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.

Season’s Greetings from a Long Way South (Day 61)

Day 61: S89° 20' 3", E154° 17' 43.68"

Duration: 9 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 21.6 Mi

Distance to go: 948.7 Mi

Temperature: -24 °C

Wind chill: -32 °C

Altitude: 9708 Ft

Another quick one I'm afraid as it's been a long Christmas Eve here, with a few navigational challenges. We've been navigating so far my using magnetic bearings taken from our two GPS units but today the bearings started taking us wildly off-course, and what's more the two units we have were giving differing bearings by more than 20 degrees.

We've phoned Andy and given it to him as a little Christmas conundrum, but it wasted a couple of hours today and put an annoying kink in our route before we realised what was going on. We can travel due south easily enough, and have been doing so this afternoon on the E 154 meridian, but there are a couple of complicated waypoints at the South Pole station itself that we're supposed to hit, in order to avoid runways and scientific work that's being carried out.

As a result, it's been a frustrating day, though the weather and surface improved as time went on, so things are looking up for Christmas Day. We won't be celebrating in our little tent a great deal, I'm afraid. I have one card to open from a very special somebody, and I've brought Tarka a tiny present (don't let on, but it's some teabags and milk powder; we haven't had a cuppa for two months now). I've no idea if he's brought anything for me, but if he has I hope it's edible!

The photo is of me (looking pretty knackered) with the card that Intel sent us via satellite. Other than that, it'll be business as usual for us, and another nine hours of travel. Wherever you are, another huge thank you for following our journey as it unfolds, and I hope your Christmas Days involve a little less rationed food, a lot less distance from your loved ones, and a little more rest than ours will...

Happy Christmas


# Uncle Pete, December 25th 2013

Very best wishes to you both for Christmas! We should certainly be thinking of you while we have it easy today! Lets hope you resolve your tracking, but I should just point out to Tarka that Santa actually lives almost exactly the opposite side of the world, though you would not have found him in today anyway! Happy Christmas from us all!

# Alex, December 25th 2013

Merry Christmas guys! Good luck.

# dj, December 25th 2013

Those of us following closely, on the Google Earth file you send out, noticed the dramatic deviation in course yesterday morning - actually, it seems to have begun in littles on day 58 and you had drifted a mile and a half “off course” (the point to point baseline) at your camp. Until yesterday, I was chalking it up to you trying to avoid the “crowd” and the possible ruts and detritus a group like that sometimes can leave.  Wish there was a way to have given you a “shout out” when I noticed it, to help you avoid being close to 5 miles off the baseline. [I wonder if it could be related to the deviation I wrote Andy about back on the Ross Sheet?]

Onward and upward - A Joyous Christmas to you both. The Antarctic Resource File has been updated with a special Christmas gift to the team. The update can be downloaded free at: .

# Hilary, December 25th 2013

Merry Christmas to you both. Have a great day!

# Angus, December 25th 2013

Happy Christmas, hope you are both having a great day and best wishes.

# Allison & Mark, December 25th 2013

Merry Christmas to you both from a relatively warm Lincolnshire. The sun is a warm orange glow on the horizon and a light breeze (25k) is rustling through the leafless trees. Mark says ” Have a festive energy bar but please wait until lunch time”. He’s all heart.
Stay safe chaps and thanks for the wonderful blogs. Reading about your journey is my priority each day.

# George Chapman, December 25th 2013

Wishing the both of you a Merry Christmas and good traveling today. Take care stay warm and hope you can stay on course.

# Rachel S., December 25th 2013

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this expedition quite by accident.  However, I’m now a faithful follower and am thrilled to be learning so much about history, both from Scott and that being created by Ben and Tarka.

What I’d really like to communicate to Ben and Tarka is a huge gratitude for expanding my horizons.  We all face challenges in our lives, and reading this blog is recharging my own confidence to forge ahead with the expeditions, so to speak, in my own life that I’ve nearly abandoned.  Ben—your frank, yet delicious writing is both informative and high inspiring.  Thank you so much for being a positive force!  The world needs many more like you, and your parents should be immensely proud.

The difficult, Ben and Tarka do immediately.  The impossible takes them a little longer.  (Apologies to David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel)

# John Brain, December 25th 2013

A very Happy Christmas to you both. What a massive achievement.

# Chris Barrow, December 25th 2013

Merry Christmas from Manchester, England and thank you for the inspiration that your journey brings.

# Richard Pierce, December 25th 2013

Happy Christmas, despite the kink in your route. There are many different ways to get to your goal. A shame modernity has to interfere with your arrival to the Pole (and I mean the modernity installed there rather than the modernity of navigation).

Be assured that the world is watching you, that the world is with you, helping you onwards. And so are the spirits of all those who have gone before you, on those icy plains. It is still Terra Incognita.

God Speed.


# Damian Harris , December 25th 2013

Merry Christmas to you both.
I hope you’ll find a little time during the day for at least some festive merriment.
At least you’re guaranteed a white Christmas.

# CaninesCashews, December 25th 2013

Hi guys,
Merry Christmas to you both and all our best wishes on your White Chrsitmas!
Stay safe.

# CaninesCashews, December 25th 2013

I’ll try that again without the ‘got up too early with the excited kids’ typo…

Hi guys,
Merry Christmas to you both and all our best wishes on your White Christmas!
Stay safe.

# Ione and Rich, December 25th 2013

Just spoke to Tarka’s sister Chiara who is feeling the cold in the Alps after life in the Middle East. Also had message from a friend near the opposite pole (sadly not father christmas)  who shares your temperature range at -40; also a friend in Kabul where it is only -2. Hope you enjoy the tea and happy christmas.

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