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.

Pea Souper (Day 89)

Day 89: S83° 2' 42.43", E170° 3' 55.44"

Duration: 9 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 23.6 Mi

Distance to go: 395 Mi

Temperature: 1 °C

Wind chill: -4 °C

Altitude: 223 Ft

Despite being down on safe terrain now, Antarctica, as it always seems to, ensured that today had its own special forms of challenge and struggle in store for us. It felt tropically hot this morning in the tent, and a bit like a mild January morning in Wales or Scotland when we ventured outside; the temperature was above freezing and the sky was completely overcast. The surface was fine, but we spent all day travelling under a uniform grey blanket of cloud that obscured our view of the mountains to our south and west, and meant that we were skiing towards a horizon that was little more than a fuzzy grey line, with no reference points to mark our progress or take bearings on.

We headed homewards blindly, skiing on a bearing taken from a compass mounted on a dinky chest harness we have for days like this one, and leading was tortuously hard on the mind. In essence it was like spending nine and a half hours on a treadmill, staring at a grey wall with a slightly darker horizontal line running across it.

Thankfully, after a music and headphone-free few days on the Beardmore (for safety reasons in the crevassed areas) we could plug into our tunes again today, which helped us from losing the plot completely, though we both have an odd form of motion sickness lying in the tent this now.

It's bed time here now, and we have our fingers crossed for better (or indeed any) visibility tomorrow. I've attached a photo of the view today as I sat on my sledge at a break, and as you can probably surmise, we'd both relish the chance to see in our 90th day out here with a little more visual stimulation...


# Richard Pierce, January 22nd 2014

You did great mileage, despite banging your heads against the grey wall. Careful of your eyes in these conditions.

One slight quibble, Ben; I’d have said “safeish” not safe. Antarctgica is never safe. Well, I suppose it’s safe when you’re not there, and unsafe the minute you set foot on it.

That distance to go looks brfilliant now; so different to 416, never mind 1800!

Here’s wishing you a sunny, cold day, with mountains to frame your storming towards destiny.

Take care, and God Speed.


# Ariane, January 22nd 2014

Agreed.  Let’s not be tempting fate. “Safer”?
Stay safer.

# Ann L., January 22nd 2014

Ditto.  You (mostly) evaded the sting of Beardmore’s tail, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Antarctica picked another fight or two with you before relinquishing its hold.

Looks like another day of excellent mileage.  Wishing the remainder bring you fine weather, strong legs, and clear heads.

# Paul Adams, January 22nd 2014

Great mileage chaps - hope you see the depot soon and get a well deserved refuel.

# DJ, January 22nd 2014

We wondered if you were in a fog today as we watched your little “dots” wandering back and forth and finally ending almost 2 miles west of even your old trail.  We’ll see you go back toward it I’m sure - cause that’s where the food is!


# Hilary, January 22nd 2014

What a grey day! And so typical of Antarctica that when you could have an interesting view (the mountains), she chooses to blanket them in cloud. As soon as there’s nothing to see, I’m sure you’ll have lovely clear days with nothing but an expanse of white in sight, and blue skies. Hoping today is a clear day so you can enjoy the mountains while they are still there. Good mileage yesterday, below 400 to go!

# Stephen Hackett, January 22nd 2014

Hope the fog lifts. Must feel great to be down on the Ice Shelf again. Have a good day’s travel.

# CaninesCashews, January 22nd 2014

Hi guys,

I love that photo – still managing to make a real grey day look interesting just by the addition of a couple of ski poles.

Hoping for a better/clearer day today and lovely to see that mileage counter under the 400 mark.
I get the feeling you have the homeward buzz.

I did wonder about your music on Beardmore – so that’s a question answered!

I posted an image (and a few words) yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, and it got quite a nice reaction. I realise there are probably quite a few people who only comment on the blog and don’t do the whole social media thing so I thought I might post a link here. Forgive my indulgence…

“The guys seem to have had such a tumultuous couple of weeks with hunger, cold, crevasses, crampon issues and that old man Beardmore seemingly reluctant to let them go.

Despite the obstacles, Ben and Tarka have battled through together as a team, and made it back onto the ice shelf for the homeward leg.

At this stage as they head for the Cape, I hope they can allow themselves some brief thoughts on the historic nature of their adventure and of the men who came before all those years ago.

I thought it would be interesting to try to show in an image, the echoes of those audacious men from a century ago. A fleeting glimpse of history, of courage and of fearless determination which I am sure we have all seen reflected in Ben and Tarka, as they undertake this most challenging of modern day Antarctic endeavours.”

Here is the link:

God Speed

# Richard Pierce, January 22nd 2014


Thanks for the link. I don’t think you’re being indulgent posting it. I do it all the time, and both our links are relevant! Except you look like you’re a genius with art etc etc. Well impressed. I’m now following you on twitter and am going to try to find you on fb.

Great pics you have made. Brfilliant stuff!


# CaninesCashews, January 22nd 2014

Thanks Richard and nice to ‘meet’ you on twitter!

# Brad Shelvey, January 22nd 2014

Hi Guys,
Just read your story in the latest issue of “Success Magazine” and was blown away!
Your determination is truly inspirational. I am spreading the word on your behalf to all my Facebook and Twitter Friends - hope you rest well and find sunny skies tomorrow!

