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.

It’s Never Easy (Day 5)

Day 5: S77° 56' 1.44", E168° 04' 20.46"

Duration: 5 Hr

Daily distance: 3.5 Mi

Distance to go: 1763.8 Mi

Temperature: -36 °C

Wind chill: -45 °C

Wind speed: 10 MPH

Altitude: 128 Ft

I think Tarka and I may well be the two grumpiest men in Antarctica right now, if not the Southern Hemisphere. Today has been really challenging. We woke up to a very cold morning indeed and just making breakfast involved swapping and fixing a faulty fuel pump in our stove, during which process we both got really cold fingers, and I managed to knock over my bag of rehydrating granola, spilling hot milk and bits of cereal all over my sleeping mat. We sleep on doubled-up Ridgerests, so I was able -on all fours- to slurp up the food from the little valleys in the mat before it froze to my bed.

Once we'd got up and taken the tent down, the conditions were the worst we've had yet. The ambient temperature wasn't far off -40 when we set off, and our fingers, toes and faces all got a battering. Tarka's toes are still painful now.

The surface was hellish, and we struggled to cover much more than a kilometre each hour, despite experimenting with shuttling the sleds - both pulling one, then returning for the second. Whatever we tried, there was no speedy way of making progress, and despite giving our all for the time we were in our harnesses, our distance today feels pitiful.

The weather went bonkers in the afternoon, with a really strong wind picking up from the south (so strong that it was hard to stand up, and that it nearly blew away a snow shovel) and we decided to call it a day early in order to check Tarka's feet, to sort out our kit and to get a decent night's sleep.

We've switched from Chilean time to UTC so we've been strangely jet-lagged since the start.

We had freeze-dried chicken dhansak for dinner, which was one of today's few redeeming factors. We'll see what tomorrow has in store for us (weather-wise at least; I can tell you it's beef stew on the menu).


# Steve, October 30th 2013

Keep plugging away. I really envy you guys. Something that i would have loved to have been able to do. The whole Great Age of Antarctic Exploration fascinates me. I will be following you both all the way to your goal

# Austin Duryea, October 31st 2013

Keep on going no matter what gets in your way. Help Tarkas toes get Warmer. Stay safe and keep inspiring me like you always do.

# George Chapman, October 30th 2013

Sorry to hear you had a very trying day. Things will get better as you get use to the daily routine I hope. Hope you keep those feet warm. So glad your having time to keep us informed as you proceed. Following your every step via Google Earth from Lakeland Florida U.S.A

# Mark Carson, October 31st 2013

How are you following the trek on Google earth?

# Scott Expedition (Chessie), October 31st 2013

Hi Mark. Here’s a link to the tracking page on the website You download the Google Earth files bottom left.

# rodney pattinson, October 30th 2013

well done press on still following

# bev jackson, October 30th 2013

Keep positive & stay as warm as you can! Have you got sails for the sledges with you?

# Tobias Mews, October 30th 2013

Chaps - you’re both as mad as a box of frogs, but I take my hat off to you! 

Remember what I taught you in my advanced masterclass in ‘pulk pulling’.  Get low, zip up your man suit, dig deep and pull! 

Oh and the answer to my joke: ‘Because he was outstanding in his field’ Get it??!!!

Very much hope you’re getting these comments!  Otherwise I’ll feel like a right plonker!

Stay strong!


# Tim L, October 30th 2013

It’s great to be able to follow your inspiring journey so closely.  Here’s hoping for an improvement in the weather for you.

# danielle murdoch, October 30th 2013

Your five days in, everything is adjusting to the crazy extreme situation you are putting your self through. Just remember what your goal is and take it one day/hour at a time. We are all here supporting you!

# Marion Yau, October 30th 2013

Stay strong Ben and Tarka!

# Roy foreman, October 30th 2013

Each day I check my mail first then the BBC/news thats all changed now I check how you guys are doing. off now to have a nice lunch at brewerys Fare Llandudno

# Rod, October 30th 2013

Come on Saunders! Up and at them!  PS weather in Cape Town a bit ropey too!

# Gunilla Lindh, October 30th 2013

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

- Keep the amazing (but slightly bonkers) work up guys. Ill buy you the best tasting beer you ever had when you get back to London :-)

# David Sweeney, October 30th 2013

I once saw Erik Weihenmayer give a talk and the part I remember most was his “Positive Pessimisms”. He explains it in the linked post below.

Here’s an excerpt:
“In the Khumbu Icefall, as Chris was halfway across his first ladder over a giant crevasse, he came out with the classic, “This ladder may be rickety…but at least it’s swingin’ in the breeze.”

# Sunny, October 30th 2013

You guys have guts, I admire you. Polar exploration has always fascinated me.
I remember my high Himalayan treks and the misery on the bad days, but at the end of it was a wonderful feeling of achievement.
Good luck from the Southern Ocean, there’s just this expanse of water that separates my ship from Antarctica.

# Lynne Bollard, October 30th 2013

You guys are amazing. I love history and am so thankful there are people like you who are brave and adventurous enough to retrace it. Will be praying for date travels as I follow you on this journey.

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