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!


# Jen, November 18th 2013

Eloquently put. I for one await your next pebble with anticipation.

Great stuff on the miles.

# Luke Hull, November 18th 2013

I remember attending one of Robert Swan’s lectures in the 80’s when he described the moment when he first came across Scott’s diary in a library and his ambition was born. Who knows one day a young boy or girl will find this blog and be inspired to do the same, lets hope the poles are still as we know them today.

# CaninesCashews, November 18th 2013

Ah those pesky books and libraries… always creating trouble :-)

# CaninesCashews, November 18th 2013

Hi guys,

Another great mileage day - must be lifting the mood - closing down on Beardmore!

I’m not sure what it takes to be a man but in this instance, in your place and at this time I would definately defer to Martin Luther King Jr. In his 1963 book Strength to Love he said,
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I’m pretty sure that you are in a time of ‘challenge’.

Stay safe.

# torsten richter, November 18th 2013

Hi guys!

Exactly the same trip I’m planning for 2 years but so far I have not found a good supplier or sponsor. In the past, I met the grandson Scott, know the bulk of Wilson’s nephew and niece of Amundsen. That was on 29/03/2012 in London, at the central celebration of the Terra Nova expedition. I have been following your expedition with great interest. And I would very much have liked to be there and maybe it will work out times. I’m also great endurance athlete who makes 11 marathons a year and I also run up to 100km per piece and make serious runs in the Alps, such as the ultra-marathon or the Zermatt Swiss Alpine Marathon. If they can not do what I do not hope for it, then they could count on me! For I also would like to want to run out of respect for the work Scott and his men this route. For me it was the greatest achievement of man since the dawn of time.
Regards Torsten

# Benjamino, November 18th 2013

You’re going to want to meet up with Prince Harry on his way in - get him to bring you some soup or something.

# Ed Harvey, November 18th 2013

Great to hear everything is going well Ben - not just from a work perspective at Land Rover obviously, but from a personal interest I thoroughly enjoy every update you send. A real insight into the modern adventurer, as well as how remarkable communication can be!

A few quotes to help with deciding what it means to be a man..:

“A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality.”-  Winston Churchill

“A man is one whose body has been trained to be the ready servant of his mind; whose passions are trained to be the servants of his will; who enjoys the beautiful, loves truth, hates wrong, loves to do good, and respects others as himself.” - John Ruskin

“A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” - Charles Darwin.

Continued good luck. Ed

Oh, and what a balmy day, -9 degrees, the shorts must have been on!

# Chris, November 18th 2013

Across 80 guys, well done.

# Ivan Malagurski, November 18th 2013

Great adventure and great blog!
I wish you the best of luck!

# Tron, November 18th 2013

Good work out there, It would be great if they had a few ponies waiting for you on the plateau, that would be quite the surprise!

# Kyle West, November 18th 2013

I wake up each morning in New York City since discovering your blog and practically run to the computer to follow the latest entry.  It is fascinating and I wish you every success in this endeavor. I will soon travel to Antarctica on a photography trip and have been reading up on Scott’s expedition.

I am curious if you are able to share some more about your “plan” in terms of how far you seek to average per day during different legs of your expedition, what are some of the particular challenges that lie ahead that most concern you, and what if any unanticipated things you have experienced/encountered thus far in terms of the planning versus the reality of it all. 

Every good wish from the Big Apple!

# Scott Expedition Team, November 25th 2013

Excepting particularly poor weather and the Beardmore Glacier (one of the most challenging parts of the route) Ben and Tarka will speed up as they get further into the journey and their sleds get lighter.

# Betty Ann, November 18th 2013

Always enjoy the status updates but loved this story. Thanks.

# dj, November 18th 2013

11 days to make the first “degree,” 7 for the second and you’re already substantially into the third. You’re really knocking these suckers out! And, as you probably already know, the weather report (if there is such a thing for Antarctica) says it’ll be good for almost the next week.

I wonder if (however you do it) you’d consider a quick question about how you’re navigating. I realize you’re making onsite decisions about each footstep; but are you following some predefined, general GPS track or heading or landmark (if you can see any)?  I ask because the satellite seems to show you’re drifting to the west of a direct intersection with the Beardmore. Today’s heading seems a bit better but following yesterday’s would have put you about 50 miles along the coast to the west of the glacier.  Perhaps there’s something on the ground you’re avoiding?

# 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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