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.

Beasts of Burden (Day 2)

Day 2: S77° 51' 56.8794", E167° 06' 38.6388"

Duration: 5 Hr

Daily distance: 7.8 Mi

Distance to go: 1779.3 Mi

Temperature: -16 °C

Wind chill: -25 °C

Wind speed: 11.5 MPH

Altitude: 108 Ft

My mum asked me in a satellite phone message today (we turn the phone on every evening to check for messages, and to call in our position to Andy) if it had sunk in that I was here yet. In many ways it hasn't, and life has certainly taken a turn for the surreal recently. We skied past four seals today, lolling around on the ice, and I can't quite believe that we're trundling past landmarks - Razorback Island, Tent Island, Inaccessible Island, Hut Point, Discovery Hut, White Island - that I've only read about in books. 

But if a reality check were needed, it came when we started making our way from the sea onto the Ross Ice Shelf, with our fully-laden sleds. In the (perhaps slightly optimistic) spreadsheet I've been tweaking for several years now, we're pulling a shade less than 200kg (440lb) each right now, and I wish I had the words to tell you what dragging that much behind you feels like. At one break, Tarka and I wondered if anyone else on the planet was working quite as hard as we were this afternoon.

His technique is to plod, very slowly, without stopping for an hour. Mine is to ski faster, but to stop for a breather every now and again. Thirty paces was about right, and I'm not sure the terms "ski" or "faster" really mean much here. Maxed-out, we can manage about two kilometres per hour with these loads, and it's not much fun.

Apparently someone asked if we had a clever way of detecting salt in snow. The answer is no, we just made a hot drink with some and it was disgusting! Oddly on North Pole expeditions (on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean) the snow is always salt-free and fine to drink, so I was puzzled yesterday.

Oh, and Marjory Foyle, I hope you're reading these updates as your wish was granted yesterday. Sorry it took a few years!


# Janet Stanley, October 27th 2013

Great landmarks! Stay safe :)

# Austin Duryea (Unicorns), October 28th 2013

Y’all are doing incredible. Stay safe and watch out for any dangerous things. Keep up the great work.

# Lucas Watkins (age 9), November 5th 2013

What is your favourite supper that you carry on your sledge?

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 11th 2013

Hi Lucas, just making sure you saw this - - Ben and Tarka are debating whether it’s beef stew, lamb stew or chicken jalfrezi!

# Clau, October 27th 2013

So glad you two are finally on the “road.” I followed you across the North Pole. Looking forward to updates from the South!

# David, October 27th 2013

Remember all the hard work you have done to get to this point . You are already so close to fulfilling your dreams. Best wishes on this incredible journey, David Paabo

# Dr Wayne Hikelgit, October 27th 2013

That’s 2.5 times my weight and I’m 6’2”! Good on you chaps.

# Noelle, October 27th 2013

Man, can’t even imagine pulling all that weight. I can imagine how surreal things must still be, but hopefully you’re settling ino a good routine. Stay safe.

# George Chapman, October 27th 2013

Glad you guys are on the move and doing well. A lot of us are following your every step. Take care of yourself and have fun along the way.

# Shaun Hess, October 27th 2013

I can only imagine the amount of effort required to take the next step, knowing only that the next one is only a second away. While each day brings many new experiences, I hope that each step brings a revived sense of success. You guys are an inspiration to the dream seekers. Enjoy the journey and embrace the experience. Thank you so much for sharing!

# George Chapman, October 27th 2013

I’m following you on Google Earth and FB it’s working really well. Take care guys.

# dj, October 27th 2013

Everything we thought it would be and more - at least for us watching you by satellite.

FYI - the un-official Scott Expedition Google Earth Resource file is being updated right along with the trip. Today we have added landmark labels for all the points of interest Ben mentioned in his post, as well as links to feeds from all the scientific weather stations along the route, names of all the glaciers and mountains, previous tracks for other explorers and current MODIS satellite images.

# Gary Fogel, October 28th 2013

Keep at it guys! Following you daily from San Diego. The load will get lighter soon…

# Mal Owen, October 28th 2013

Can’t imagine pulling 200 bags of sugar anywhere! I am enjoying your journey..updating whilst listening to Storm Jude at 3am in caravan in Cornwall,  UK. Keep safe and warm .

# Andre Els, October 28th 2013

Hey Ben. Been thinking about your expedition.  I simply have no words to describe what you are doing. Simply amazing… Give it horns !

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