Distance to go:
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.
Hard Yards (Day 4)
Day 4: S77° 53' 24.1074", E167° 56' 52.8"
Duration: 7 Hr
Daily distance: 5.6 Mi
Distance to go: 1767.3 Mi
Temperature: -20 °C
Wind chill: -27 °C
Wind speed: 10 MPH
Altitude: 128 Ft
Well, it was more of the same today. Though I seem to have jinxed things by suggesting our mileage might improve, as the surface was rubbish. Hauling my sled felt like dragging an anchor through wet sand, or a plough through clay.
We're skiing at night (technically we're in New Zealand's time zone, though we're operating in UTC). Interestingly Scott also skied at night here as his ponies suffered when it was warmer and the surface was softer.
It's cold as well. The thermometer showed -21 when we got out of the tent this morning, but it seems to drop as we ski, before warming again at the end of our day. We had a headwind for much of today, which is never fun, and it meant slogging away with claustrophobic goggle-vision and a frosted-up face mask.
I feel honoured to be asked a question from the granddaughter of Tryggve Gran (the sole Norwegian on the Terra Nova expedition) - if we saw where her grandfather slept? The answer is I think so! We saw all the bunks but I'm not sure which was his.
Another question we received was about the sledge harnesses we're wearing. You should be able to see mine in the photos we're sending back today. We actually made them ourselves with the help of a friend of Tarka's who owns an industrial sewing machine! They're based on the brilliant chest and shoulder straps we found in an Osprey pack, and as Andy Ward, our expedition manager, walked from London to Istanbul wearing one of their rucksacks we thought they'd be a good starting point.So far, they've been brilliant, and they're way lighter than any harnesses we could find commercially.
If I can ask a question in return, how do you pronounce "Tryggve"? I've been wondering that since I first heard about his role on the expedition.
We were buzzed by a helicopter as we pitched our tent this evening, so we're not quite in the middle of nowhere just yet, and adapting to our 6,000 calorie-per-day rations is providing its own challenges. Tarka said his wind was so bad yesterday that he "would have called a doctor" were he at home in France.