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.

Closer to Home, Closer to Home (Day 103)

Day 103: S78° 8' 2.40", E168° 14' 19.32"

Duration: 10 Hr

Daily distance: 24.4 Mi

Distance to go: 39.3 Mi

Temperature: -12 °C

Wind chill: -24 °C

Altitude: 115 Ft

Despite our proximity to the finish line, today was as tough a day as we've ever had out here. The weather was similar to yesterday, though with a cold wind (at our backs, luckily) that stayed until the early evening, when it calmed down and things warmed up a bit. Starting the day was incredibly hard, and I was in equal parts relieved and distressed to hear that Tarka was struggling with the same weary lethargy and flagging mojo that I was.

Objectively, we're both in no doubt that our extreme physical fatigue is dragging our emotional states down, but we've both shared an unusual feeling lately of something approaching disappointment; we'd perhaps hoped Antarctica would hold more moments of beauty and joy, but the reality is that this has been - for the most part - a vast challenge that has taken us to the very outer fringes of our physical and mental endurance. Exploring those seldom-trod human realms has been a fascinating journey, but it's a frustratingly hard story to convey, as no one will ever know what it was truly like for us.

The other side of this frustration, however, is a bond with Tarka that I'll share for life. "Closer to home, closer to home", was a mantra that I started repeating to myself with each stride today, part-way through a 45-minute session that I began to fear I couldn't make it to the end of. We both fell over again on invisible sastrugi in the flat light, and at one point I feared I might have broken a bone in my forearm. These last days are proving as difficult as any that have preceded them. And speaking of last days, we plan to finish our very final one at the shore of Ross Island, by the New Zealand Antarctic station Scott Base.

It seems a logical - and historically relevant - spot to finish as it's the same point Scott would have aimed for (and the one that Shackleton and Wild reached in late February 1909 before being picked up by boat, as Scott would have been). It's impossible for us to walk from here to Scott's Terra Nova hut as we're at the end of the summer and McMurdo Sound is now open water, just as it was a century ago (though there's also an American icebreaker that burns 4,500 gallons of fuel per hour keeping the Sound ice-free these days too).

The aircraft we've chartered to take us back to Chile can't pick us up from here until the 8th, so we've decided to split tomorrow's giant day into two normal days, and we should arrive at Scott Base on the evening (UK time) of Thursday 6th. Keep your eye on the map!


# dj, February 5th 2014

Ahh, great news, a much wiser and more rational schedule - wish I was there to line the runway and watch the finish.

Wonder if it would be possible for you to change the settings a bit on your GPS tracker during the final portion of the trip.  Before there were concerns, I’m sure, about recharging and batteries but now the tail end is something that we all would relish keeping more up-to-date on than once an hour.  Perhaps a ten-minute ping wouldn’t break the energy bank and allow a much better chance for you to capture the actual ribbon crossing from your automatic source. (Wish we’d thought to remind you of it when you were at the pole).

Still never did get to see the snow-angel - just thought it would have made a great slide for when you went to talk to school kids. (It’s not too late)

Be safe.

# Matt Healy, February 5th 2014

You guys are awesome!! Can’t believe you only have two days to go. I’m so glad for you both but will miss following your trip. I have enjoyed reading the daily posts a great deal. Take care. Looking forward to seeing pictures of you at Scott Base.

# Ione & Rich, February 5th 2014

glad to hear you will split the giant day into two ‘normal’ ones! Tarka’s wicked uncles and aunts used to speed their incredibly long journey (almost a mile) down Derrydown Lane using the Mantra ‘Om mani padme hum!’ used by a little Panda in our favourite book ‘In his little white waistcoat in Tibet’ - This not only made us go faster, it also made us warmer and kept ghosts and other terrors at bay (it also stopped us wingeing at our mother ‘wait for me….carry me….’ which is possibly why Tarka’s Granny Dida suggested it!) . Hope it works for you!

# David, February 5th 2014

Every is pleased to hear of your plans to finish your journey. Still take care with each step. All your blogg support would love to be standing on the runway to welcome you.
Stay safe - gods speed

# Theresa, February 5th 2014

Wish we could someway provide you both with, (in this age of amazing technology) a ribbon to walk through and a cheering throng to greet you as you finish.

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

Dear Ben, dear Tarka,

39 miles may not sound much, but it is, and bearing in mind the brutality of the Antarctic, even this close to what some might call civilisation, I am relieved to hear you’ve decided to do two normal days and not one mammoth day. It would be cruel for your journey to falter so close to its goal.

I am glad you have chosen to end your quest at Scott Base. It is entirely appropriate to do so, for all the reasons you mention, as well as because of its name, and, as I have mentioned before, because there is a lamp in the lounge at Scott Base that is always lit to guide the Polar Party home. If you get into the bar at the base, just put some money into the hat/tin that’s always on the bar - drinks are paid for out of that hat, not directly by the drinker. An ice-cold Guinness whilst looking south from where you’ve come would seem a good way to celebrate.

