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.

Skiing away from Cape Evans (Day 1 - PM)

Day 1: S77° 49' 15.6576", E166° 36' 49.3194"

Daily distance: 12.9 Mi

Distance to go: 1787.1 Mi

Temperature: -19 °C

Wind chill: -26 °C

Wind speed: 6.9 MPH

Altitude: 0 Ft

Visiting Scott's Terrra Nova hut was an experience that I'll treasure for a lifetime. I'd seen hundreds of photographs - the packing case walls, Scott writing at his desk, Wilson's specimens, the tenements. I'd watched television presenters walk through it, I'd seen original items of clothing and equipment at the Scott Polar Research Institute and I'd strolled through the Natural History Museum's life-size replica hut. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment of stepping through that doorway into the still, dark air.

The cliches are all true: the smell (musty, smoky, homely) is what you notice first, as your eyes adjust to the gloom. Then it really does look like it's only recently been abandoned, as if the men will return at any moment. Cups, spoons, pots, toothbrushes, half-darned socks, reindeer skin sleeping bags are all left behind. It's an astonishing place, in equal parts cosy and eerie.

It was cold and windy after we left the hut, and we camped nearby, waking up to a tent lined with frost and half-buried in drifting snow. Sleep-deprived and grumpy wasn't how I was expecting to start this expedition, but my mood evaporated when I climbed out of the tent and looked across at the hut, and then up to the summit of Erebus.

The weather improved as the day went on, and the surface - all sea ice so far - was perfect.

We're now camped on the sea ice near McMurdo, and we'll be back on land tomorrow. Interestingly the snow that we dug up to melt near the shore of Cape Evans had salt in it, so I had to get out of the tent again to go inland for some better snow. Luckily we filled the drybag with snow again this morning and dragged it with us, as the tiny amount of snow we're parked on is also too salty to drink.

I'm over the moon that the technology is all working brilliantly (thank you Intel!) - we'll start sending back video soon, and being able to upload lots of relatively big photographs is something I still can't quite believe we can do from the tent.


# Janet Stanley, October 26th 2013

Amazing! Thank you for sharing…one of my dreams to visit Cape Evans & Scott’s hut. :) Stay safe.

# DAVID SIMMONS, October 26th 2013

Me too, these guys are living my dream

# Stefania, October 26th 2013

I write from Italy and I follow this exciting adventure every day. Good Luck!

# DAVID SIMMONS, October 26th 2013

Go for it guys, I am with you in spirit

# Mel beeching , October 26th 2013

Good luck ,such an adventure to follow you.

# Flemming, October 26th 2013

Sounds great :-)

Sorry , if this is a “DOH” question, but do you just taste the water to find out about the salt, or do you have some kind of pocket “salt-in-water measure gear” in all your equipment?

# DAVID SIMMONS, October 26th 2013

good question #fleming

# Scott Expedition Team (Chessie), November 11th 2013

Hi, simply by taste.

# Przemek, October 26th 2013

Amazing, I`d like to see that hut.

# Benjamin, October 26th 2013

Looking forward to seeing the videos!

# Noelle, October 26th 2013

Awesome! So glad you had a good first day. This is amazing to be able to follow along, thank you for taking us with you, so to speak. Safe journey and godspeed.

# Helen Haile, October 26th 2013

Ben, Jonathan and I will be following you and Tarka every step of the way and keeping our fingers very tightly crossed that you will finally achieve the dream you have strived so long for. Godspeed and good luck to you both. Will await each blog avidly. Brenda if you are reading this - my thoughts are with you too - I am sure you are very proud but I know how dufficult it must be for you but you could not have anyone better prepared than Ben.

# dj, October 26th 2013

Yes, this is truly amazing.  It sounds like you’re dealing with true frozen sea water and not the pre-distilled snow that falls over the land. Freezing salt water is supposed to squeeze out the sodium chloride as it solidifies but obviously not perfect.

Just wondering about your procedure for posting blogs, the coordinates given for where this entry was posted is back on the ice near the Scott Discovery hut (where I guess you stopped for a visit) buy you say that you’re “already camped” and the “current position” that your team is keeping track of shows you over near Williams Field. I’m sure you didn’t go back to make the post from where you seem to be stopping for the night.

# Scott Expedition (Chessie), October 27th 2013

Hi DJ. Ben and Tarka wrote their last blog (Skiing Away from Cape Evans) where they camped last night following their first day on the ice. The camp was approx 13 miles from Scott’s Terra Nova hut (in the McMurdo direction). The first days’ posts were slightly confusing as there were two in one day - one in the morning before they started walking (from close to the Terra Nova hut) , and one in the evening following their first day on the ice (before reaching McMurdo). The coordinates they’ll include in their blog will be the point at which they camp. Hope that helps!

# dj, October 27th 2013

Thanks Chessie… That explains the other question that I didn’t ask, which is still sort of confusing, the post from today “Beasts of burden” seems to have appeared this morning (27th in the US) yet they have continued moving along during the day - as if they wrote it in their morning before starting walking.

I’m sure it’s got to be an artifact of us getting used to time zone changes - got to figure this out.  I also see that you’ve moved the placemark for the post “skiing away” so that now it is located right on the track line (it wasn’t before).

# Del, October 26th 2013

You gifts are so inspiring.
Best regards.

# Camilla, October 27th 2013

Did you see where my grandfather slept? : )
Camilla Gran

# Ralph Thomas, October 26th 2013

Hi Ben ,
i follow from Cologne in Germany and i watch the web every day since i discovered your expedition.
Wish you all the best and good luck .
Best regards
Ralph Thomas

# Sarah Fenwick, Expedition Psychologist, October 27th 2013

Good to read you’ve started - looking forward to feedback on the personality profiling.

# Chris Wilson, October 27th 2013

This is awesome guys, Cape Evans hut and Erebus - amazing!  Looking forward to you guys doing really well, even given the bad days that will come, and hearing all about it.  It really does feel like you’re in Scott’s footsteps.

# Alastair Humphreys, October 27th 2013

Good luck, guys. I’m with you all the way.

# Colin Buckley, October 27th 2013

Way to go Ben & Tarka. Stay safe and bring back the best result.
Just keep telling yourselves that you CAN and WILL make it!
Great stuff, make England proud of you both.
Sir Ben Saunders we’ll be calling you shortly.

Colin from Landitalia magazine italy

# Sandra Pitblado, October 27th 2013

Greetings from Canada! Jim and I will follow you every day all the way and are hugely excited to know you are moving.  We will be with Katherine and the boys next week and we are all so proud of you and Tarka.  Blessings and we are with you every step, as they say!  xox

# Mike Cosgrove, October 29th 2013

Hi guys, good luck on your journey. Wishing I was there with you both. I will be watching over your experience every day from new zealand

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