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.

Breezy (Day 20)

Day 20: S79° 23' 57.24", E168° 30' 52.14"

Duration: 6 Hr

Daily distance: 8.1 Mi

Distance to go: 1661 Mi

Temperature: -14 °C

Wind chill: -28 °C

Altitude: 243 Ft

I don't think either of us slept particularly well last night. I certainly didn't, as it got so windy during the middle of the night that it sounded like a helicopter was trying to land on top of us, and we woke up to a gale that was doing its best to take our tent down and blow it out to sea. Tarka rolled over to face me and rolled his eyes from under the hood of his sleeping bag, and I shook my head in response. It didn't sound like we were going to be able to move, so we stayed in bed for another hour to see if it would clear. 

The wind was still going bananas when we got up, but we couldn't face a lost day waiting in the tent and decided to do battle with the weather for half a day on half rations. When you have breakfast and dinner tomorrow, be thankful that you're not sharing your bowl or plate with a hungry teammate, counting spoonfuls and eyeing each other's spoonfuls with a blend of suspicion and envy. It's no fun. Our flasks of energy drink during the day tasted watered-down to near-homoeopathic levels. 

Luckily the ambient air temperature was quite high (-14 degrees centigrade) so even with the wind blowing so hard that you could lean against it, like a lamppost or a tree, the windchill hovered just above -30, and we were able to make relatively good progress.

We bashed out six belly-rumbling hours in the end, before wrestling to pitch our madly flapping tent again this evening.

A few questions:

Q) How do you change clothes when you are so cold?

A) Not very often is the answer. Tarka and I have been in the same thermal underwear for 20 days now, though we'll treat ourselves to a new set soon (and we'll do that in the comfort of our sleeping bags). Socks we change every night, rotating and drying them so our feet stay relatively healthy, and we sometimes have to add or remove a layer of insulation during the day, which can be refreshing it it's windy. We also have quilted Primaloft vests or gilets (Mountain Equipment Compressor vests) that we wear over our windproof outer jackets and they're proving really handy when it comes to regulating our temperature.

Q) Why has Scott's journey not been done before? A) Crikey, I could write pages on this, but in short I suspect because it's a very long, very hard walk in a very cold place where nothing lives, which is also logistically rather complex to organise (Antarctica is the same size as China and India put together).


# Joe, November 14th 2013

Hi team - Come on guys - you are in the honeymoon period ! !!Wondered why did you go on half rations yesterday - you still did a full day of 6 hours - which seems average ? So why did you only go for half food for the day? At least that would stop the suspicion! The reason for my comment is that we still haven’t had an update on the depots that have been laid so far - i noticed too, as did fellow followers -  that your sledges look considerably shorter so guessing there has been one or two laid already. On day 9 you mention the sledges were still 190kg - can we have an update on the weight at day 21??  Finally I am a tad confused at why the miles are logged in statue on the blogs - but obviously on the tracker they are in nautical .( as miles are recorded in nautical in Antarctica ) Any reason for the 2 sets of data? However - cant believe how lucky you are being with the weather. Tracking it on storm 247 - and it is really warm on the Ross ice shelf at the moment! That must be a big plus.Happy trekking! Look forward to your reply.

# Martin Hartley, November 15th 2013

Not a clue why Joe ( Nov 14 )  has anything to be “suspicious ” and I don’t imagine for a second during the average ‘Honeymoon period’ that blokes drag their 190kilo partners behind them , until they become a more socially acceptable weight…Statute versus Nautical,( there’s only about 235 miles difference over the whole expedition - who gives AF ??!  ) Give the guys a break its an expedition not a spreadsheet.

# George Chapman, November 14th 2013

Glad to see your still being able to keep moving even with bad weather. Every day will be a new adventure for you and I’m sure there is a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day. I notice you say your eating half rations. Are you running low on rations or some other reason. Take care of yourself and just remember you have a lot of folks here with you.

Following you on FB and Google Earth from sunny Central Florida U.S.A. Todays temperature 53ºF at 4:13 AM EST.

# Luke Hull, November 14th 2013

As the hunger starts to build, what would be on the menu in your tent tonight if you could have anything you wanted   cooked by a top chef?

# Scott Expedition Team, November 20th 2013

Ribeye steak has been mentioned!

