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.


# Rich & Ione , January 25th 2014

Ask Andy to send you yesterday’s comments on having a rest day for you to read and consider.

Also need a selfie of Tarka for the comparative caption competition

# Oliver, January 26th 2014

A set time limit when the camp at Union glacier closes. Unless pay lots of money to keep the camp open. Like the re supply.

# Duncan, January 25th 2014

Ha! Be ginger and proud. Keep on tuckin’. What you are doing is amazing and really helps the rest of us keep on pushing in our own ways day by day. Hope your hospital records collection is still fresh!

# Helena, January 25th 2014

How many days still before you? It is less and less. Yes, the best way how to survive is not to loose a sense of humor! :-)
Keep safe, make some rest, still with you and praying for you.
“The dog you sold us, is not worth anything!”
“How is that possible?”
“Last night was barking so loudly that we did not heard a thief in the kitchen!”

# Intrepid, January 25th 2014

About to board another plane, heading back up to 39000 feet. Read today’s post. Saying hello. Wish the fog would go away so you could see the moon, it’s a glorious half.  Chiming in to say it would be nice if we could have a Tarka selfie sometime… soon.  Keep on, keeping on!!

Here’s a clever joke created by my nephew when he was 6. Why did the man say, no, no, no, no? Because he knowed himself.

# David, January 25th 2014

The two of you alone understand how a return journey from the pole causes such physical and mental stress. We your blogg support are still following your efforts day by day. Perhaps a rest day with lots of food at your next depot ?
Take great care - stay safe
God speed home

# Wayne, January 25th 2014

My daily chuckle :)

# MJB, January 25th 2014

I continue to be in awe of your mental toughness and depth of your character as you stare deeply into the eyes of suffering.  Peace be to you and Tarka’s spirit.

# Steve Hughes, January 25th 2014

Cracking photo Ben (of tarka following your tracks….not your selfie) You pair are an inspiration. Keep strong.

# Supernounou, January 25th 2014

Hi Tarka and Ben,
I’ve been following your every step and all of your incredible blogs and would like to say to you Tarka, that I feel ‘Macgyver’  and ‘He man’ would both be very proud of you both and could probably learn a couple of things from you. Especially Macgyver,as your idea for drilling holes in your toothbrush to make it lighter is excellent!
Keep safe, much love xx

# Alison Lowndes, January 25th 2014

I just moved house and finished my 5th and last mock exam for my degree course. My eyesight is blurry and every inch of me aches from carrying boxes and being so physically and mentally active. That’s my life right now. Your life is exponentially more difficult if you compare it to mine, and Scott’s to yours but don’t ever belittle what you’re doing just because you live in a world with more knowledge more gadgets more comfort and more tech than Scott’s. Society has better ways to battle cancer now too but my Mother still died way before her time. I have to continue laughing and smiling, knowing that.

Be you. Finish this epic journey as You. Not Scott. Your selfie was brilliant and also vital for all us armchair-explorers who would never have the drive or courage to do what you and Tarka are doing. Honestly I think we need more selfies!

# Helena, January 25th 2014

yes, exactly :-)

# catherine, January 25th 2014

Agree with you, and the fight with cancer is a daily battle for so many. Ben and Tarka it made me smile to think of you both venting over our well meaning comments…I do hope they are sending you the ones echoing how many of us think you should take a rest day…  although I can just imagine you feeling that if you stop you won’t be able to start again…

# CaninesCashews, January 25th 2014

Hi guys,

What a great photo, but I agree – be nice to see Tarka for a beard comparison!

Its amazing that you are a good days march away from being in those two hundreds on the little mileage counter – seems unbelievable really. I know that it is very probably not the case with you guys on the ice, but these last few hundred miles seems to be flying by for so fast for us armchair or office blog followers.

I am going to need to start planning how to wean myself from daily Google Earth checking, Twitter and Facebook notifications and Firefox blog alerts!

With the laughter thing, I have always considered laughter as the valve on the pressure cooker that is my life, so what better place to employ it than on this extraordinary expedition. I’m pretty sure you have lots of steam to let off, in my experience its only laughter and swearing that will cut it, and I feel certain that it was the same in Scott’s day – remember not everything goes in a diary.

See you in the two hundreds.

Stay safe

# Ione & Rich, January 25th 2014

Beards have their uses:
A (bilingual) explorer said,‘Merde,
Just look what I found in my beard,
Two eggs and some steak
And some Kendal Mint Cake,
Mon Vieux, we’ll not starve as I feared!

# DaveT, January 25th 2014

Well done B&T! Your difficulties are giving us real insight into the deprivations Scott must have suffered on his last journey. It now seems almost incredible that he did as well as he did, and were it not for the atrocious weather that hit them as they approached ‘One Ton’ things might have been very different. Make sure you monitor your own energy levels carefully, and take additional rest and victuals as needed to maintain the momentum over the homeward stretch.

# Richard Pierce, January 25th 2014

Being my usual weekend late, I have loved the comments that precede mine today, partly for their concern for B&T, and mostly for their levity, creativeness and humour.

