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.

Day Ten, Cold Thumbs (Day 10)

Day 10: S78° 23' 7.92", E168° 25' 47.22"

Duration: 6 Hr

Daily distance: 7.7 Mi

Distance to go: 1731.2 Mi

Temperature: -27 °C

Wind chill: -30 °C

Altitude: 151 Ft

I have a copy of Scott's diaries on the Ultrabook that I type these updates on, and as I read a few pages last night I realised that Tarka and I are hauling slightly heavier loads than each of his weaker ponies dragged ("400lbs") which probably explains why we were so grumpy for the first few days.

Today was calm and bright, though the sun was almost always obscured by high cloud and as a result seemed regrettably stingy with its heat. Tarka and I seemed simultaneously afflicted by thumbs that refused to warm up for most of the day, despite windmilling our arms around at every opportunity, centrifugally forcing warm blood out to our hands.

The wind picked up a little in the afternoon and blew straight into our faces, so we retreated behind our hoods and masks, talking to each other like twin versions of Kenny from South Park.

The view to our right, across to the Society Range of mountains, was stunning.

We had a bit of drama last night as we thought two of our four batteries had conked out. Weirdly they seem to have come back to life now, which is a huge relief, as the Pilot is pretty power-hungry. I'll write more about the technology we have here in the tent, as a lot of it is brand new. No Q&A today I'm afraid as I need to get some sleep!


# John Brain, November 4th 2013

Congratulations boys. Nobody except you two know how tough it is out there at the moment. Things will obviously ease off a little when you have shed some of the weight from the sleds. And at least you haven’t yet had a forced halt for a blizzard!

# andrew , November 4th 2013

Tarka! Good launch, and the tracker is now showing a pleasing trajectory. All power to you both and well done so far.Dig deep (well not exactly dig but you know what I mean)  Andrew + Gill

# CaninesCashews, November 4th 2013

Hi guys,
Don’t worry too much about the Q&A - sleep and re-energising much more important.
Remember what Lewis Carroll said in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
Oh I never thought I’d be able to work that one into a Polar Expedition!
Keep well,


# George Chapman, November 4th 2013

Glad to hear your doing well. Hope you figure out a way to keep those extremities warm. Great photos. You will remember this adventure for years so be sure and have some fun as you travel along.
Following you on FB and Google Earth from sunny Central Florida U.S.A. Todays temperature 62ºF. at 5:00 AM

# Janet Stanley, November 4th 2013

So cool you are comparing notes with Scott’s diaries! Stay safe & like the pictures. :)

# Sparrows class East Preston infant school, November 4th 2013

Dear Ben, we are learning about Captain Scott and Antarctica. We have thought of some questions for you.?
How do you keep warm? Layton
What do you sleep in? Rebecca
How much food did you bring? George
Have you seen any penguins or other animals? Orla
Good luck Ben
from Sparrows class x

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi, a note on Ben’s behalf. To keep warm, Ben and Tarka have inner thermal layers combined with protective outer garments. A blog will follow in the next few weeks with more detail but in the meantime here’s a video about their jackets and sleeping bags: In te.rms of food, they consume almost 6000 calories daily through a menu made up of high-calorie freeze-dried food, hot energy drinks and energy bars. Here’s a video showing you what they have And r.egarding animals, Ben mentioned seeing a few seals in the early days of the expedition!

# Gnanaruban, V, November 4th 2013

Making increasingly good progress Ben and Tarka. Are you two left handed? I ask this because your path curves slightly towards right. You world have left the second depot by now, how long does it take to pile up snow blocks as markers?
-Someone in the expedition team can answer few of our questions I guess.

# Claudia Tynes, November 4th 2013

I think of you guys every night as I get into my warm bed. Is it windy at night? Does the tent walls get blown about?  In the picture, the tent looks black! Is the color important?

Hope you have a good day tomorrow, hard surface, no wind!

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi Claudia. Yes, I believe it can get pretty windy at night depending on the conditions but will leave Ben to confirm on that one as it will change with the weather. The tent is green!

# Eduardo Jorge Roca, November 4th 2013

On the other hand, considering the fate of those ponies perhaps that extra bit of effort is worth it, huh?

Best of luck, guys. Like someone else said, the adventures first, explanations later (fantastic quote, by the way).

# Rich Townsend, November 4th 2013

Sounds like you had a scare with your batteries! I know cold weather can play havoc with battery charge levels - things can seem dead as a doornail until they warm up again. Is there anything special about your batteries which helps them work in the cold?

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi Rich. The batteries are lithium-polymer battery packs.

# Rhiana freeman, November 4th 2013

dear ben.I am 6 years old
how many different things have you seen ?
what is it like at night?
how many clothes do you wear every day?
Good luck!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 6th 2013

Hi, it’s bright at night as there’s 24 hour daylight in Antarctica at the moment (so Ben and Tarka sleep with an eye mask). Depending on the weather it can also be rather noisy if the wind gets up, although it’s been relatively peaceful to date with the exception of the last couple of days. In terms of clothing, Ben and Tarka have inner thermal layers and a protective outer shell. Here’s a video with a bit more about what they wear

# Remi M., November 4th 2013

When you have time for a Q+A can you answer the following question please.

What coping strategies do you use to deal with the monotony and how does it differ from Tarka’s? 

Have you ever tried listening to music or audio books on past expeditions?

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 6th 2013

Hi Remi, Ben listens to music a lot when he skis; and Tarka to audiobooks. More detail in his most recent post

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