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.

# 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 :)

# Raffaele Mura, February 2nd 2014

Well guys.
Remember that you are walking,writing,and suffering for the history.
perhaps a century later…....................
Please live a virtual rose for Scott and team.
good luck

# Colin Buckley, February 2nd 2014

You both look good, you’re smiling and that’s important, it means the moral is still strong in you.
Not long now, Double dinner? Where? The sheraton? Ok I’ll book a table I’m offering…
Keep going.
God speed.

# McDowell Crook, February 2nd 2014

The Rocky Punch is now how I’m going to deal with every adverse condition I find myself in, ever.

# AlisonP, February 2nd 2014

You two amazing incredible guys look great in that photo. Despite the Antarctic monster continuing to throw all she has at you, you persevere triumphantly, hugging your way through it.  I am a huge hugger myself (from the orher side of the pond), and I always think hugs can improve and delight in just about any situation.  I wish we could see your huge man hug at the end!  Just a few days/hugs to go!

# bee, February 2nd 2014

Hoping the surface improves for your last few days.
Keep hugging, stay safe and well.

# Nick, February 2nd 2014

Wait a minute people.  For anyone to travel 1800 for a ‘free’ ride in a LandRover, surely all 1800 miles needs to be done.

4 days to go.

Thing is people.  Christmas is once a year.  You can’t have Christmas Day 4 days early unless you’re a millionaire and live in somewhere like Hyde Park London or more exclusive like Holland Park London in a plush house with a nice staircase. Or better than that, Kensington Palace Gardens where ‘fine manufacturers’ live.

If you like in a £68,000,000 Hyde Park apartment with glass windows and central heating on every day throughout the winter…then winter would never come, would it not?

The cold that is.

So for the majority of ordinary ‘the people’ of Society, Christmas does come once per every year.

So 4 days to go on the calendar is strictly 4 days.  Let’s be as honest as a person working in Whitehall.  But this isn’t Whitehall, it’s White snow & ice. Yes.

And when that final meter of 1800 miles is done?

One would expect a ride in a LandRover.  At least on the last 25 miles (a marathon, to these people who do things in 1 day) least on the last 25 miles, you could pretty much walk into the record books and a rewritten history of what has been known all along as…

‘The Scott Expedition’.

# Minna, Finland, February 2nd 2014

Tired but happy, it´s good to see you smiling Ben and Tarka! Antarctica is getting tired too, it can´t beat you guys,  although it´s still trying. Smile to the Antarctica too when you ski your way to your home. I wish bright days to both of you from Rovaniemi, Finland!

# Štěpán Hnyk, February 2nd 2014

Your endurance,both physical and mental, is utterly unbelievable. Every mile you pull is an impressive milestone by itself. Good luck fighting the beast of Antarctica for just a few more days!

# Sheila, February 2nd 2014

You look wonderful!
(I’ll miss these posts, but will forward to the Ted Talk !)
The Henry V speech someone posted earlier is very appropriate.
Getting closer guys…..

# Nora Wolfe, February 2nd 2014

I have not missed a single blog but soon will be missing you both. Thank goodness I will be able to see and hear the TED talk. Since you have the email address of all your commenters, I hope we get notified about up coming things like books, articles, talks, other comings and goings. I feel so gifted for being able to follow you here.

# Nick Webb, February 2nd 2014

Truly inspirational - you guys need to get on Jonathan Ross to inspire others….....

Interestingly, what do you have planned for your first couple of days in civilisation?

# dj, February 2nd 2014

How about an explanation for the ragged way the Pilot GPS system is treating the map the past few days.  Sporadically misses trackpoints, shuts off at critical times along the trail, shuts off early, comes on late.  Some of that is probably either Ben and Tarka or the “team’s” intervention, but is the poor old thing finally giving up the ghost?  Has the weather gotten to it? or the terrain?  [Does your arrangement with the “Pilot company” permit you to give an explanation?]  So far it missed all the transmissions during the night (probably shut off) until one at an odd time (12:03 am) then shut off again all the way past former camp 18, was on for what looks like 7 transmissions (past camp #17) and now as they should be passing/visiting camp #16 it shuts off again?  Can anything be done to at least show where they camp?  Even if we’re not going to be able to follow the final legs of their journey?

# dj, February 2nd 2014

The times I reference are MST - GMT would be +7.  It’s now shut off to miss the 7 pm GMT transmission as they SHOULD be at or passing former camp #17.  Was there anything at that former camp that they needed to rearrange the sledge for and accidentally “bump” the wiring or something?

# dj, February 2nd 2014

Sorry, camp #16.

# Andy, February 2nd 2014

Hi DJ,

It has nothing to do with the Iridium Pilot - this is simply used to send back images, video and the daily blog post and there have never been any problems with this.

