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.

Full Speed Ahead (Day 32)

Day 32: S81° 44' 13.2", E169° 03' 55.86"

Duration: 8 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 16.7 Mi

Distance to go: 1499.2 Mi

Temperature: -7 °C

Wind chill: -15 °C

Altitude: 171 Ft

Headwinds again today (same same, as they say in South Africa) but sunny and with good visibility, and we had a couple of brief still hours early this afternoon where we really found our stride, ticking along at 2.5mph (4km/h), which felt like we were hurtling towards the Beardmore. As a result we clocked a record, almost 17 miles (27km) today, which we're both super-happy about, and we reckon we'll be into the thirties (when talking kilometres) before we hit the glacier.

Our burst of speed was perhaps also motivated by a brief glimpse - for an hour or so - on the hazy horizon of what we're pretty sure was Mount Hope, named by Shackleton and used by him and by Scott to find the Gateway, the ramp of snow and ice that makes the Beardmore accessible from the Ross Ice Shelf. We're still a shade under 125miles (200km) away from that point, and it's incredible to be able to see landmarks that far away. If the visibility stays good I'm excited about being able to steer directly toward it (rather than taking bearings on lumps of snow every few minutes) though it'll take us about a week to get there, so it'll also be a reminder of the scale of this journey. 

Tarka and I have been discussing an odd phenomenon that we're both experiencing, namely that some hours (and indeed days) pass incredibly quickly, whereas others drag on interminably. Morale seems to have an effect: happiness and the ability to fill hours with cheerful daydreams seems to accelerate time. Conversely, unhappiness or physical discomfort seem to slow it down. What's more, for me at least, time seems to be accelerating as the expedition goes on. During the first few cold, hard days with almost 200kg loads, the thought of doing the same thing for just another week was soul-destroying and the Pole might as well have been a million miles away, yet I'm now lying here pinching myself that we've just finished day 32. We've been sent some questions so I'll get back to those in the next few days. Thanks for tuning in.

P.S. I'm missing (among many things) freshly-baked bread and decent coffee. If you're lucky enough to put either of these in your mouth today, spare a thought for the idiot in the tent eating freeze-dried rations, energy bars, protein shakes and carbohydrate drinks for nearly four months...


# Hilary, November 26th 2013

Wow wow wow! Fantastic mileage yesterday, well done! Amazing to be able to see Mount Hope, looking forward to seeing a photo when you get nearer. Keep going, you’re both doing great!

# Matt, November 26th 2013

Brilliant fellas. Well done on a great day!!

# pfong, November 26th 2013

Glad to hear about the tremendous progress. Well done!

# Claudia, November 26th 2013

This pic is amazing! I will think of the two while having my coffee today! :)

# Chris, November 26th 2013

The stuff of dreams - you are living Scott and Shackleton’s adventures for yourselves, no wonder it feels awesome!  Very well done on the mileage, keep up the good work and keep the hammer down while the sun shines.

# Alison P, November 27th 2013

Ben and Tarka, you are Scott’s and Shackleton’s dreams and adventures for all of us armchair travelers to, and it is so terrific that we qre along for the ride with your beautifully evocative blogs.  Congrats on the new record mileage tiday, quite a feat for the feet!  You guys ever get to San Francisco, I will take you to a guy who bakes bread that people line up for hours to get it is so good.

Stay safe.

Alison P

# Perran, November 26th 2013

Another fine blog with some interesting thoughts on the apparent progression of time.

I’ve always believed that time appears to slow down when you fill it with new experiences - thus our childhoods - if we were lucky - were endless as we discovered life. They say that for those sat in chairs in old person’s homes, time seems to pass quickly as every moment is the same. Does this logic apply to your polar experience I wonder ?

I’d love to learn a little more about the blog process - what exactly is involved in the tent at the end of the day in producing the blog, selecting a photo and getting it sent back to the UK ?

# Adam, November 26th 2013

Just imagine how good will that coffee and fresh bread taste once you accomplish this incredible expedition!

Question: How and where did you and Tarka first meet?

# Richard Pierce, November 26th 2013

Cracking effort. Well done. You’ll be at the Beardmore in no time at all. Get him over and done with and you’re on the Plateau, which will be very interesting indeed. Take care. R

# Daniel, November 26th 2013

I read this blog for a long time and especially for the past 32 days when you started the journey and each day that I read a new entry, I find your journey awe striking and inspiring time after time. There isn’t a single day that I haven’t given at least few minutes of thought about what you are doing and how it is like to be there.

Reading today’s entry catches me drinking my morning coffee (a very decent one) and eating breakfast. I am enjoying it as always but I guess it’s worth giving up the joys of hundreds decent coffees and fine breakfasts to feel the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment one must be feeling when coming closer to achieving a goal as impossible as yours.

Stay safe!

