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.

Mountains on the Horizon (Day 79)

Day 79: S85° 49' 25.2", E159° 42' 21"

Duration: 9 Hr

Daily distance: 24.7 Mi

Distance to go: 610 Mi

Temperature: -21 °C

Wind chill: -34 °C

Altitude: 8665 Ft

Tarka didn't think we'd see them until tomorrow, but my mum (she was looking at Google Earth when we spoke on the phone last night) thought they might come into view today: the long ridge of summits that makes up the Dominion Range of mountains, to our north east. Mum was right; they appeared over the horizon during the last hour of today. I was in the lead when I spotted them and turned back to Tarka, pointing with my ski pole. He lifted both his poles in the air in a victory salute and it was a special moment.

Spotting those far peaks must have been a huge relief to Shackleton and Scott's teams, the only people in history to have trodden this route before us, and the sight certainly added a spring to our step and a few inches to our stride. We ended up having our best day in ages today, and a record distance for a 'normal' day of nine hours' skiing: nigh-on 40km, or 25 miles. The weather was great: not too cold, a tailwind, and excellent visibility and contrast. The surface was as good as we've had in ages, there's only a small amount of sastrugi, and what's more we've found our old tracks again, raised like railway lines above the snow's surface, so navigating was a doddle.

We both felt physically and mentally strong all day, so last night's feast seems to have paid off. I think we must have consumed close to 8,000 calories in 24 hours, and around 1,200 grams of carbohydrate alone yesterday. Our bodies seem to be processing this colossal amount of energy quite happily, and my inner human performance and nutrition geek wishes we could do a bit more research into our extraordinary metabolic turnover at the moment.

We're celebrating today's mileage with another two dinners each this evening, an extra breakfast shared between us as pudding, and half a litre of sweet tea to wash it all down, so that's close to another 2,000 calories going into my belly between finishing this update and going to sleep...


# Rebecca, January 12th 2014

Great work. So happy to read your spirits and energy are up. Double dinners, good weather, and improved surface be praised!

# Bruce Young, January 12th 2014

Brilliant guys, keep up the incredible energy. The horizon beyond the horizon is in touching distance :) Cheers, Bruce.

# CaninesCashews, January 12th 2014

Hi Guys,
Wowsers what a great boost to your mileage.
Must have been an amazing feeling when those mountains hoved into sight!
Keep following those tracks until you reach the Beard!!
Stay Safe.

# Jennifer, January 12th 2014

Thank you Ben and Tarka!  I’ve been needing to add an extra half an hour to my Nordic track workout, and reading your blog today just made me do it.  My mind transported to the horizon you see and I was skiing behind you both, all three of us challenging each other.  Then, I suddenly overtook the lead and had to periodically look back at you both to catch up to me! At the end, I polished the perspiration off the leather, downed a banana, stole a shower, and curled up on the divan. 

I genuinely feel much more accomplished, and it’s all because of you guys.  You are simply awe-inspiring.

# Hilary, January 12th 2014

Yahoo! The mountains are in sight. Brfilliant as seems to be the new word on here! Glad you seem to be in better spirits too, long may it stay that way! Onwards and downwards!!

# Willie Hannah, January 12th 2014

Ben and Tarka, HOOFING mileage today.  From the grey day and mood of yesterday, to the crisp, bright mood of today, fantastic achievement.  Be safe, be strong, Willie

# Raven, January 12th 2014

Hooray! You sounded rather down in the dumps yesterday, so I’m glad today was better. Amazing what blue skies and a full belly can do for one’s outlook on life.

# Anthea Henton, January 12th 2014

Yeahhhhh great blog. So happy that you have had a great day. Smiling with you both. X

# Jamie rouan, January 12th 2014

This is inspirational stuff guys - following every minute of your journey and loving it. Keep up the hard work.

# Andrea, January 12th 2014

A measure of a visibility, one characteristic of the antarctic plateau.

# Jo, January 12th 2014

Guten Appetit!

# Jarda C., January 12th 2014

Great job, keep up, guys! Such a great progress, it´s incredible.
I send you many greetings from the Czech republic.

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