# Jim, January 22nd 2014

Physically, how do you plan to re-adjust after a grueling experience like this? How different does it feel now that you are in a lower altitude?

# Uncle Pete, January 22nd 2014

Temperature, altitude, fog, - certainly sounds more like England, sure you have not taken a wrong turn yesterday! I too am sorry you do not have the backward views I wished on you, hopefully better conditions to come.
I see from the ORH blog that you have strayed west of your route, I wonder if perhaps you are attempting to find easier going over the ‘tramlines’ of ice or whether you still have any hiccups (as Andy suggested) with your nav gear? Perhaps when the skies clear you mught get out the old sextant! Make every mile count - the numbers are really getting there. ‘Stay safer’or you may have to add treason to your adventures!

# Intrepid, January 22nd 2014

Change can be nauseating and motion sickness is just that; the effect of differentials. When the body cannot orientate, identity (expressed as who we are in relation to where we are) ‘feels’ unsettled. So it’s a double whammy (trigger) when the Antarctic’s horizon goes virtually missing and you are looking down, having to focus on the compass, taking bearings while moving. The effect will wear off during sleep.  Sleep… Rest… Rejuvenate… and blow away those clouds in your dreams….

Re: your tracks yesterday - I was wondering what the reason was for being off the (inward) track. You mention using non-battery powered equipment (what’s up?) and Richard mentioned that the shelf may not be as suitable for traveling on as it was 89 days.

Most days, when I realize your mileage of the day in the conditions in which accrued, I have the distinct look on my face of, ‘how do they do it?’ and can see why others find you so incredibly INSPIRATIONAL and MOTIVATIONAL!!!! YES!!!!

I love the way Deacon Patrick signs off, and will now do so the same,

Dear Ben and Tarka—- With abandon!


# Janet Stanley, January 22nd 2014

Great mileage again, hope your view improves today, stay safe :)

# Philip, January 22nd 2014

My son Tom (aged 15), a keen rower (and sponsor with his younger brothers of mile 516) said to me out of the blue last night: “I tell you what Dad, when I’m on the river in the rain and the wind is up and it’s cold and I’m miserable, all I do is think of Ben and Tarka toughing it out in the middle of nowhere with noone else in sight and I’m absolutely fine.”  I don’t think he is the only one to be inspired. We’ve read every gripping word of every post: keep going guys; you’ll soon pass all those other sponsored miles. Amazing. All the best, Philip.

# Rebecca, January 22nd 2014

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the photos, Ben. Even the ones that seem to be quite simple on the surface convey much about your experience, the terrain, the colors, the surface, the weather, the features (or lack thereof), your mood. I appreciate them as much as I do the words, and am, once again, grateful that you have the time and energy to post these for us. Hoping for clear skies and easy going for you today (and I’m amazed at the great mileage you make even when trudging through pea soup!). Rock on!

# Susan from Michigan, January 22nd 2014

Hope you have a day filled with sunshine and blue skies. Glad you are getting closer to your goal. Philip is right. We are all inspired by your journey. You should feel very proud after reading how his son is so inspired by what you are going through. I am sure there are many stories to be told about how you are changing peoples lives with your experience. Stay safe and God speed!

# Dave, January 22nd 2014

Today’s picture speaks to the emotional challenges you face, which at times I imagine rival the physical trials.  I’m looking forward to your reflections on how they compare.

Continued safety and progress.

# Heidi, January 23rd 2014

Woo hoo!  You’ve gone below the 400 mile mark!  It’s like watching “the Biggest Loser” and seeing the contestants go below a hundred mark.  On the drive to school this morning, I filled my son in on yesterday’s trek, commenting to him about the difficult visibility and navigational conditions you faced.  We talked about how there is really only one color you saw out there.  Gentlemen, just wait until you see green again - trees, grass, etc.  It’s gonna blow your minds.  In the words of a fellow “Ben and Tarka” club member, please stay safe-ish.  Warm hugs from Southern California.

# KEITH CHAPMAN, January 22nd 2014

As always, I’m facinated about who’s music you’re listening to. Which tune in particular will you listen to again one day and be reminded of a certain place that only a few people have actually visited ?

# Sheila, January 22nd 2014

Music does wonders. I know it is minor, but Scott did not even have that.
Sleep well.
- Sheila

# Mal Owen, January 22nd 2014

You’re clocking off those miles and days despite all the challenges thrown at you…. I’m clocking off to my bed.

# Marina K, January 22nd 2014

Late check in from me today… Looks like you have gone a mega distance since I checked this morning.  Your blog, journey and daily challenges are touching so many people: a friend of mine had surgery on her spine today and the last thing question she had for me pre-op was about how you guys got on yesterday!  The impact you are having is spreading… kinda like a super-positive, virus we all want to catch.  Keep on racking those miles up and let the music take you (but not too far off course please!).  xx

# Austin Duryea, January 23rd 2014

Well, it sucked that you didn’t have a view and couldn’t see anything. But at least it wasn’t a really bad blizzard or storm that would keep y’all from having to stay in the tent all day. How long does it take to travel just one mile with the sled?Do you know?

# Ty McClelland, January 23rd 2014

You guys are almost there!!

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