  Are both sledges carrying the same weight ?
:) ‘A smile is a powerful weapon, you can even break ice with it’ anon.  :)

# torsten richter, November 13th 2013

Hi guys!

Exactly the same trip I’m planning for 2 years but so far I have not found a good supplier or sponsor. In the past, I met the grandson Scott, know the bulk of Wilson’s nephew and niece of Amundsen. That was on 29/03/2012 in London, at the central celebration of the Terra Nova expedition. I have been following your expedition with great interest. And I would very much have liked to be there and maybe it will work out times. I’m also great endurance athlete who makes 11 marathons a year and I also run up to 100km per piece and make serious runs in the Alps, such as the ultra-marathon or the Zermatt Swiss Alpine Marathon. If they can not do what I do not hope for it, then they could count on me! For I also would like to want to run out of respect for the work Scott and his men this route. For me it was the greatest achievement of man since the dawn of time.
Regards Torsten

# Clive Whipps, November 13th 2013

Hi Tarka,
Your Sister Chiara worked with me in Lichfield and told us of your expedition.
Why is there no news coverage in GB?  This is a huge undertaking.
Also, are your emotions hightened in such a barren place?
Does music sound better?  Do you love and long to see your family more?
I don’t supose you miss urbanisation but maybe the more artistic human qualities and achievements.
I come from Birmingham whose motto is ‘Forward’. Quite apt in your case I think.
Good luck to you all, I will be following your progress.

# Ed Coats, November 13th 2013

Tarka & Ben! Cracking stuff. Hope the runny noses are settling. Looks hard work.

We haven’t had any snow back here in the UK yet (though here’s hoping!) so it is hard to really appreciate what you are going through. On a separate note the John Lewis advert in on the TV now so the spirit of Christmas is looming. I wonder how Scott and his men felt about that. What have you bought each other for Xmas day?!

Your distances seem to be increasing since the weight of the seldges has dropped. I couldn’t help but noticed the sledges are shorter and missing the rear section in your photographs. ...So the first depot has been laid. What have you called it? I know Scott named his depots.

Any thoughts yet on how youre time, distance, speed calculations are looking for your projected progress to get to the pole and back in the time you have got!? I thought you possibly would have done a little more by now but heavy sledges so perhaps this is all part of your strategy.

Hope you get some good ice soon.

# Claudia Tynes, November 13th 2013

Aw…love seeing the tent set up and your sleds. Look at all that sunshine!

# Simone Deyzel, November 13th 2013

Prince Harry to take part in the Walking with the Wounded expedition to the South Pole
This Sunday, Prince Harry will join one of three teams of wounded servicemen and women to trek to the geographic South Pole for the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge (17th November – mid December 2013). 

The three seven-man teams from the UK, Commonwealth and USA – each with four wounded team members - will depart London for Cape Town on Sunday 17th November.

They will then fly from Cape Town to Novolazarevskaya Station, Antarctica on 19th November where they will spend a few days acclimatising to the Antarctic temperature. Once acclimatised, the teams will fly to 87° south, where they will spend further time acclimatising to the altitude.

The expedition to the South Pole will begin from 87° south on 30th November, with the teams hoping to reach the geographic South Pole by 16th December.

The teams of service personnel, all of whom have physical or cognitive injuries, will race 335km across the Antarctic Plateau. The distance will be divided into managed stages and checkpoints and each team will have an experienced polar guide and nominated mentor. Due to the hostile conditions and the nature of the injuries involved, the expedition teams will be followed by a support team, who will be on hand in case of emergencies.

The teams will represent and raise funds for military charities from the constituent nations: Soldier On (Canada); Solder On (Australia); Soldiers to Summits (United States); and Walking With The Wounded (United Kingdom).

Trekking around 15km to 20km per day, the teams will endure temperatures as low as -45°C and 50mph winds as they pull their pulks (custom built arctic sledges), each weighing in excess of 70kg, towards the southernmost point on the globe.

As with previous Walking With The Wounded expeditions, the South Pole Allied Challenge aims to highlight the extraordinary courage and determination of the men and women who have been wounded while serving their countries and to draw attention to the need to help in their career transition.

Team UK (Team Glenfiddich)

1.    Captain Guy Disney (Light Dragoons): Right leg amputee below the knee

2.    Major Kate Philp (Royal Artillery): Left leg amputee below the knee

3.    Captain Ibrar Ali (Yorkshire Regiment): Right arm amputee below the elbow

4.    Sergeant Duncan Slater (RAF Regiment): Double leg amputee below the knee

5.    Conrad Dickinson (Team Guide)

6.    Richard Eyre (Team Mentor)

7.    Prince Harry (Patron, Walking With The Wounded)

Team Commonwealth (Team Soldier On)

1.    MCpl Chris Downey (Canadian Army): Burns, loss of right eye and internal injuries

2.    LCpl Alexandre Beaudin d’Anjou (Canadian Army): Paraesthesia, chronic back pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

3.    Cpl Heath Jamieson (Australian Army): Gunshot wound through the neck

4.    Sgt Seamus Donaghue (Australian Army): Gunshot wound through his thigh

5.    Eric Philips (Team Guide)

6.    Simon Dalglish (Team Mentor and Co-Founder of Walking With The Wounded)

7.    Dominic West (Team Ambassador)

Team USA (Team Noom Coach)

1.    Captain Ivan Castro (USSOCOM): Blindness

2.    Captain Therese Frentz (USAF): Burns, internal injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

3.    Sgt Margaux Mange (US Army): Bells Palsy, Trigeminal, Occipital Neuralgia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

4.    Captain Mark Wise (US Army): Partial hand/forearm amputation, facial rebuild, burns

5.    Inge Solheim (Team Guide)

6.    Ed Parker (Team Mentor and Co-Founder of Walking With The Wounded)

7.    Alexander Skarsgard (Team Ambassador)

Walking With The Wounded

Walking With The Wounded raises funds to train service personnel who are wounded, injured or sick, assisting them to find a career outside the military. Whether suffering a physical or mental injury and whether a service leaver or veteran, the charity helps provide wounded service personnel with the future they deserve.

Prince Harry was also Patron of the Walking With The Wounded trek to the North Pole in 2011 and the Everest Expedition in 2012.

Further information about the trek will be provided in due course.

# Richard Pierce, November 13th 2013

Glad the sun has lifted your spirits, and glad to hear Cape Evans made such an impression on you. For me, Antarctica is the most wonderful place on earth, and though I don’t envy you your hard work, I do envy you being there. Ever since I camped out there, I pull the duvet over my head at night and imagine I’m back in my tent.

God Speed.


# Austin Duryea, November 13th 2013

Glad the storm is over and y’all are safe. What kind of jackets are y’all using to keep you so warm?

# Bård Haug, November 14th 2013

As far as I can se you dont use Piteraq Arctic Bedding. Any reason for this?

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