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.

Making Hay While the Wind Blows (Day 67)

Day 67: S88° 38' 49.92", E158° 35' 1.32"

Duration: 10 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 23 Mi

Distance to go: 804.9 Mi

Temperature: -24 °C

Wind chill: -35 °C

Altitude: 10138 Ft

Today didn't have an auspicious start: it was cold in the night and we woke up to a dull light in the tent, which turned out to be an almost complete whiteout outside. It was my turn to have a bit of a sense of humour failure today, as my hands got painfully and worryingly cold as we took the tent down and didn't really warm up properly all morning. The clouds parted after a few hours and the wind died, lulling me into stripping down to just a thermal baselayer and my windproof Mountain Equipment jacket, which was fine until the temperature plummeted an hour later and the wind suddenly revved up.

My only choice was to remove the windproof jacket to add more layers, but this involved a) taking off my big warm mitts and freezing my hands again, and b) stripping down to my underwear -on my top half at least- in windchill well into the minus forties. I gritted my teeth and got changed, but my hands were near-useless as I tried to zip everything up and put my mitts back on again, and Tarka had to come to the rescue. I windmilled my arms furiously, forcing blood painfully back into my fingers but my core temperature wasn't really warm enough to sort everything out so I had to ski flat-out for a few minutes before repeating the arm windmill process again.

I'm happy to report this evening that all digits are still intact, and that the day improved once I'd finally warmed up; the wind was behind us and gave us a welcome shove north, and the surface got better all day, presumably due to the low temperatures. My mood did a complete one-eighty in the afternoon as well, going from hating this place and the self-inflicted pain I was going through to feeling so good that we skied long into the night, stopping to pitch the tent at 9.20pm. It is, therefore, another late night here in the tent, so I'll sign off by wishing you all a very happy new year. At this rate I suspect we'll sleep through it here.

P.S. GPS back up and running but we're still having issues with the tracker, but a solution seems to be in sight. Watch this space... 


# Stéphanie, December 31st 2013

Glad all fingers are still intact so that you can still write your blog ;)

# Allison & Mark, December 31st 2013

Happy New Year to you both (when you wake up that is) we wish you well with health and safety at the top of our wish list. Our weather here is unusually mild with breezes that fluctuate on a daily basis.
We shall raise a glass of bubbly and toast to your success.
Best Wishes
Allison & Mark

# Will, December 31st 2013

Great effort guys. This is the part that counts and you are off to a cracking start. Happy new year and Godspeed.

# Richard Pierce, December 31st 2013

You’re 23 miles closer to your goal. Look after those digits and the core temps. Hopefully, once your altitude starts dropping again, the temperature will change to being a little higher.

Take care, please.

God Speed.


# Janet Stanley, December 31st 2013

Sounds like an mixed day, hope all fingers are okay & thank you for taking the trouble to write your blog, couldn’t have been easy. All mileage counts. Stay safe as always :)

# kiwawa, December 31st 2013

Oh boys, if in seriously cold situations,  one ought to cuddle.  Tarka all my friends from the Uk, France and Oman send so many words of encouragement;  you are both proving to be unbelievable sources of inspiration to us. Keep troddling on, with the warm thought that upon your successful completion I will pay a Bedouin to bring yoi a steaming hot mutton Shawarma. I spent the evening with Katie the other day and went home missing you more than I think I ever have. If you think of any ludicrous middle eastern things you may want me to gather for you tell me. I am off to Dubai for the new year, and will think of you,  hoping you might see the fireworks from where you are.  You will both enter this new year as heroes. Keep going, so proud, miss you xxx

# Mike Gould, December 31st 2013

Great stuff guys!! Truly inspirational - I wish in many ways I could be with you remembering our chat at the RGS last year. Have a very happy and successful New Year and I hope we can tie up when you return.

# Jen, December 31st 2013

I whinge when my fingers go “dead” in our cold Northern winters, so reading about your hands makes me cringe. I hope that doesn’t happen too often.
Happy New year to you both from us in The North of The North (England). I shall toast you at midnight.

# Nick, December 31st 2013

Plan 1.  Keep safe….circulation.  I think a few boxing jabs in front of you will soon heat you up and create a bit circulation and heat in your arms and hands…worth a try.  This is what the TV fitness people do sometimes.  Also good for a little adrenaline to rush through your body and keep the icey cold weather off I think.

# andrew, December 31st 2013

At the start of this expedition it was difficult to determine the feasibility of the venture. The events of the last month have shown the reality: you boys, with your fitness, stamina and planning can pull this off, and it is going to be a remarkable achievement. Keep realistic and be
positive. Don’t hate the miles, they are your asset, essential for a journey! Just use them up, convert them into experience. Use your heads at that altitude, keep your team together. You have business to attend to at the Beardmore so go to it with the skills you have acquired.All the best

# Thea, December 31st 2013

Tarka, your uncles and mother are always right! it will get better, please be careful. You can do this and I am so very proud of you. Both of you are being so strong, look after each other, tomorrow is the start of a new year and you will be home soon.
A very Happy new year to you and to everybody who has been sending so many messages of encouragement and support, it certainly helps me. xxxxx

# Sue (and Noodle ), December 31st 2013

An old friend of mine ( a St Ives artist) had written on the wall of his house…. ATMOSPHERE DOMINATES ATTITUDE… ATTITUDE DOMINATES ATMOSPHERE.  If it applies. Use it. Thinking of you both. With much affection and respect.Happy New Year x

# Andrea, December 31st 2013

Let me say that we are very sorry for this kind of events. The neutrionos do not harm you, even that they pass through you after they leave traces on the Pole Station Experiment, as they do not interact with your mass, instead the molecular and cellular slowing icy air it does as the ideal temperature for the actual creatures from and on Earth is of 15 C .

Commenting is not available for this entry.