Beware the ice conditions as you get closer. Ice conditions are unusual for this time of year, and I shouldn’t think you’ve taken your swim suits with you.

Re your frustrations - Antarctica does build bonds, whether you’ve been out there with someone for only a week (and not been through hell and high water), or if you’ve been out there for over a quarter of a year fighting for your lives. I hope you both will have many opportunities to spend quiet moments with each other as you grow old disgracefully.

I am crossing my fingers all goes well these last few days. Take care and be careful, and mindful of the Ice’s venom.

God Speed.


# Mal Owen, February 5th 2014

Their last footsteps to be at Scott Base will be the perfect conclusion. Don’t think they’ll have any money for the tin though…would have been extra weight to carry. Every little bit counts and a note weighs about the same as a clothes label !

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

Knowing how hospitable the Kiwis are, I reckon they might just get a drink out of the hat without having to put any money in! R

# CaninesCashews, February 5th 2014

Mal “note weighs abut the same as a clothes label” love that - made me chortle.


# Lauren, February 5th 2014

I’m not sure what a Guinness would do to these two men in their current state! Though wouldn’t being there to welcome them back be something spectacular. Did not someone here invent a drink called the B&T, and what’s in it?  Perhaps I’ll celebrate from home with one of those, in Victoria B.C.; á votre santé! 

Now, to Ben and Tarka, I am so impressed with your tenacity, will and dedication to finish this journey, and I, too, wondered how you would fare psychologically and emotionally (not to mention physically) on these last couple of days.  The enormity of completing such a journey seems to have your readers expressing myriad sentiments, and to imagine what is going through your hearts and minds (and stomachs!) is like trying to imagine a colour never seen by eyes with the regular three types of cone cells.

Following your last days with excitement, and sending you a solid couple of proverbial high fives through the aether!  Be safe, Ben and Tarka, and revel in your new-found brotherhood.


I have enjoyed your blog enormously.  Gratitude, dudes, for sharing.

# dj, February 5th 2014

@lauren… Absolutely correct, alcohol is NOT what either their mind or body need.  I would hope that the first words they speak to a “native” is “where’s the infirmary?”  Especially NOT “where’s the bar?”  (sorry Richard) Even if it is a “hosted” bar.

IF they’re as malnourished and debilitated as about 101 blog posts constantly lead us to believe, they need laboratory work and medical attention - almost even before they eat.  Re-nourishing a mal-nourished and debilitated gut is no piece of cake and can be fraught with side-effects in distant organ systems from even the food and liquids they need. I hope someone thinks to draw some blood work and take some body measurements before they leave the continent.

[After all the chicken they’ve eaten - I’m not sure that their gastric mucosae will even remember what to do with “real” amino acids from “real” meat.]

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

I still reckon the bar would be the best place to start. Guinness is liquid bread. I know where I’d start (and have done, after all sorts of privations). R

# Mal Owen, February 5th 2014

@Lauren.      B & T = Baileys + Ginger Tea + ice and a slice of lime ...I’ve actually tried it and it fits the bill !

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

Good points for testing and awareness about what each body will tolerate, especially a kickback from fermented drinks. I read that freeze dried food actually retains most of the nutrients, although vitamins C and E and folic acid are somewhat depleted through the freeze-drying process.  If it was me, I’d have a hankering for my favorite food, my favorite smells, and dive right in, probably right up till I knew I had to stop. Or maybe I could do the bit by bit thing.  I think the adjustment back into everything is enough to upset any belly, so I’m sure the expedition psychologist has something written already to link us to this potentiality, as well as proper guidance for Ben and Tarka.  And yes… this is all armpit talk… I mean, experienced armchair talk, meant to be a mixture of funny with serious, doting with care, and getting ready to happily congratulate everything, thanking the world that YES!!! mission complete~~~~

# CaninesCashews, February 6th 2014

dj… “Re-nourishing a mal-nourished and debilitated gut is no piece of cake” - intentional or not it made me chortle :-)

# dj, February 6th 2014

@Richard… I knew that you had been on the continent before - did you also spend 104 days ending up as debilitated as they’ve led us to believe they are - if you did, and started out at the bar; then, bud you dodged a big bullet.  [Or, of course, all the blogs we’ve endured right along with them could have been a bit of “literary license.” In which case, perhaps the best thing for them to do would be to go and make themselves unconscious for two days until the plane arrives.]

# Richard Pierce, February 6th 2014

It’s called levity.

And, no, I did not walk for 104 days.



# Štěpán Hnyk, February 5th 2014

Seems like Antarctica is not willing to release the grip till the very end. What a terrible, terrible place… Just to imagine myself actually being there makes me painfully homesick. Your physical and mental endurance is beyond my imagination. Stay safe and warm!

# Jarda, February 5th 2014

Hi Ben and Tarka,
your effort is fantastic and I wish you safe and fast return to MacMurdo (nevermind that you will not reach the Cape Evans: I think the Scott´s team had been expected somewhere in the area of Discovery hut).

