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...


# Miriam, February 2nd 2014

You both look sooooo much better!! Great photo. Keep the hugs going. Good luck & safe travels x

# Richard Pierce, February 2nd 2014

Is the tracker on the blink again this morning? The boys don’t seem to have moved yet, according to GE. R

# Ariane, February 2nd 2014

Your tone today reminds me of this speech, another occasion for British manhugs methinks:

“This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall see this day and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispin’s:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day.
Then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,
Harry the king,
Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot,
Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

That fought with us upon Antartica.

# Phil Satoor, February 2nd 2014

And of course, Ben and Tarka set off from Cape Evans on 25th October - Saint Crispin’s Day!

# Ariane, February 2nd 2014

Really?! Wonder if they knew that. B? Crew? Intentional?

[makes note for the book]

P.s. Forgot a c in Antarctica, to my shame. Blame phone.

# andrea, February 3rd 2014

And, as a speech for the expedition, even this may make the survival.
A splendour of speech.

# Thijs, February 2nd 2014

Gentlemen, hard to believe it is nearly over. Checking your progress (comfortably warm behind my desk) is a daily treat that I will sorely miss. I’m looking forward to Ben’s talk and the book that this adventure so deserves. God speed on those final miles.

# Richard McGehee, February 2nd 2014

Too soon this adventure will become another Pooh philosophy.

“And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn’t stop.“

Despite the difficulties, you will miss the great ice and we will miss your blogs.

Happy trails to you from Kentucky.

# Harlan, February 2nd 2014

Watch out ladies… Ben and Tarka are looking good!

# Damian Harris , February 2nd 2014

Well done on reaching your century.
Hard to believe that, if all goes well, you’ll be pretty much done by the end of the coming week.

# Leah Calo, February 2nd 2014

Excellent news Pooh! double dinner sounds fab!
Not long now for all those delicious meals you’ve been fantasizing about.
and a nice long hot bath…!!!
Man Hug - excellent, I wish more men would practice it… not only in the snow… after 100 days… daily! the world would be a better place I’m sure.
God speed guys! counting the hours…

# Bob Miller, February 2nd 2014

You’re looking far too cheerful - are you sure it’s really hard work? :-) Keep up the fantastic effort, but stay safe!

# Judy in North Carolina, February 2nd 2014

Love the smiles and the good news!

# Pete Casey, February 2nd 2014

I’m reading this blog from top of Box Hill UK via my I iPhone.
Apparently this is where you did some of your endurance training on foot and bike for the Scott Expedition.
London is bathed in a very welcoming almost springlike sunshine today and the bike riders are out in force today ascending Zig Zag Lane.
The wonders of global satellite communications & instant information still amazes me, as do yourself and Tarka, pushing the boundaries of human endurance, body and mind, to its absolute limits.
Antarctica is trying its best to suck the life force from you both, but you are beating it one hellish day at a time.
Mother Nature will not get the upper hand, oh no, not this time.

Nearly there… Godspeed

# Janet Stanley, February 2nd 2014

What a fab picture of you both . I really like the African proverb Jon G, stay safe :)

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