Distance to go:
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.
Round One Hundred and Two (Day 102)
Day 103: S78° 28' 59.05", E168° 30' 28.80"
Duration: 10 Hr
Daily distance: 23.7 Mi
Distance to go: 63.8 Mi
Temperature: -11 °C
Wind chill: -16 °C
Altitude: 161 Ft
This continent seems to be throwing everything it has at us in our final few days. Today we slogged away under heavy cloud cover again, luckily with a sliver of horizon that - as you can see in the photo - gave us a glimpse of Black Island and made navigating relatively easy, though that was the extent of our view for ten hours on foot. The contrast was too poor for us to see the snow surface and the mess of small ridges and sastrugi underfoot, and it felt at times like we were trying to cross a frozen ploughed field on rollerskates. I fell over hard twice, and even Tarka (who lives in the Alps, whose mother is a ski instructor, and who I believe had his first pair of ski boots fitted shortly after his umbilical cord was cut) stacked it badly this afternoon. We laughed at each other when we slipped over three months ago, but now we're like two frail old men, living in fear of fracturing something in a fall at the eleventh hour of this Goliath trek.
Despite our proximity to the finish line, our sheer exhaustion seems to be standing in the way of us getting excited just yet, and lying in the tent in the evening getting psyched-up for another day of the same after too little sleep is never easy. Tarka's pep talk this evening contained one of his best lines yet: "Mate, we've gone a hundred and two rounds with Antarctica and we've won every one of them. Tomorrow we're going to win round one hundred and three."
That's all for now, as I desperately need some sleep! We plan to do a "normal" day of 38-40km tomorrow and then a jumbo last day on Wednesday 5th, with about 30km before picking up our first depot, where we'll pick up one day's food, pitch the tent, scoff it all, sleep for an hour or so and then carry on for roughly 25km to the shore of Ross Island. Watch this space...