I´d like to ask you if you go exactly the same route as Scott had planned - through the former “Corner camp”?

# Liam Wilton, February 5th 2014

To Ben, Tarka and the Scott Expedition team.

Before this expedition is over i would just like to say thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve been following Ben and Tarka’s adventure for quite a few years and have looked forward to each morning reading the updates and progress.

Chapeau to all the team and good luck in the final few days.

Kind regards,

# Janet Stanley, February 5th 2014

Please be careful on the ice, how appropriate to end your journey at Scott Base, a most fitting finish. Stay safe :)

# pfong, February 5th 2014

Reading about your struggles, makes me think that a human powered trip like this in Scott’s time would have been impossible. Amundsen’s strategy to use dogs which he treated as expendable would have been the only way to do this.

Take care and best wishes for the last legs.

# Alison B. Lowndes, February 5th 2014

“struggling with the same weary lethargy and flagging mojo” .. I hear you .. and realise how trivial mine is compared to yours (late to sleep, up early, rubbish weather, not eaten yet) so thank you, again, for the perspective. I realise no one but you and Tarka know of the true heartache and conflict you’ve fought for all this time but in case you’re worried if you managed to convey - or not - the reality of what you’ve done. You have. And continue to. Once again I start my day in awe of what you’ve achieved. PS whyyyyy does an “American icebreaker burn 4,500 gallons of fuel per hour keeping McMurdo Sound ice-free” ?

# Alison B. Lowndes, February 5th 2014

PS don’t underestimate the power of the despair you’ll no doubt feel for the journey coming to an end. Rather like the feelings victims cultivate for their kipnappers!

# Ruth Jewell, February 5th 2014

Someone else knows how it feels to go through what you gave experienced and that us those who tried and failed before. Whilst we will never fully understand what it has been like you have been able to bring alive for us all exactly what Scott and his team experienced. In a world where we are continually told about global warming and changes to our planet it is almost reassuring to know that your trip (despite more knowledge and technology) has given you the same problems to overcome as Scott sadly finally failed to do.
Your daily updates give us far more insight than you can imagine, and early on it was no surprise to me that Scott had to give in so close to the finish.
Keep safe, if it takes three days we don’t care, we all just want you to achieve this amazing journey safely. Huge hugs to you both, and role on wake up time tomorrow when I can check up in you both again. Xxx

# CaninesCashews, February 5th 2014

Hi guys,

As much as I am willing you over that finish, I am so pleased you have decided to split these last miles across the two days. I’m sure you are desperate to get it done now but hopefully over two full days the pressure and toll on your mind and bodies will be a little less.

On your feelings of disappointment – this is a perfectly normal reaction to Antarctica for anyone who is on an expedition there. Let alone anyone who has spent 10 hours a day for over 100 days dragging laden sleds behind them.

I’m equally sure those who visit briefly, experience the joy and beauty you have been missing. It seems that Antarctica has a mythic quality that stays with people long after they leave and never stops calling them back.

I have always been fascinated for as long as I can remember about the men who have walked on the moon. Only twelve men in history have had that unique feeling of euphoria and awe and they have all been indelibly marked by it. (Andrew Smith wrote an excellent book about the lives of those 12 men; Moon Dust – In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth, a fantastic read)
I suppose what I am trying to say is that I think Antarctica, in many respects, is the closest thing that we have on Earth to the Moon. There is no doubt in my mind that you and Tarka will have been marked forever by your time there. It is well to remember one of my son’s favourite authors, Dr. Seuss who said, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” (although I think he nicked that line).

Please look out for those fragile bodies in these last two days, eat well and keep putting one foot in front of the other to bring you home.

God Speed and stay safe.


# Christy, Indiana, U.S., February 5th 2014

You are so right Gav when you say “It seems that Antarctica has a mythic quality that stays with people long after they leave and never stops calling them back.”  I believe that’s known as the Polar Virus!

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

Well spoken. R

# wonderwoman, February 5th 2014

Very well said. I’m with you.

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

@ Gav,

Wonderfully said.

# Kat, February 5th 2014

Christie, you said, “You are so right Gav when you say “It seems that Antarctica has a mythic quality that stays with people long after they leave and never stops calling them back.”  I believe that’s known as the Polar Virus!”

Perhaps the Polar Venus?

# CaninesCashews, February 6th 2014

Thanks everyone - I think I may have the Polar Virus (the ‘by proxy’ version).


# Greg Jarrett, February 5th 2014

Gents, as you near the end of your journey (and what a remarkable achievement it will be) I want to express my gratitude to you for sharing a small part of your experience with us. Your commitment to writing almost every day and sharing the mental challenge, as well as the physical, is a wonderful thing and has allowed us to understand a tiny part of what you are going through.

