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.

Looking Up (Day 11)

Day 11: S78° 31' 57.9", E168° 28' 24.72"

Duration: 7 Hr

Daily distance: 10.2 Mi

Distance to go: 1721 Mi

Temperature: -26 °C

Wind chill: -30 °C

Altitude: 289 Ft

We cranked out 16.4km (10.2miles) today, which we're pretty happy with, and I can tell you that dragging two-and-a-half times your body weight for seven hours is a bit of a workout.

Apologies if we're mixing metric and imperial units on the site - our expedition manager, Andy Ward, is still stuck on the opposite side of Antarctica at Union Glacier, waiting for a flight home, and once he's online back in Chile it'll all be straightened out. Ditto our film maker, Tem, who's also waiting for the same weather window to fly back to civilisation. Once he's back in the land of broadband and wifi he'll be able to edit and upload some of the HD video we've sent back from the tent.

It felt colder than the numbers suggested (-26C ambient, -30C windchill) though thankfully the wind stayed at our backs all day.

The surface today was quite different: hard and wind-scoured, with a lot of sastrugi - wind-blown ridges in the snow - for the latter two thirds of the day. I actually quite enjoyed navigating through these, which reminded me of trying to find the best course over pack ice on the Arctic Ocean.

We spotted something odd-looking on our bearing this morning, alone on the Ice Shelf not far from Minna Bluff. I thought it was a flag at first, or a very lost penguin, but it turned out to be an automatic weather station belonging to the University of Wisconsin. They'll be pleased to hear it was whirring busily away in the wind. More of the same tomorrow, and I promise I'll get back answering questions again...


# Genni, November 5th 2013

Hi there - Could you tell us how you are deciding what you leave in your depots and how you are calculating how many days food etc you leave and where . Also - really interested to know who takes responsibility for your caches within Antarctica.Thanks guys . Look forward to hearing from you.!

# dj, November 5th 2013

According to my calculations Ben and Tarka have now gone over the requisite “about 60 km” they mentioned in their post on Day 6 as the place they would leave their second cache.  Perhaps they left it already (without mentioning it) and is why they made such good time during Day 11.  Although that seems like it would be such a welcome event it would be hard to believe they would forget mentioning it. (Last nights camp was about 70 km from Day 6’s camp.)

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi Genni, there have been a couple of questions about the depots. There’ll be a blog with a bit more info about them in the next few weeks.

# Donald, November 5th 2013

Hi Chessie ( on behalf of Scott Expedition)  - Ben has mentioned the depots in detail on his initial blogs - On day 6 he mentioned he was dropping his first depot ( apart from the one he has left at the start point) in 40 k which he has now passed that point I think…Please clarify - did he drop a depot already - and what was the weight he managed to offload…..interesting to know where and how many he is dropping - and Genni’s point about who is responsible for them is of great interest to me.

# danielle murdoch, November 5th 2013

Fantastic news guys! I hope the good weather keeps up for awhile!

# George Chapman, November 5th 2013

Have enjoyed getting all your post and photos. Glad to see your doing well. Keep your chins up and press on for the goal.
Following you on FB and Google Earth from sunny Central Florida U.S.A. Todays temperature 66ºF at 4:23 AM.

# Nico, November 5th 2013

Brilliant! Keep on sliding :)

Do you have an ‘emergency’ music player? And if yes, what kind of music do you have on it?

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi Nico, both Ben and Tarka have a small player with a variety of music depending on their mood.

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 6th 2013

Hi Nico, just a quick update - Ben listens mainly to electronic music when skiing; Tarka to audiobooks. There’s a bit more info in Day 12’s post

# CaninesCashews, November 5th 2013

Hi guys,
Glad that you’ve been able to pile on the miles.
Look forward to seeing the video when Tem and Andy manage to break free from the Antarctic grip.
Heres hoping the wind stays on your backs.