# Lisa Jane Persky, November 26th 2013

Spectacular photo. I am so very impressed by your brilliant effort. Thank you for blogging about it. This also has to be one of the greatest adventures an armchair traveler could ever take. I’m grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to follow along. Really lifts my spirits to think of you journeying on in the clear light of day rather than in the difficult flat light. May the weather favor you throughout. Best wishes and many thanks for sharing!
Lisa Jane P. Hollywood, CA.

# Jon, November 26th 2013

In honour of your amazing distance yesterday, for today only I will drink only instant coffee rather than some freshly ground Yirgacheffe that have in the grinder. Also I think I’ve got a Drytech freeze-dried meal in the loft - Lamb Mulligatwany, that could be my lunch. Oh and its about 2 deg C here in Somerset today, so I could put on all my down gear and eat it sat on my wheel barrow to get full effect.

Great guns guys

# Janet Stanley, November 26th 2013

Fantastic mileage done today!  You must be so pleased…helps lifts those spirits! Keep safe as usual :)

# CaninesCashews, November 26th 2013

Hi guys,

Wowsers - what a great mileage, busted through the 300 mile mark too!!
It must be fantastic to finally feel like you are ‘hurtlin’ along.

Thought I should follow on the ‘Poloroids’ joke with something a bit different… Rebecca Solnit, the American author said in her book ‘Wanderlust: A History of Walking’ (great book by the way), “Walking…is how the body measures itself against the earth”.

You guys seem to be measuring up pretty well!

Stay safe.

# Charles, November 26th 2013

I wonder who the real idiot is.  You in your tent, or I going to work every morning, doing the same routine every day and wishing I was were you are ?
Congrads for the distance and dont give up
Cheers !

# Ephraim, November 26th 2013

Now I feel badly about the loaf due out of bread machine in 45 minutes.

Shackleton wrote in South about how the crew suffered for lack of “the farinaceous element” as they drifted on the ice. At least you’ve got a balanced diet planned out. Packing fuel and equipment for baking seems quite impractical, not to mention the problem getting anything to rise in those temperatures.

# roy foreman, November 26th 2013

Great mileage now just under 1,500 to go. with you in spirit

# David, November 26th 2013

Have been reading your comments form the start noting the highs and lows and moved by your words - remember you have a great number of folks rooting for you as you follow Scott & Shackleton - rather than a malt i’ll toast your efforts today in Edinburgh with freshly ground coffee - slainte

# Sheila England , November 26th 2013

Ah,....for a decent cup of coffee. I can only imagine, being a bit of a coffee snob myself, she sits drinking instant at the moment! Will have to make a pot of decent stuff tomorrow, in honor of you two. Cheers, and keep happy <3

# KathyF, November 26th 2013

I dedicate this morning’s excellent cup of coffee to you both, Ben and Tarka, along with a buttery croissant,too.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks of you both often during the waking hours!

Sending good day-dreamy thoughts your way!

(How exciting to see those nubbins of mountains on the horizon!)

# Than, November 26th 2013

Raising my coffee cup to you this morning, Ben and Tarka.

# McDowell Crook, November 26th 2013

I raise my coffee to you guys! Keep up the great work.

# Minna from Rovaniemi, Finland, November 26th 2013

I´ll send warm thoughts to both of you when I have my coffee up here :) There´s plenty of nice little things just waiting for you back here. Keep your spirits and daydreams bright and high there!

# Zara, November 26th 2013

You are doing great! Fantastic photo… Keep the spirits up!

# dj, November 27th 2013

Ben… Obviously you’re the one on the ground and the only one who knows where on the horizon you saw the “bump”;  but sitting here looking at Google Earth on wide screen, and following along the track you’ve been making for over a week, “the bump” (if you saw only one) is less likely the 35 hundred foot Mt. Hope and more likely one of Mt. Miller, Mt. Elizabeth or Mt. Kirkpatric 13.6, 14.6 and 14.8 thousand feet respectively.  Much more likely to be the first one over the horizon.  It will be interesting to see.

# Allison & Mark, November 27th 2013

Morning chaps. We are thoroughly enjoying reading about your every step. Your ability to ‘paint a picture’ of this amazing experience is just wonderful. Your daily blog is the first thing I read each day. Thank you.
On the home front, still mild with occasional overnight frost. Misty this morning and the sun is breaking through. The local seal colony is increasing daily and at last count there are now 1239 pups, 1309 cows and 495 bulls. That was on 23rd November.
The White Horse has now been decorated the usual festive style and Mark is muttering ‘Bah Humbug’ under his breath.
The prospect of meeting up with you again when you return home will be so exciting. Take care both of you.

# Judy Wright, December 3rd 2013

You could just call Mr Penguin “Blue”. He’s just a little chap and the Blue Penguin is after all, the smallest species in the world. Take good care of each other. Judy x

# Kevin Wright, December 3rd 2013

Hi Ben & Tarka.  How about Pulky Penguin or Little Pulky after all I’m sure he is carrying a loving thought from back home? Keep going Guys Kev

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