My only wish is that you continue to write posts (although they probably won’t be daily) as you journey back into ‘civilisation’. I am interested to hear more about your journey back to the real world, the challenges you face and the new perspectives you have. Ben - you have a remarkable talent for sharing the intricate details of what you are experiencing - what might have seemed monotonous or repetitive to you has been thoroughly exhilarating for those of us reading, and I’m sure that most of us will miss reading these daily posts from you.

Stay safe as you near the end.

# Bridget, February 5th 2014

Yes, thank you for the effort you have made to write every day when sometimes it must have been the last thing you wanted to do.  It has been utterly compelling and has become such a morning ritual that I’m not sure what I’ll do on the 7th.  I hope that “ending” isn’t too much of an anti climax.  Such an achievement .... Not only the expedition itself, but to have shared it with so many.  Thank you, both.

# dj, February 5th 2014

@greg… where are you from?  You’ve got a great name.

# Richard McGehee, February 5th 2014

Wishing you all the best.

I am relieved your push to Scott base will be made in two ‘normal’ days instead of one giant day. Your previously planned jumbo day reminded me of your dash around the pole that verged on hypothermia and frostbite. A good night’s sleep will allow your extra rations to restore your strength. Even you super humans need nourishment and a clear head. I worried that your falls were a sign of overexertion.

Please continue your blogs as you melt back into civilization.

Happy trails to you from Kentucky.

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

The distance to understanding comes with a belief in what is. A thousand words draw a picture so beautiful each pixel bursts into color believing. The heart feels the texture of every stride taken to satisfy the journey for what longs to be held.  Parched lips taste water ever sweeter; where the two meet nothing is impossible. What it is truly like comprehends what is believed and becomes truly possible.

39 miles of skiing to go, 39 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
38 miles of skiing to go.
38 miles of skiing to go, 38 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
37 miles of skiing to go….


Dear Ben and Tarka,

I wish you had skis that had a built in zamboni to smooth out the sastrugi, the snow was as soft as cotton for falling into, and the ache of the pull was massaged every step of the way. Thing is, that would actually take away from this journey you are having.  The feeling is so multiplicitous regarding how you are still skiing at least 24 miles a day, aching from falls, aching from pulling, aching from the desolate view. I think I’ve been standing in ovation the whole time.

With compassion,

# Dave, February 5th 2014

Antarctica sees that you are indeed going to win the war, but is determined to win a many last battles as it can just to put up a fight.

I and many others have seen the tourist Antarctica.  A very few have seen the explorer’s Antarctica.  You and Tarka have seen a different Antarctica still.  You own the experience.  No book or Imax will be able to convey it.  We have to create our own memories.

Ponies.  Are there going to be ponies?  Probably not.  Something new to fantasize about.

Continued safety and progress

# Sheila England, February 5th 2014

I got up extra early to check your progress. I wonder what your dreams will be like after you are home?
Be careful, you’re almost home…
Praying for you guys,

# Barbara B from Clinton, CT USA, February 6th 2014

Phil, I couldn’t resist the link.
Couldn’t stop laughing….. 
Thanks for that ...

# Antony Griffin, February 5th 2014

I cannot explain how amazed I’ve been by your journey.  Your blog has been one of the highlights of my day for what seems like months and months.  Your dedication and drive no matter what you’ve been feeling is truly inspirational.  I will miss your daily reports but there is no doubt you both deserve your imminent rest and slap up meals.  Take care for the last couple of days and thank you for sharing your journey with us.  Is there anything you will miss about Antarctica once you get back to normality?  Godspeed.

# Pete Vassilakos, February 5th 2014

103 days of battle, and just 2 more to go! You’ve come this far and have faced everything Antarctica has thrown at you. Don’t give up! However it is important that you don’t allow your urge for this to be over and whatever ego you have left get the better of you! Don’t be foolish, and travel safely!!  This will be the most epic last days of your journey, as every last step brings you closer to the greatest achievement of your lives! Cheers!!!! I watch with anticipation!

# Judy from North Carolina, February 5th 2014

Scott would be very proud of you, too!  We are willing you strength and safety with every moment of your few remaining steps.  May the time be short.

# helen onions, February 5th 2014

You are the reason why we are up in the mountains each morning this week- lifts are shut through gales - & skinning up & skiing sastrugi after 6 years is invigorating thinking of your plight - you have inspired so many people!

# Christy, Indiana, U.S., February 5th 2014

Ben and Tarka, it has truly been a privilege to follow your historic journey!  I love the symmetry of your journey, beginning at Cape Evans Terra Nova Hut, gathering the ghosts of 1911/12 and bringing them forward with you full circle to present day Scott Base 2014. 

I strongly believe your journey has provided profound insight into Scott’s journey like nothing else could have.  Just as no one can know exactly the depth of your experience, so too, despite all the armchair quarterbacking, no one can know exactly what the experience of Scott’s Southern Party was really like.  From the get-go Scott’s venture seemed plagued with misfortune; the over laden Terra Nova almost sinking in a Southern Ocean gale before arriving in Antarctica, the sinking of the motor sledge and some supplies in the rapidly melting ice while unloading the ship, the bad weather that prevented One Ton Depot from being laid at 80° South, their trudge ‘home’ during a atypical February and March weather where temperatures averaged -35 F, the ensuing frostbit feet and increased need for more calories to fuel their journey. 

