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.
A slightly rushed update as we’re aiming to hit the road early today and make the most of a bit of sunshine and visibility after three days of fairly nasty weather.
Yesterday was pretty testing. We set off into a headwind and found ourselves making painfully slow progress over -and sometimes through- a fresh, thick layer of snow. I came close to having a sense of humour failure at some point in our tenth hour of hauling through the fog, cursing my way into the whirling, eddying spindrift that was being spat at us like cold sand.
The Arctic, though, has a peculiar way of offering little fragments of pure beauty and absolute joy, usually just when things are starting to seem utterly hopeless, worthless and pointless, and in yesterday’s case it was a brief view of the nearby Watkins mountains, pink, orange, yellow and cream in the setting sun, racing clouds hugging and skirting their jagged peaks.
Our Twin Otter ski plane is due -weather permitting- to pick us up on Tuesday morning, at the basecamp for Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic. Some simple, lizard-brained part of me is already longing for civilization (a chair to sit on, cups of tea, knives and forks, a sit-down loo) but we still have a few more days of misery and beauty to go. I’d better put my boots on…