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 One Hundred, the Man Hug and the Rocky Punch (Day 100)

Day 100: S79° 10' 17.65", E168° 34' 32.88"

Duration: 10 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 23.6 Mi

Distance to go: 111.3 Mi

Temperature: -12 °C

Wind chill: -18 °C

Altitude: 118 Ft

Apologies for what will be a quick one again; I'm cooking (and cooking more than usual as we picked up the first depot with extra grub in it today) and we ended up skiing for ten-and-a-half hours as the conditions were so lousy, which meant about thirteen hours outside on our feet, and not getting inside the tent and taking our boots off until 9pm.

The sun shone for the first hour or so (and we had a cracking view of Minna Bluff to our north west, or to the front and left hand side as we ski towards Ross Island) before a giant blanket of cloud descended with tedious predictability, giving us every combination today from fog so thick we almost lost sight of each other a few metres apart, to a merely irritating flat light that made navigating hard. The surface was hopeless as well; really sticky with lots of lumps and ridges and mini-sastrugi, and it's been snowing most of the day which doesn't help matters either.

Despite all of that, our mojo was much improved today, principally as we're no longer starving hungry thanks to the bonus ration bag we can split over the next two days, giving us an extra 3,000 or so calories per day. I've gone for the Winnie the Pooh approach with mine (if I eat it all now there'll be less to drag tomorrow) but managed to save a few bars and the main meal so it'll be double dinner night tomorrow evening.

I've also been meaning to write about two other important techniques we've used to keep going. When Tarka was mid-way through a particularly epic expedition on the southern Patagonian icecap with his wife Katie (so epic that their tent was eventually shredded in a storm) he turned round during a blizzard to see her performing miniature shadow-boxing moves with her mittens on. "I'm pretending I'm Rocky. He would get through this", she shouted into the wind, by way of explanation.

The man hug is something the English rarely perform well or with any degree of comfort, except perhaps muddied, bloodied and battered after a good game of rugby, but it's something we're doing more and more out here, as a way of reaffirming our solidarity and defiance in the face of Antarctica's daily attempts to make our lives as challenging as possible. It's looking like four days left in the sledge harnesses as I type this, so the end is very much in sight now...


# Richard Pierce, February 2nd 2014

Keep on trucking boys. Willing you on.

So, is Tarka Piglet?

God Speed.


# Ariane, February 2nd 2014


# JonT, February 3rd 2014


# Uncle Pete, February 2nd 2014

Extra rations clearly good for you, looking very good. Four days! Difficult to believe you are at last so close - Well done and keep safe right to the end and beyond. Best Wishes

# Lydia , February 2nd 2014

What a fabulous picture guys.  Sooooo good to see you both smiling.
Almost down to the last 100hrs - epic, amazing, truly inspirational that is what you are.
Enjoy your extra rations.
Stay safe!
We are all right behind you.
Lydia x

# Hannah, February 2nd 2014

Boom!! So close now guys, and I’m bubbling with excitement for you. Stay focused and get to that finish line xx

# Jarda, February 2nd 2014

Hi Ben and Tarka,
I wish you good surface for the rest of your journey. Your speed is unbelievable (after all what you had to face), keep it up!
Greetings from the Czech republic…

# Chris, February 2nd 2014

Just a few more days and then you’ve done it - obviously there is no room for complacency but you’re so close and that’s fantastic!

# Clement Hodgkinson, February 2nd 2014

Well done guys!
Stay safe on these next days.
And I am loving the beards, it’s going be nice to have a shave at the end… keep that in your minds!

# Intrepid, February 2nd 2014

There is a definite difference in today’s post. The message popping out of the lines reads that it doesn’t matter what happens (weather/light/snow) you’re getting this done, and now with food, you’re really cracking on!  And the sense I had from reading between the lines is something like this ... OMG… the stories you are going to tell!!!!

126 miles of skiing to go, 126 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
125 miles of skiing to go.
125 miles of skiing to go, 125 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
124 miles of skiing to go….

Dear Ben and Tarka,

It’s fantastic to see you guys looking so brilliantly happy!!

Godspeed ... to the end!

# Jon G, February 2nd 2014

Came across this African proverb this morning, shortly before seeing your picture.
“To go fast, go alone, but to go far, go together”
Being a team of 2, 24/7, for 100 days, is almost as extraordinary as trudging to the pole and back. Even though each would have been impossible without the other. Great to see you both smiling. Where are you off to next?

# Tara Carlisle, February 2nd 2014

Jon G - that’s a lovely lovely post.
Ben and Tarka - soooooo excited for you. Cant begin to imagine how torturous this has been but you’re heroes and record breakers and we’re all so bloody proud! Well done. Hang in there, and hope you have more Tigger moments than Eeyore moments on your remaining few days.  Stay safe and go hugtastic! Hugs solve a lot!
Tara xx

# Intrepid, February 2nd 2014

OOOPS…. middle of the night typing mistake ....

111 miles of skiing to go, 111 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
110 miles of skiing to go.
110 miles of skiing to go, 110 miles to go,
You ski some more, make tracks in the snow,
109 miles of skiing to go….

Looks like the results of manhugging has charm, creates a stronger deeper bond, and is liberating. All the more!!!

# Rob Rossi, February 2nd 2014

I have followed you from the start, but never commented on your tremendous bravery in taking on this challenge. I wish you well, and am excited for you to be nearing the end of this incredibly difficult journey. Believe me, it is hard for me to wrap my head around how much you have had to endure.  Best of luck for the final few days.
Robert Rossi,  Boston, Massachusetts.

# Helena, February 2nd 2014

Haha, what a wonderful and happy picture, you look like a real hungry wolves :-D Aaand I think you shouldn’t shave anymore :-D

# Mal Owen, February 2nd 2014


I Wake
First thought
Today’s blog update
Push the button
Not there
Not there again
Is all ok?
Worrying thoughts
Try again says the finger
Not there
Tension builds
Refresh page
Still not there
I sigh
ipad down
Try again in a minute
Loo break
No, not there
It’s there
Breathe again
Two smiling faces

That’s day 100 done and dusted ..... another milestone. Keep on milestoning ( is there such a word? ) You are getting closer with every footstep ... willing you on with every bit of everything I can muster.
I got onto my explorer mode soapbox yesterday and the kids changed my name from Malco Polo to Ferdinand Malgellan.
Keep manhugging , Keep safe,

# CaninesCashews, February 2nd 2014

Hi guys,

Fabulous. Now I’m going to be humming ‘Eye of the Tiger’ all day!

I like the sound of a much improved mojo – food driven or not. Also nothing wrong with a man-hug, it is after all the shortest distance between friends.


Stay safe.

# Mark langridge, February 2nd 2014

Well done guys- you’ll be seeing Minna Bluff soon! First ever return on Scott’s route- Outstanding effort, Best Regards, Mark Langridge (British Army Centenary Exped 2011)

# Zeno, February 2nd 2014

Hey guys, have you trimmed your beards during the past 100 days? They look too well cared for, after 1/4 years out in the snow. I know how mine looked after 1 month on the Greenland icecap.

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