Your journey has caused me to read the things I passed up before my own Antarctic tourist adventure.  Before this I had soaked up information on penguins, seals and whales, Treaty info, climate change and more modern day scientific stuff.  Now I am a thirsty sponge just soaking up all the historic tidbits, reading some of the books referenced by other posters on this list; Scott’s last expedition; the personal journal of Captain R. F. Scott, on his journey to the South pole, The Norwegian with Scott : Tryggve Gran’s Antarctic diary, 1910-1913, Gavin Francis’ Empire Antarctica, and I’m somewhere in the middle of Cherry-Garrard The worst journey in the world; Antarctic, 1910-1913, with Susan Solomon’s The Coldest March awaiting next in my lineup.  Although I keep reading Richard’s posts stating that it’s been proven that blizzards on the barrier seldom last more than 3 or 4 days, I can’t help but wonder if during that abnormal weather period in February/March 1912 why couldn’t there have been a blizzard that lasted all of those last days of Scott’s journey?  After all, the depot relief party turned back after six days at One Ton due to terrible weather, and Cherry Garrard states in his book that during the first winter they did not get so many of the hut-shaking blizzards, but that during the second they seemed to get nothing else, and that one blizzard during the winter of 1912 lasted six weeks (yes, I realize that’s not March, but still it’s atypical even for that time of year right?)  I’m looking forward to gaining more insight about this weather thing from Solomon’s book, and then I want to find a copy of South Pole odyssey: selections from the Antarctic diaries of Edward Wilson.

It seems so sadly often overlooked in the drama of the Southern Party’s story, that the Terra Nova expedition was as much a scientific venture as a journey to claim the pole.  I think that the Southern Party could not have fathomed leaving the scientifically valuable 35 pounds of rocks behind, even in order to save their own lives.  From the latter half of the 19th century onwards to the period of Scott’s journey, exploits had to have some scientific justification.  For instance look at the explorers conquering the Alps in the 1800s, if no scientific gain was seen, attempts to summit previously unclimbed mountains were seen as simply vainglorious and silly.  The Terra Nova expedition’s comprehensive scientific program included meteorology, glaciology, geology and biology, and they increased geographical knowledge, exploring Victoria Land and the Western Mountains.  The scientific data gained during the Terra Nova expedition laid a strong foundation for much of the scientific research that followed. 

So thank you Ben and Tarka for enriching my life, and stirring up my own Polar Virus again, and thank you to posters on this list for your insights, tips and leads on interesting books and films. 

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

Dear Christy,

Nice post. Just to pick you up on the storms issue - Antarctic geography and meteorology are such that if there had been blizzards at Scott’s final camp, there would have been similar storms at Cape Evans, but none of the diaries of any of the men at Evans mention any storms; in fact, they report good, albeit very cold, weather. My novel posits another theory.

Worst Journey is the best travel book ever, in my opinion, and Solomon’s book sheds much light on the temperature and storms. And it is brilliantly written (although the Scott naysayers claim she makes errors - I disagree with them).

I, too, will not know what to do with myself once the boys have reached their goal. I do hope this blog is kept alive.

The next challenge, of course, will be to mke the journey the same way as Scott did - laying depots in Summer 1, overwintering in winter, and then making the unsupported journey in Summer 2. I wonder if anyone will ever take up that challenge.


# Mal Owen, February 5th 2014

@Christy Such an interesting read ... I am somewhere halfway through Worst Journey too ...soaking it up ! I also have a list noted from other posters to the blog. Happy Polar Virus!

# Kat, February 5th 2014

Nice post Christie!  If you’re going down the historical Scott/Antarctic hole, so to speak, don’t miss Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard by Sarah Wheeler, for a heart-rending account of Cherry’s life, beautifully written, helps to understand some of the British class system which we North Americans sometimes struggle with.  It’s also a great account of the massive social changes at work through the Edwardian period, post WW1 and illuminates Cherry’s character further. And yes! Worst Journey in the World is a cracker!!  I re-read regularly, just to renew the shivers… Sarah also spent considerable time in Antarctica and wrote about that in Terra Incognita.

I also thought Captain Oates Soldier and Explorer by Sue Limb & Patrick Cordingley and Anne Strathie’s Birdie Bowers: Captain Scott’s Marvel were also excellent. 

I wonder if some of you Antarctic mavens can recommend other favourite biograhies of Scott’s Polar Party?

