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.

Ripples, Circles (Day 24)

Day 24: S80° 03' 40.92", E168° 37' 25.68"

Duration: 8 Hr

Daily distance: 12.2 Mi

Distance to go: 1615.1 Mi

Temperature: -9 °C

Wind chill: -9 °C

Altitude: 249 Ft

When I was sixteen years old and still at school, I had a part-time job in a shop in Canterbury called Field and Trek that sold outdoor gear. Upstairs, next to the shelves that displayed camping stoves and the odd lantern, was a door that looked like a cupboard, but actually led to the staff tea room. Inside was a small sink, a small fridge, a small microwave, a kettle, a window and two small wooden folding chairs that faced each other, so close that if the staff room had two occupants, their knees would almost touch. One Saturday I'd slept in too late to make a packed lunch so went out on my break to buy the biggest thing I could fit in the microwave (Marks & Spencer 'family size' lasagne) and swang by the library on my way back to work. The book I borrowed, In the Footsteps of Scott by Roger Mear and Robert Swan, went on to have a bit of an impact on me.

As a boy I loved stories of adventure and exploration, of mountains, oceans, jungles, deserts and space, and this one had a photograph of a man dragging a sled in Antarctica on its front. Under the clear plastic cover the library had added, the sky was an incredible shade of blue. I think part of me was sifting through these stories looking for clues about what it meant to be a man. I don't know if Robert realised quite where the echoes or ripples of his story - and it's a fantastic story of endeavour and challenge, of victory and loss - would reach, decades after the telling, but here I am now lying in a tent on the Ross Ice Shelf, camped a few miles away from where he and his team would have camped in the mid-eighties. 

Robert Swan is one of this expedition's patrons, alongside Falcon Scott, Captain Scott's grandson, and he has been extraordinarily generous with his time and support in recent years. I'm still not a great deal closer to deciding what it means to be a man, but perhaps part of it is as simple as going out, living boldly, and sharing our stories, however they pan out. Casting pebbles with the journeys we make, and leaving tiny ripples in the universe.

Oh, and a corker of a day today. More than 12 miles again in eight hours, sunshine, no clouds and the faintest of breezes from the west. The photo is of our custom-made Iridium Pilot, the antenna we use to send our blog posts and images back via satellite. They're normally big metal mushrooms designed to be bolted to the bridges and decks of ships, so it took a bit of doing (and a lot of help from Intel and Porticus) to get this to its current lightweight, portable, solar-powered state. Onwards!


# lorenzo from italy, November 18th 2013

you are great. I wish you luck and I will follow you every day.

# Dave, November 18th 2013

I’m following your adventure every day. I appreciate all the photos and written descriptions you are posting. What a great place to be.
Your latest posting mentioned a light breeze from the west. It is strange to comprehend, but when you are standing at the south pole the wind will always be coming from the north. The sun will rise in the north and it will set in the north.

Stay strong. Keep pressing on.

# Jack G, November 18th 2013

Are we going to hear from Tarka?It would be nice to hear a blog from him too….  I am guessing the other typo was regarding the weight . On day 21 Ben mentions still dragging 170kg as 474lb - It is of course 374lb… But I was wondering how that worked out with the amount of fuel and food offloaded and poles etc plus the additional part of the sledge..? Considering the food and fuel already gone etc it seemed to be over heavy - and the picture of the sledge on todays Blog seems quite there a reason for that .

# Stefan, November 18th 2013

Gps does not seem to update often as it should.. When will you be posting fuller picture blogs perhaps of the whole camp and the 2 of you ? Is your sledge now light ready to go uphill on the glacier . I think it is more cold here currently!

# Anthony Goddard, November 19th 2013

Hi Stefan,
The GPS is updating hourly, to follow the exact progress, you can download the Google Earth file at

# Austin Duryea, November 19th 2013

Great story! Thank you for sharing that with us. Was the lasagne good? Glad to hear that your still up and running getting more and more distance each day. Good luck, and keep up the good work.

# George Chapman, November 19th 2013

Glad to see all is going well for you. It looks like temperatures are better and the wind has calmed some. Really enjoy all your post and Photos. Take care of yourself.
Following you on FB and Google Earth from sunny Central Florida U.S.A. Todays temperature 71ºF at 3:00 AM EST.

To see a live cam from McMurdo Station
Click here:

# Sadie, November 19th 2013

OnWards it is!!
Keep your heads up guys :) Me and everyone here in my household believe in you!
I think my staff at work are about to go crazy with me talking about you guys all the time! I cant tell you how inspired I am to read about you guys and your adventures every day!!
Lots of love from here in Bellevue, WA
Stay Safe!

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