# dj, November 5th 2013

Another note: The weather “station” they came across while traveling, in fact all stations they are likely to see on their journey, can be found located here on the Scott Expedition Google Earth Resource File. The ‘weather underground’ received and displayed live data from it until it stopped reporting. It is known as station “Linda” and there are two conflicting coordinates given - fairly immaterial now as they are both shown slightly off to the ‘right’ (in their direction of travel) in the “day 11” travels.

Currently there doesn’t seem to be any publicly available live data coming from the station, the live link to the actual station operated by the weather underground states they are only reporting extrapolated data from other stations in the area.

# Kristoffer, November 5th 2013

dj, based on the email notification I got about your comment, I don’t think the comment system supports HTML.

# dj, November 5th 2013

#Kristoffer Ah, yes didn’t notice that the italics didn’t work before. I’ve done it a couple times but won’t bother anymore.

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Hi Dj, yep, as Kristoffer say, a quick note to confirm that we’ve kept it simple and the comments don’t support html.

# Anthony Goddard, November 6th 2013

Yep, the Linda AWS station is presently offline (in spite of the whirring!). It will hopefully be back online later this year.

# Stephen Bryant , November 5th 2013

Hats off to you boys its very interesting seeing and reading about your progress keep up the good work :-)

# rodney pattinson, November 5th 2013

well done great photo.

# Janet Stanley, November 5th 2013

That is fab! Glad things are going well, stay safe :)

# Richard Pierce, November 5th 2013

Fasinating blog, and I really hope you make the whole trip Terra Nova-South Pole-Terra Nova. It would be a great achievement.

As I did a lot of research (including time spent on the Ice) when writing my novel about Scott and Amundsen (, I thought I’d answer some questions that have cropped up on the blog:

a) You will have seen Tryggve Gran’s bunk when you were in the Terra Nova Hut. It’s at the far end on the right-hand side, and on it is scrawled, in red paint “Two years good friend. TG"which Tryggve painted on there the day that they left the hut to travel back.

b) Alex Hibbert’s point about night-travelling and bodies taking time to get used to the rhythm of sledging is very well made, and, conditions permitting, I think you’ll be covering well over 10 miles a day every day soon.

c) Amundsen’s flag is under the ice, but nowhere near the South Pol. A Norwegian expedition tried to find it some years ago, and unfortunately one of them was killed in the attempt.

d) Related to c - ice flow on the Ross Ice Shelf is not entirely predictable, but most science agrees that the ice moves northwards from the Pole at about 800 metres a year (although climate change ond other factors like cross-drift complicate any calculations people may or may no want to make). These factors will have impacted the site of Amundsen’s flag, as well as the burial sites of Scott, Wilson and Bowers.

e) Related to c and d - Flag and burial site will have been covered at what some reckon to be a rate of 30 cm of snow per year. Add to this the fact that the weight of snow will compress whatever is under it, and conservative reckoning would be that anything will by now be buried under 30 metres of snow and ice (more likely ice the deeper you go).

Keep up the good work - I’ll be following this blog with great interest. And, most importantly, take care.


# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 5th 2013

Thanks for clarifying re. the flag Richard!

# Richard Pierce, November 5th 2013


Glad to be able to offer some additional info.

Really excited about this expedition and gennuinely hope the boys make the round trip without accident or support.

Envy doesn’t even describe it, nor does fear.


# Christy Contreras, November 5th 2013

Hi Ben, it’s me again, 2005 expedition….Glad to see you are doing this again. Be safe my friend, I know last time we lost a few explorers.  I think they need about 10,000 calories a day each so that determines how much food is leftin each spot.  Dont forget to get another great “sundog”, also WOW has technology improved since last trek.

# Kristoffer, November 5th 2013


The about 10,000 calories per day figure is misleading, as that is the potential calorie consumption only when ascending the Beardmore glacier, due to increased effort and acclimating to altitude.  Under man hauling across a level surface, their 6,000 calorie rations will most likely be enough.

# Mal Owen, November 5th 2013

As each day goes on and I log in to your blog, I become more interested in everything ‘Scott’. Have just spent an hour+ on YouTube when I should’ve been doing the housework ! What a journey you have encouraged me to make with you. I too love those magical moments and wish many more for you both.

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