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

Very appreciative of your posts, for those like myself who have yet to read such books or take such ventures.  #Gratitude

# Christy, February 5th 2014

Thanks Kat for more reading suggestions!  Someone, maybe you, had mentioned that Birdie Bowers book a few days back, thanks for reminding me that I want to track that one down!  I also borrowed through interlibrary loan a 2011 DVD release of the TV miniseries Last place on earth (BFS Video) that someone on this list had mentioned.  It was good, but I felt it was a too negatively stilted a view of Scott, I think it was originally made in the mid ‘80s.  I’ve also found a bit of a treasure trove of freebies on YouTube;

Secrets of the Dead III (2002) 5. Tragedy at the Pole  This one features comments by Susan Solomon.

Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica
Race for the Poles,

Shakelton’s Voyage of Endurance

Explorers: Amundsen Explorers: Amundsen This is a really old film but quite interesting.

And on PBS here in the States, I recently saw the last part of Chasing Shackleton, hope they repeat it so I can see the first part!

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014

@Kat - yes, Cherry is a must-read; brilliant stuff. R

# Offroading Home, February 5th 2014

Guys - FYI - Once this expedition is complete, we’ve decided to convert all the ‘real-time’ portions of our Offroading Home Antarctic Resource File into hard-code and keep it posted and available for anyone who want’s to find information about the continent quickly. All the links previously given in comments will still work and will updated to point to the most recent version.

Additionally, there will be a page created with the title: “Antarctic Expeditions and Journeys - Read All About It” (don’t know the exact url yet as it’s not posted) which is intended to contain all the literature written about the Scott Journey - and these you are listing are GREAT!  We’ll also put a reference pop-up on the Google Earth Antarctic Resource Map which will point to all these great works.

So, I’d appreciate anyone who’s read (or written) a published work about the Scott Expedition that they’re fond of - please, “reply” to this comment thread or over on the blog so they can be included.  Also, if any of your run across other data type pages that should be included in a resource file we’d appreciate hearing about those too.

# Richard Pierce, February 5th 2014


Including fiction?


# Craig, February 5th 2014

Ben, Tarka,

Your journey has inspired so many people over the last few months, and a few of the comments today have mentioned the desire to create a virtual finish line to welcome you back.

I’d like to suggest that all readers and contributors to the blog who use twitter create a virtual finish for B&T with a hashtag, and let’s get them trending as they finish on Feb 6 GMT.

A virtual finish line, and small token of our appreciation for your efforts to include us in this amazing journey, and to recognise the sponsors who helped make it possible.


Any preferences / other suggestions?

# Mal Owen, February 6th 2014

Ive just looked online at my county library’s catalogue…. Antarctica search brings up 156 titles

# dj, February 6th 2014

@Richard… Offroading home keeps pretty much to data and facts; however, historical fiction - entirely based on verifiable facts - only using plausibility’s where no specific fact exists - is something that Offroading Home would post. Got anything in mind in that category??

@Mal, @Kat, @Christy, @Mssr Cashew - how about sending a copy of your lists - I’ll credit you and you can write a short review if you wish.

# Richard Pierce, February 6th 2014


My novel, Dead Men, for starters, published by Duckworth who also published Beryl Bainbridge’s The Birthday Boys. And it goes to paperback in the US on 25th Feb.

I know a place where there are lots of resources, as I attended a symposium in Jaffrey in 2012 (the South-Polesium). I’ll let yo have the link tomorrow.

Must go to bed now, as have just cranked out 2k words on my new book (Persia, 1600s).


# Richard Pierce, February 6th 2014

Oh, forgot to say that my historical fiction parts are based entirely on verifiable facts, on the strength of which I persuaded the Natural History Museum in London to host my book launch, where they had to turn people away because it was oversubscribed.


# dj, February 6th 2014

@Richard, @cashews ... Thanks.  It’d be great to be able to continue conversation off-line after this is over. I’ll be doing various posts for awhile using this as a focal point - especially interested in “interview” type posts about various aspects of the endeavor.  Without putting email in open are subject to skimming, if you’d like you can reach me through the links on then we could convert to email.  When I get this thing converted to hard code, I’d welcome a few reviewers for accuracy. DJ

# Brendan Smith, February 5th 2014

Wishing you all the best as you get closer to the safety of the Scott Base!

# Leigh, February 5th 2014

We can’t possibly know what the journey has been like, but from your honest updates, we feel like we’ve been there with you. Thank you for sharing your incredible, epic journey, and take care on the ice. You’re only hours away from the perfect, hot hamburger and chips now! Leigh

# Rich...!, February 5th 2014

So stoked to hear it Ben. Hum “The eye of the tiger” to yourself as you hit the last mile.

So proud my friend.

# Sandra Pitblado, February 5th 2014

Each day it has been our routine to click into the Scott Expedition Blog and live vicariously with you incredible adventurers.  We are in true awe of what you have accomplished and struggle to imagine the extraordinary mental strength you have mustered all through the journey, but most particularly these last few days as the end is near and you must stay safe.  Please know that we are with you every push of the skis and will rejoice with all your followers when the news comes that you are safe and warm!  Fondest thoughts!  Sandra and Jim

# Ione , February 5th 2014

just followed Phil Satoor’s link today to the joyful swimmer leaping into the hole in the ice - for God’s sake, Tarka and Ben,DONT try and outdo the man from the land of the long white cloud - enough is enough! NO swimming please! (it did make me laugh though!)

