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.

Into the Mist (Day 92)

Day 92: S81° 57' 56.34", E169° 13' 30.60"

Duration: 9 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 24.2 Mi

Distance to go: 320 Mi

Temperature: -4 °C

Wind chill: -7 °C

Altitude: 72 Ft

Not a great deal to report from this end of the planet: another day slogging into a full-blown, zero-visibility whiteout, trying our best to stave off hunger, drowsiness so bad that we both staggered like drunks at times, and perhaps imminent mental breakdown from staring at an infinite foggy white blankness for nearly ten hours (and in my case with drum and bass being transmitted at point-blank range into my eardrums for most of that period).

It was pretty grim, and Tarka and I both vented our frustration by coming up with choice replies to the many well-meaning messages we've had reminding us to "Look up at the horizon" and "Don't forget to enjoy it!" As you can see, looking back behind us yielded better views, in this case of Tarka following my tracks with the mountains behind him. And speaking of views, my self-portrait yesterday triggered a flood of not-so-flattering messages to our satphone, so I dread to think what the comments were like.

This limerick from Tony deserves a wider audience: "The South Pole put Ben through the ringer, And thousands on his website would linger, But despite all the press, The fans think of him less, Ever since they saw he's a ginger."*

When I re-read Scott's diaries out here I always have a horrible feeling that we're perhaps in some way disrespecting the poignant and desperate nature of his last few days on the Ice Shelf by sharing things like this, but the more I read of the Terra Nova expedition (and see of it, in Ponting's incredible film The Great White Silence), the more I'm convinced that humour is a universal and timeless panacea that has helped many people through many dark hours out here in this ever-frozen corner of the world.

Tarka's and my plight may be nowhere near as desperate as Scott's, but I still lack the words to explain the physical and mental depths that we plumb each day, the leaden feeling in my body that I wake up with each morning and my surprise, looking down at my skin-and-bone legs, that I can still generate any motive power at all. This is proving a heck of a camping trip.

*N.B. it's just my giant beard that's ginger. Once upon a time when I used to have hair on the top of my head it was blonde.


# Janet Stanley, January 25th 2014

So in awe of you both, you are in no way disrespecting Scott, you are showing how incredibly hard this journey is, in doing this you are not diminishing his story but praising it ( for lack of a better word) please stay safe :)

# Mal Owen, January 25th 2014

Well, we do keep asking for a piccie of Tarka ... I suppose we must be satisfied ! Joking apart, that is a wondersome view….you’ve been there!
James Martin just chopping ginger on Saturday Kitchen brought my thoughts back to you so I’ll delay no longer and add my daily post right now.
Another awesome mileage and you’ll be into the 200’s by the end of the day.
PS I suggest you don’t look too often at those legs :-)

# Ariane, January 25th 2014

Since we’re doing poems this morning, here’s my haiku prayer for today for your reading pleasure:

Minus eleven
I am moving apartments
God grant me Ben’s strength.

# Richard Pierce, January 25th 2014

Excellent. :-) R

# CaninesCashews, January 25th 2014


# Mal Owen, January 25th 2014

Brfilliant !  Given me more than just a chuckle :-)

# Anthea, January 25th 2014

So beardcam has shown Ben to be a ginger but it seems he has good music taste… Loving a bit of Hospital Records for some dirty base.
Physio today was a bugger but the vile boring (trying to walk on) treadmill experience was broken by checking on your progress and relishing that at least I’m not in the Antarctic constantly lolloping in grey. Happiness in others’ trials isn’t nice but it’s working.
Huck on chaps it’s nearly home time .

# Rachel Barenblat, January 25th 2014

Surely Scott and Shackleton and the greats of their generation kept themselves emotionally afloat with humor too; they just didn’t necessarily chronicle that in their diaries. I hope you and Tarka and your sponsors have considered turning your blog posts and photographs into a printed book when your journey is done; I’d love to reread in that form and to have your chronicle on my shelf alongside theirs.