# CaninesCashews, November 14th 2013

Hi guys,
“watered-down to near-homoeopathic levels” - I love that - will definately use that one.
Keep knocking down those miles and stay strong.
On a side note there seems to be quite a few repeat technical/logistics questions on the blog. I’m sure they will be answered as soon as Andy (Expedition Manager) gets back to the UK. He has only just got back to Punta from Union Glacier where he has been waiting for a weather window for the last three weeks.
Until then I think continued patience is needed, and then I’m sure all those questions will be answered :-)

# Joe, November 14th 2013

In reply to Gav (caninesCashews) - I don’t think my questions have been particularly technical or even really very logistic detailed - just would like to know about the depots , which have clearly been made - and the sledge weights etc - and a couple of other on the ground information- as apparently do many of the exped followers.? After all - this is billed as a ‘live’ expedition - which I though meant 2 way comms from the team on the ice with a degree of immediacy- not the back up team . My understanding was that Ben and Tarka were supposed to be seeing the questions and answering as they did early on in the trip.  Most of the questions they seem to be answering aren’t necessarily ones I have read on the blog….Incidentally -  aren’t there are massive communication links in Union Glacier - ??  I look forward to replies from the Ice team.

# CaninesCashews, November 14th 2013

Hi Joe,
My comments were not a ‘dig’ at you or anyone else requesting expedition info first hand. Sorry if you took it that way.
They are merely an observation that there might need to be a little management of expectations, until everyone is where they should be in order for the relay of information to be accurate and timely.
After all, hopefully this will be a long expedition and the guys are only a couple of weeks in, there are bound to be teething problems.

# Scott Expedition Team, November 14th 2013

Joe, thanks for your patience. As you’ve seen we’ve had a number of questions, and answers are coming through from the ice. Keep an eye on the blog and the info will come.

# Kevin Wilson, November 14th 2013

They seem to be having a rough time at the moment and I wish them well.
I noticed yesterday that the rear ends of both sledges have been detached, now other followers are noticing it as well.Ben said in one of his videos that they would be used for depots at the bottom of the Beardmore glacier and be picked up on the return journey, so why have they both been dropped approximately 290 miles earlier that planned. (the distance to the Beardmore glacier)

Now my question is if the team started out with 110 days of food and fuel and you have confirmed that the expedition is 110 days long, then why did they march on half rations yesterday?

One more question which will be easy, as it’s a yes or a no answer, followers are leaving comments and messages of support, can Ben and Tarka read the messages “live” or do they have to be sent to the team on the ice?

# Tom, November 14th 2013

Re Q2, probably because the intention was to only walk for half a day per Ben’s comment in this very post:

“...decided to do battle with the weather for half a day on half rations…”

I guess the weather was tolerable enough to allow them to carry on for 6 hours, and after a tent day a couple of days ago, presumably thought they may as well take advantage.

I guess it’s probably easier logistically to limit themselves to either full or half rations exactly, so they can easily work out exactly what is left / how much to leave in depots etc?

# Jen, November 14th 2013

I’m as always in awe of your adventure. I read your blog entries like a story to my 21 month old son. Wishing you well. Every step forward is another closer to your goal. Take care.

# Falcon Scott, November 14th 2013

Ben and Tarka, Greetings from Ushuaia, Argentina. Heading for the ice tomorrow via Falklands and South Georgia. Great respect for what you are doing, and your progress . Best of luck. Falcon (Scott’s Grandson).

# Kevin Wright, November 14th 2013

Hi Falcon
It’s an honour to reply o your email! Thanks for giving our your support to Ben and Tarka. It’s really tuff out there at the moment and these guys need our support instead of some of the stuff I’m reading! I know in my heart that they will complete the journey in honour your grandfather.  Keep going guys as there’s a lot of us praying and supporting your every step.
Gods speed

# Nansen, November 14th 2013

I agree that some better technical details on the blog would be useful. I think the support team should be writing more. It would be very hard for the guys to write up the blog at the end of each day. All you feel like doing at that part of the day is eating and sleeping. But they can relay info by sat phone so there is no excuse for the lack of detail.

# Alison P, November 14th 2013

Please please please folks, be gentle with these dear boys.  I am so in awe at what they are doing, and so appreciative that after hours and hours of trudging through storms dragging with them weights that weigh multiple times my body weight, that they take the time to respond to questions.  What I wish for them is that we all cheer them on, give them encouragement, and let them know that they are in our thoughts and prayers.  It is great when they can address questions, but please be aware of the extremely difficult conditions they are in, and try to pose your questions with care and support.