I can see now, somehow more so than yesterday, how driven you are, Ben and Tarka, to complete your quest on your terms and within the bounds of necessity, not easy romanticism. And by doing that you are so far away from disrespecting the nature of Scott’s own quest and plight (along with that of Wilson and Bowers, Oates and Evans); in fact you are honouring them and all those who have explored the Antarctic. This is why I am willing you on to complete your journey; this is why everyone here is willing you on.


Day from night born above.
Clouds blossom from the horizon
On the cusp of dark and light.
We retrace our paths.

The moment has stretched into
Nothing, no more than memory
What we touched and saw and felt.
It falls away beneath us.

We move backwards in time,
Away from the dateline, back
To yesterday, back to where we
Came from, what we were.

Yet the ink does not fade, what
Is written remains, what we did
Cannot be changed, although
We are northwards bound again.

Nothing can undo the century
We have lived, nor the tragedies
Recalled through our travels.
We can never be the same.


# Andrea, January 26th 2014

I.e. “The moment has stretched into
“Nothing can undo the century
We have lived, nor the tragedies
Recalled through our travels.
We can never be the same. “

# Uncle Pete, January 25th 2014

Great mileage again chaps but I do see your track weaving left and right (offroading blog overlays). We can only assume you have a good reason for this as it makes a longer path than straight-lining! No doubt your backup team, who are hopefully monitoring comments and passing on the gist of this terrific worldwide support, will check this with you! It must be very difficult to keep on a compass bearing in such conditions - no horizon features nor viz. At least you seem to have been able to accurately home in on your old camps/stashes so far with GPS. I don’t suppose you took airline eye masks with you - really good for ensuring sleep in ‘light’ conditions and more comfy than gaiters! God speed and keep your wits about you (and sense of humour). Pete

# 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?”

# M . M, January 25th 2014

Hi Guys,
We are learning about you in our class room
You have inspired us by you bravery (Thank you).
We appreciate your hard work and hope you guys Keep
up the hard work,
Meanwhile we are tracking your journey every day so far
and we enjoy hearing your blogs
By     M . M

# James , January 25th 2014

Desperately willing you on! One moment at a time, you’re both doing amazingly.
May the ginger beard give you the strength you need to finish this!

# Intrepid, January 25th 2014

Forest of blank white
Slogging all day into night
Tests the will and heart

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. Holmes said: “Watson, look up and tell me what you see”.
Watson said: “I see a fantastic panorama of countless stars”.
Holmes: “And what does that tell you?”
Watson pondered for a moment: “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”
“Why? – What does it tell you, Holmes?”
Holmes was silent for a moment then spoke: “Someone has stolen our tent.”



# Mal Owen, January 26th 2014

flying ever west
haiku renders brain torpid
sleep my bed prevails

# Intrepid, January 26th 2014

I’m still flying! All day west, west, west.  The word torpid popped into my head while I was composing the haiku above.  It’s been pressing against me, nudging me to look some more. And here’s where it’s led me to ... wondering about the routine you are in and that there isn’t enough variety. Ben, you even mentioned in a recent post the surprise in finding yourself thinking about working out when you got back home… because you can feel how certain groups of muscles aren’t getting used. Is there anything you guys can do (calling upon expedition experts/consultants for advice) that engages you in a new way, to pull you up out of the “perhaps imminent mental breakdown” with a new pair of bootstraps?  Some kind of action or change-up that refuels your boosters? Creativity, mental stimulation, humor…. maybe you can download some Bill Cosby or other comedian; create snow angels for play (someone once asked for a picture of this); listen to a story that really grabs you, maybe lets you drop into a visual picture of somewhere else. I have no idea if anything would make a difference for what you guys go through every day.  Is there?

# Intrepid, January 26th 2014

Is there anything that would improve your condition?

# Intrepid, January 26th 2014

Oy vey… concern has its way of seeping through the cracks. My sincere apologies for thinking your journey could be easier!

I now need to search for a more fitting word to express how above and beyond incredible you guys are for holding steadfast and persevering on and on and on and on.


# Ty McClelland, January 26th 2014

Beautiful view. It looks as tough as your mind and body, but just as beautiful.

About the selfie; if it looks like an explorer, it must be an explorer!!

# Heidi, January 26th 2014

It’s 11:38 PM PST here in California.  I’ll be waking up in a few hours to check my iPad for an update, to make sure you both are safe and well.  In our family we remember you throughout every day, and I tell everyone I meet about you and the expedition.  One ski in front of the other.  You have accomplished so much.  Warmest hugs.  PS, I hope the “Sweety” has served you well!  :-)  (Sánchez y Sánchez - which eerily resembles Walmart)

# Paul Bower (Downe Arms hotel), January 26th 2014

Hi Ben & Tarka, just looked at the position on the Tracking page, wow you are really getting close to the finish, steady as you go - fantastic!

# Andrea, January 26th 2014

From where he came ?

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