The hourly tracking positions come from the NAL Shout Nano tracking beacon which Ben and Tarka have been carrying for the entire journey. The occasional hourly point has been dropped over the course of the 101 days Ben and Tarka have been in Antarctica. This could be due to several reasons - for example the beacon not picking up enough satellites to get a fix or the internal battery in the unit dying if it gets too cold. The only outside reason that a position would not be sent (for example last night) would be that Ben and Tarka have switched it off over night to recharge the battery fully following my instruction. I would instruct them to do this if I had noticed a couple of hourly positions over a day have not been received (again yesterday would be an example). This is ensure that you are able to follow the journey in as real time as possible.

Ben and Tarka’s nightly camp positions are shown every day on the Scott Expedition Google Earth file regardless of positions on the tracker being dropped and we have always made sure their camp positions are documented on each blog post.

I will obviously inform Ben and Tarka that some positions have been dropped today on my daily call with them once they have set up camp tonight. They will make sure the battery is full but beyond that there is nothing they can do to ensure an hourly position is sent back and we have to assume the tracker is slowly giving up the ghost. At least its only needs to survive four more days :-)

# dj, February 3rd 2014

Thanks Andy… So, I assume that the Nano has its own transmitter relayed (I assume) through satellites; and that the trouble you had with it near the pole - which was resolved by going back to the Pilot - had to do with “recharging” (or something) and NOT going through a “stronger” transmitter?  [Sure wish I knew specifically how you were accomplishing routing the GPS signal and track from it back through your server and out to the .kml file so I could discuss with intelligence instead of a bunch of guesses - it’s embarrassing.]

# dj, February 3rd 2014

Andy… I assume that because their GPS tracker wasn’t turned off after you spoke with them, they knew the problem wasn’t due to a low battery issue (perhaps just being turned off) - it looks like it transmitted the complete coverage during the night AND (more importantly to me) no “blackouts” during today.

# Dave, February 2nd 2014

Thank you for allowing us to be “on board” with you all this time.  These last miles will no doubt be challenging for you and your positive attitudes are providing a boost at a propitious moment.  Enjoy the eats and watch out for heffalumps.

There will soon be time for much reflecting.  One thing I will be curious to learn is whether your physical, mental, or supply preparations played the biggest role in your success.

Continued safety and progress.

# TEells, February 2nd 2014

Your camaraderie and commitment to each other is exemplary! Hopefully Mother Nature celebrates with you as you click off the last couple of days I showing you things you haven’t yet seen.

My favorite example would be Mount Erebus celebrating your arrival with a steam display suitable for postcards and screensaver.

Or how about a small group of penguins running towards you inspect and satisfy their curiosity? I remember adelies doing that.

Perhaps you’ll get to see a leopard seal. When you see skuas you know you’re getting close!!

Our prayers and blessings go out to you as you celebrate these last few days of your incredible journey and historical accomplishment!

TEells in California

# Mal Owen, February 2nd 2014

Quote from Pooh   “People say nothing’s impossible…but I do nothing every day !”

# Andy Ward, February 3rd 2014

Please note that the distance to go has been updated for the exact distance to Scott Base on Ross Island where Ben and Tarka will finish the expedition. Ben and Tarka will blog about the finishing point in a few days.

# Intrepid, February 3rd 2014

Oh! And here I got to thinking I had looked at the mileage and then arbitrarily plugged some numbers into the song, and that doing so in the middle of the night was the reason nothing was matching with the stats.  I just had a very interesting little peek at how willing I am to acknowledge being wrong. Very good then .... Onward ho!!

# dj, February 3rd 2014

Thanks for this too Andy… I’ve noticed that the numbers didn’t quite add up for some time but figured they had some other End Point than the Scott Hut in mind.  At their current rate, which would be hard to visualize they could surpass, it seems like it would take more than the “4 days” that Ben seems to hope for.

# Darcy, February 3rd 2014

It’s Superbowl Sunday here in the US, and instead of watching it, I’m checking in with you guys again—because it’s waaaay more interesting! I’m so excited for your expedition to be in its final days and am thankful you both seem in better spirits. Be safe and ski on!

# Dave, February 3rd 2014

Ben and Tarka are a much better “game” than the one just played in East Rutherford.

# Helen Haile, February 3rd 2014

Ben - I have been with you and Tarka every inch of the way on your epic journey as I know how many hurdles there have been along the way to even start this expedition after all these years. Your blogs have been amazing so we have all been on the rollercoaster with you.  So glad Tony has been able help to lighten the atmosphere sometimes with his awful riddles but I am sure a part of him would still have loved to have been sharing the experience with you.  I feel so privileged to have known you and I look forward to seeing you again at one of the many talks you will be giving soon!  Fingers crossed for the next few days till you achieve your goal.  Tony’s mum.

# Feb 14th, February 3rd 2014

If only man could survive a world full of ATOS.  As frozen as the Ocean beneath the Ice.

For everything else there is LOVE.

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