# CaninesCashews, November 14th 2013

Eloquently put :-)

# Kristoffer, November 14th 2013

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.”
George S. Patton, Jr.

The sweat in this case being releasing of full logistics and schedule details through the Internet before the trip was launched in order to inform the public, and the blood in this case being the slowly growing disquiet in the comments.  I’m certain you get my point.

# Tom, November 14th 2013

There isn’t a growing disquiet - it’s just the same few geeks with nothing better to do!  The vast majority are enjoying the story developing as it happens with daily updates direct from the ice.  Dumping full logistical details of a complex expedition on a website probably isn’t the best way to engage the majority of the interested followers of the blog.

# Kevin Wilson, November 14th 2013

Alison P….. Ben and Tarka are hardened adventurers in the most hostile place on earth and I’m sure that they can handle a couple of questions.

Tom, I’m not a geek. I used to make a living as I have said before through supplying expeditions such as this. I have exceptional friends and contacts within the polar community, anyone of whom would gladly and openly share information once the expedition is up and running and on the ice.

But I do think that you have missed the point. The story isn’t just about slapping them on the back saying how great they are doing, it IS (like Captain Scott) about how they do it, the logistics, the depots, how far they march each day, it’s also about how they are going to achieve their goal. We will never learn anything about what’s going on unless we ask questions. That is the greatest shame with Captain Scott’s original expedition, the public couldn’t ask him anything. All he could do was to write about what he thought the public may have wanted to know….even now over 100 years later people are still asking questions.

# Kevin Wright, November 14th 2013

Hi Alison
I couldn’t agree with you more. Come on guys pease give them a break they are going through some real tuff weather at the moment. I’m sure all your technical questions will be answered as and when! For the time being they need our support!
Keep going lads it’s the Beardmore next!
Gods speed

# Joe, November 14th 2013

Alison / Tom and Kevin (Wright) - Please please please !!!! Come on guys - this is a hard nosed full on expedition - not a nursery trip - ! These guys should be expecting some tough questions - However the questions to which you seem to be so upset are NOT tough!! Merely questioning the details they gave out before the trip , and at the beginning of the trip - and which they now seem not keen to answer -?? Laying depts was described in detail by Ben - and all some people are asking is what and where are they - the question is also being posed as an environmental one - as should they not collect these depots who is responsible for them ? Kevin - Tough weather - it is positively balmy down there at the moment - and if you look at the pictures it looks pretty good conditions - the ice looks perfect - no deep snow to have to drag through ? Its a bit windy - but come on - this is the windiest continent on the planet ! In the 21st century with all of the available data and feeds they describe I expected to get real day to day detail - not a weather report - storm 247 gives you that. I wanted to understand the complexities and decision making - they have dropped a depot - why? how , how heavy - how many days food etc ,,,, Why did they go on half day rations when they did a full days walking ( average 6 / 7 hours per day )  - ? These are the real questions - not tough - but inquisitive and interested ,,, Scotts trip has been unlocked in every last detail - but after the event - these guys are on a live project - not sure why you see this as negative . I am following this with an interest and expectation - but they have given us followers an expectation - and I would like it to be met.  I get asked challenging questions in my job every day about decisions I make and I am expected to answer them ! Lets watch a project unfold - but a few challenging questions are merited and should be expected . I am pretty sure they would be embarrassed about people begin for their mercy ! In their world this is what they expect.

# Scott Expedition Team, November 14th 2013

Some guidance regarding questions - a process to answer questions moving forward will be announced next week. In the meantime all questions have been noted and we’re working through answers - they’re appearing regularly on the blog either posted by Ben in his daily summary or via the support team in ‘comments’. For more technical info please also visit - The Scott Expedition YouTube channel. The channel houses a number of videos with further information about both the expedition itself and expedition kit.

# Kevin Wright, November 14th 2013

Thanks Guys. You are doing a great job

# CaninesCashews, November 14th 2013

Thanks Chessie.

# Bård Haug, November 14th 2013

Wondering why you dont use Piteraq Arctic Bedding….. timesaving device?

# Lucas Watkins(aged 9), November 14th 2013

What are you most looking forward to when you get back from your expedition?

# Scott Expedition Team, November 20th 2013

It’s a bit too soon to say.

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