Reading about the difficulties of your journey—the hunger and exhaustion—makes me respect both you, and the early explorers, even more. When I think of what they endured without the nutritional knowledge and warm clothing you and Tarka have access to, I’m utterly amazed… and when I think of what you and Tarka are putting yourselves through, and how generously you’re sharing the story with all of us, I’m amazed again.

# Ted, January 25th 2014

Ben and Tarka,

You both inspire me every day. I wake up each morning and relish the thought of reading your daily posts and finding out what you’ve had to overcome each day - it makes my daily challenges trivial in comparison!

I absolutely think you are honoring Scott and his team in the best possible way - I for one as a result of reading your story have been devouring every book I can get my hands on about the Antarctic and The Terra Nova expedition so through you Scott and his expedition live on on their memories extend yet another generation.

Keep working hard.  Keep up the banter between the two of you and whenever you can smile and laugh and make the other laugh!


# Sharyle, January 25th 2014

Loved the limerick!  You two are amazing.  In spite of the tremendously difficult slog you’re on, you still have your sense of humour.  Your endurance is incredible!

# Chris, January 25th 2014

Your sense of humour far greater than mine.
A car shattered my left ankle on 21.12 - my Bar Humbug has been following you across the white wastes of the southern ice.

Has the wind / scour ice / crystal ice deformed your out going tracks in the few days that you have left them? 
I was on a trip in Iceland in the early 1980’s and the tracks were lost inside 7 days, due to surface melt (mainly) and the scouring effect of different ice types.

Keep up with the daily mileages - the next depot beckons.

What are you most looking forward to on arrival at SBH?

Mine was a tin of strawberries - a ridiculous fantasy!

What effect do you think that the endeavour will have done on your BMI?

Everyone following you, wishing you well


# Raven, January 25th 2014

Well, that’s one thing Scott and his men didn’t have to worry about - looking good in their selfies. I thought you looked pretty darn good, though. Let’s see one of Tarka too :)

# Mal Owen, January 25th 2014

Haha…. Just read that as ‘onesies’

# Bob Miller, January 25th 2014

Don’t forget to tell them to put the deep freeze on for when you get home, or you’ll never be able to get to sleep! Keep going - not too long ‘til that giant burger…

# Diane Griffith, January 25th 2014

I loved your selfie, Ben and more power to the gingers of the world!  Today, though, I’m so glad you mentioned Herbert Ponting’s ‘The Great White Silence.’  I recently purchased and viewed both the original version as presented by Ponting in 1924 as well as BFI’s brilliantly restored and remastered version with an incredible soundtrack by Simon Fisher Turner (both versions available on the same disk).  Definitely one of the most amazing pieces of film work in history, and sadly not much appreciated in its time.  Highly recommend to all of you fellow Antarctica addicts out there.  You can find it at Amazon: .

# Mal Owen, January 25th 2014

Ben and Tarka have inspired me …. never written anything in my life but have just spent a whole Saturday afternoon having fun :-)

The teacher wouldn’t tick
‘cos I haven’t got the trick
However take your pick
Of Haiku or limerick

I’m afraid grammar, rhyme, rhythm and metre are all suspect!


memory capture
imagination backwards
humour spurs onwards


There’s a polar explorer named Ben
Who in tent always picks up his pen
He follows his dream
Almost there it does seem
He inspires us again and again

I’m blogging with Tarka and Ben
Who are bold and adventurous men
While I listen to thunder     (and truthfully I am!  UK at 14.15)
My thoughts they do wonder
If old Beardmore they’ll traverse again

Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere
Whose journey is looking quite linear
Hallucinate over food
Boiled, fried, poached or stewed
Will return from Antarctica skinnier

# Phil Satoor, January 25th 2014

After posting my own post I saw your limericks above it.  Your Saturday afternoon was well spent!

# Phil Satoor, January 25th 2014

You said you appreciate humorous posts so I hope this one helps you on your way:-
A deceased doctor is buried next to one of his patients.  One day he hears a knock on the side of the coffin.  “Excuse me doctor, but do you have anything for worms?”

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