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

OMG, and jumping with slippers on. Funny!  But yeah, lugging a ladder ... nah ...

# Dave, February 6th 2014

Smart to have a safety rope.  Having “polar plunged” twice (both north and south; yup, I’m “bipolar”) I can see climbing that ladder being a difficult task.

I imagine Ben and Tarka will get checked by a doctor before engaging in any chenenigans.  And as much as they crave cheeseburgers, etc, they may also have a “re-entry” diet planned.  They’ve handled their expedition very smartly so far, and I expect them to continue to do so.

Well done, guys!

# Ian Kirk, February 5th 2014

Gentlemen, you both have my utmost respect! What a tremendous achievement! I wonder (if Scott and his team were still alive today), what their own thoughts would be on your momentous achievement.
I trust you will look back in great gratitude at the glory of the wonder of that vast expanse of the earth, and that you were allowed to witness it.

# Rachel, February 5th 2014

I have been “with” you as much as possible from the start of your amazing journey; I’m just not one to comment in the blog.  I wonder if you don’t have just as giant a journey ahead of you as you’ve already had.  One that will require every attention to your emotions, even as your bodies heal and gain strength, and well beyond.  The disappointment you feel at the lack of joyful moments is understandable.  Perhaps the joy will come in retrospect, in surprising and unexpected ways. In ways that wouldn’t be possible or as deep without the unbelievable struggle this has been for you.  To have an experience like yours that leaves you wondering how to convey to anybody what it is truly like can be isolating.  It makes me think of war veterans, and also people who have grieved the loss of a loved one ... very lonely experiences.  Keep your loved ones close, share in any way you can (again and again), and know that you have masses of friends out here in blog-land who can’t know, but care.  My hope for you is for joy to unfold in unpredicted ways as you make your way through the months and years to come.  You are doing a remarkable thing and I thank you for letting us share in it with you.  You aren’t done.  Keep your focus and stay safe until Scott Base and well beyond.

# Nora Wolfe, February 5th 2014

I have been through a few experiences that have left me without anyone who understands. So I really understand how you feel that maybe few others will really know what you went through. I have often wondered if Armstrong, who first stepped on the moon, knew he could never communicate the experience to others and that is why he became a recluse right up to his death. Perhaps if you were artists you could create a painting after painting trying to reach the core of the meaning of what you and Tarka went through. But I imagine each painting would fall slightly short and you would have to paint one more. I look forward to hearing your TED talk (your first “painting”) and hope there will be other ways for all of us to keep hearing your story. Thank you for what you have done,  you have enriched my life greatly.

# Freya Godard, February 5th 2014

Dear Ben and Tarka,

It’s not surprising that you feel somewhat disappointed as you approach the end of your journey, because you won’t be returning to the companionship and congratulations of a hut or ship full of fellow explorers who themselves know what it’s like to travel on the Barrier or even on the Beardmore Glacier.

Moreover, no one can recreate today the importance attached a hundred years ago to reaching the Pole or a new Furthest South, or the glory awaiting those who did so.

Nevertheless, with your blog and photos you have made an important contribution to our appreciation of the courage and stamina of the first Antarctic explorers, and that is no small achievement.

With much admiration,

Freya Godard in snowy Toronto

# gail rose, February 5th 2014

Thank you for sharing your journey.  Please take care and be safe.  From Mississauga, ON Canada

# Uncle Pete, February 5th 2014

Boys thay looks good on the map this evening - Wednesday 18:30 Milawi time! Temperature here a bit warmer. Missed a post en route here but glad to hear you safe if still challenged but now a final run- in tomorrow - take care to the very end and don’t spoil it by falling down in the bar!
I am sure there will follow lots of analysis (much of it no doubt hot wind from armchairs) but I do hope you recover from the hardship and realise just what you are on the brink of achieving. I admire your dogged persistence and, provided you take are in the bar, determination to survive the worst nature can throw at you - well done.

# Leigh Phillips, February 5th 2014

Ben , you say its been frustratingly hard to convey your story but I must admit that I think you’ve triumphed!  I think your wonderful has carried us all on the journey with you, many thanks for sharing it with us :-) here’s to more adventures, after all my morning commute will be boring with out it

# Leigh Phillips, February 5th 2014

Wonderful writing! Doh. Blame it on my fence just blowing over.

# Cameron, February 5th 2014

Been following you at school. Hope you have good luck on your last day. You have been doing so well.We will see how you have done tomorrow - good luck!
From Cameron

# Intrepid, February 5th 2014

Did you guys stretch every morning? Just curious… I know you’re not using a slew of muscles you are used to using, as well as losing a lot of muscles you are used to having. Stretching though—has it been necessary?

# Christian C, February 5th 2014

If it were easy it wouldn’t have been worth doing. The last miles of any major challenge are always a grind. You truly have pushed the limits of human endurance and of course that is going to show.

