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.

Lost at the Zoo (Day 37)

Day 37: S83° 6' 4.86", E170° 23' 3.84"

Duration: 8 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 19.7 Mi

Distance to go: 1404 Mi

Temperature: -5 °C

Wind chill: -12 °C

Altitude: 171 Ft

When I was young - six or seven I think - I managed to wander off and get lost at the zoo. I can't remember how it happened (or recall much detail from that day) and as I'm not yet a parent myself, I can only begin to imagine how petrifying it must have been for my mum, but strangely I can still vividly feel the sickening shock of looking around and realising I was utterly lost, with no idea which way to go.

The horizon today went a bit odd-looking in the afternoon and as Tarka took over the lead from me mid-session he asked what I was aiming for. "You can just about see the west side of Mount Hope," I said, pointing with my ski pole, "so I'm heading for the base of that ridge." For a split-second I surprised myself with the certainty in my voice. I sounded a bit like an airline pilot, or a surgeon. Here, in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of an eternally frozen ice shelf the size of France, facing a mountain range seen by only a handful in history, I knew where I was.

My inner seven-year-old smiled contentedly as we skied on, and I marvelled at the information we gather and the skills we learn as we all find our way in life. My mum can touch-type at lightning speed, and she can read and write shorthand, which to me might as well be an obscure jungle tribes's dialect. My dad can lay foundations and build brick walls. My stepdad can catch a trout with a fly he tied himself, and gut it quicker than I can open a tin of tuna. None of these skills have made it as far as me, but dragging heavy stuff around has become a forte, as well as navigating.

We've found the Gateway, and we'll be on the Beardmore Glacier in two days' time. I'm apprehensive about this next chapter of our journey, but it's an amazing feeling to be here.

Nigh on 20 miles (32km) again today, so we're doing alright. Onwards!


# Deacon Patrick, December 1st 2013

Stunning and brilliant when life affords us benchmark look backs of just how far we’ve come since some previous benchmark! I love your comparison with your six-year-old self’s navigation skills.

If there is one thing I’ve learned living with brain injury it’s that while the future often looks like an insurmountable wall of mountains, as I get closer there is always a way through to be found. I love following your journey. Thank you for sharing it.

May God startle you with joy!

With abandon,

# Ed, December 1st 2013

Well done on milage guys. I stay up (4am east coast, USA) every night for your updates. Glad to hear the Gateway is close enough to “taste.”

# eleanor gay, December 1st 2013

Yes, it is breath taking . So glad that you are posting.  It is 3:30 am here mid central USA.

# Justin Philips, December 1st 2013

Great going guys! I too follow your progress with eager anticipation. God bless and Godspeed

# Janet Stanley, December 1st 2013

Wonderful stuff, you write so eloquently! I really look forward to reading your blogs every day, stay safe :)

# Richard Pierce, December 1st 2013

Stunning maturity of eloquence, so few words saying so very much. Hopefully, you’ll break 20 miles tomorrow, and hopefully old Beardmore will be kind to you when you start along him.

Take care.


# ellie foreman age 9, December 1st 2013

Hi, Iam writing to you from llandudno in North wales UK..
wishing you well on your journey and safe.

# claire, December 1st 2013

You guys are so inspirational!  I’m heading off to the Peninsula over Christmas, but somehow don’t think that it will be anything like what you are experiencing.  Keep on going!!

# CaninesCashews, December 1st 2013

Hi guys,
Only 4 miles off another 100 - wow!
The Beardmore is tantalisingly close now - another chapter of this epic journey beckons!
Stay safe.

# Rosie Vidovix Unsworth, December 1st 2013

I lead a walk with the Ramblers today and I told them about you. We spent a lot of the journey making silly comparissons with our walk and your 6.5 mile stroll in the forest ‘challenge’. It was very funny…

# willie, December 1st 2013

What, only 19.7 miles, don’t you guys drink Guinness !!!!!.  I jest, what a fantastic achievement, just short of the 20, one more little haul and I would have been 2 pints of the black stuff down. Now the nagging itch, is you ski for hours on end, trying not too look at your destination, as it never seems to get any closer for the amount of toil you have just expended. It will come, restrain the sprint, maintain the plod, it will come.  I’ll pass on your comments to your dad, hoofing effort guys, Willie

# Mal Owen, December 1st 2013

Thanks for sharing the amazing feelings in words…. Looking forward to sharing a few more with you on the next stage of this amazing journey. Can anyone else see Antarctica’s Willow Man straight ahead on the ridge ?

# Richard Pierce, December 2nd 2013


Saw him now that you pointed it out. Thanks. :-)


# CaninesCashews, December 2nd 2013

I like that… made me chortle this morning.

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