Outstanding outstanding effort from you both, your team , families and loved ones too.

Quite a party slightly over the horizon I imagine…

Chapeau! :-)

# Kevin Wright, February 5th 2014

Hi Guys
You are both such an inspiration to us all. You have managed to do the unthinkable and deserve the otter most respect from explorers new and old. We are all watching your every move over the next 24 hours just take care and look foreword to to your reward. You are already history makers. Praying for you both so Keep going! Kev

# sharon, February 5th 2014

Gents - I am in awe of your talents, commitment, perserverance, determination, and downright stubborness to take on such a herculean task.
As you so rightly say, we can never know just what it is and has been like for you both during these past 100+ days (not including the gruelling training you both undertook), although you have transported your thoughts, leadership chanllenges and passion for this challenge throughout your blogs.
I’ve loved reading. You have inspired many nd will I’m sure continue to inspire many more.
Your challenge is a daily topic in work, and a source of further daily inspiration.
Congratulations on the job so far - not much further.
Keep safe

# Marty Hazen, February 5th 2014

Gentlemen, as I write this I’ve just checked your latest position, so tantalizingly close to your final steps.  Epic does not begin to describe the feat that ends with those final steps, and will soon be committed to history as a crowning achievement of man.
For you to have accomplished what may well have been considered the impossible just a few short months ago while maintaining such composure speaks volumes of your character and drive.  My hat is off to you Gents.
It is my hope that the weather allows you to see the sound as you trudge those last few miles, no doubt giving a little inspiration along the way (not to mention allowing the residents of Scott Base the opportunity to see and record your approach).  God speed.

# Marina Kleinwort, February 5th 2014

B & T
Fingers crossed only another 24 hours before we can start our own cyber blog celebration on your behalf!  I will be stuck at an event frustrated I won’t be able to check my phone to see when you cross the finish line, bitter sweet though that may be.  Beside myself with excitement for you both and so happy for your families that they can soon relax.  Hoping tomorrow is a good day without mishap (looks as though you did a monster day today) and you have enough energy left for another mega man hug at the end…  @Andy I assume we will see the news when they reach base on the website soon after they reach it rather than via a blog the next morning?  Waiting with baited breath.  x

# Mal Owen, February 5th 2014

Last night in your home of 104 days. Rest your weary heads and travel those last steps safely tomorrow. It’s not long now ‘til your dream is realised. I feel honoured to be able to share the moment.

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
I’m sure your super Bremont watch won’t do that but you’ll soon be able to do the same !

# Hannah , February 5th 2014

To my science lesson comrade… Have been gripped following the journey - so inspiring! I only ever got as far as planet Thanet Ben ;) exploration is a fundamental part of our being and you guys actually do it - so thank you for your perseverance and technological know-how that has allowed our voyeurism to persist! Safe journey home - will miss this series!

# Chris Jeffcoat, February 6th 2014

Only yesterday evening I was talking to Giles at the Bremont Boutique about your achievements and how they are just out of this world.Everyone is so proud of you both.
Very very well done.
Take care,

# Austin Duryea, February 6th 2014

It is so awesome what y’all guys are doing. Only two days left of the bitter cold and, sluggish weather. It will suck to know that we only have two days of following you left but it was awesome while it lasted.( For us at least.) What do you think your next challenge will be? Any way of following you on that one too? Keep up the great work and remember never give up. Just keep thinking about the big juicy burger that your gonna buy when you get home.

# Matt (Minnesota), February 6th 2014

A steaming hot bath, a shave, a haircut and the luxurious feel of clean cotton cloths will go a long way to restore you to civilization. Then the bar.

Congratulations on your epic journey; you’ve managed with dignity and aplomb (at least from my armchair) and I presume that what’s said in the wilderness will remain in the wilderness. Thanks to both of you and your crew for taking us on this grand adventure.

# Irene, February 6th 2014

Glued to this space. Finish in one piece, guys!

# Philip, February 6th 2014

“we’d perhaps hoped Antarctica would hold more moments of beauty and joy” ... that made me sad to read. You’ve done something that Scott almost succeded, but you and Tarka are the only one to have done it. Maybe it’s the exhaustion that make you think that way, take a real deep breath tomorrow, take a look around, even if you took look around for the last 3 months, take a last good one, for the memory you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. Don’t loose faith at the 11’th hour, you’ve done something I would have wanted to do with you even after I’ve read every bit of suffering you’ve past thru.

“a win without risk is to triumph without glory” translated from Le Cid, II 2

# Paul, February 6th 2014

I’m just in awe of the entire journey and what you two have done. I so hope your finish hits the BBC news tonight and the rest of the UK wakes up to your remarkable achievement.

# David, February 7th 2014

Great news - well done Ben &Tarka;. History made - a huge effort that can’t really be comprehended by this armchair bound blogger.

My thanks too for the expertise today from the blogg experts for guidance and updates.

Won’t wait up to check intermittent webcam

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