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.

The Last Degree (Day 60)

Day 60: S89° 01' 33", E157° 38' 49.44"

Duration: 9 Hr 15 Min

Daily distance: 21.7 Mi

Distance to go: 970.3 Mi

Temperature: -27 °C

Wind chill: -40 °C

Altitude: 9875 Ft

If you eavesdropped on our daily banter up here, you'd be forgiven for thinking Tarka and I aren't enjoying this expedition all that much. Our conversations at break times, when we turn our sleds so we can sit on them next to each other with our backs to the wind, usually go something like this: Tarka: "What on earth are we doing with our lives? This is ridiculous." Me: "Tell me about it. I'm retiring after this trip." Tarka: "Mate, I'd already retired from this nonsense..." Etc.

But there are occasional moments of magic. We talked briefly today of what it must have felt like for Shackleton and his men as they turned for home near here, and for Scott and his team as they headed on to the Pole. For us, the South Pole represents people, air traffic, vehicles, noise, buildings, warmth, safety; it's a huge distraction and we're keen to arrive in the dead of night, take our photos by the Pole and get away again before anyone notices us. For Scott and Shackleton it was a point in the centre of a vast expanse of nothingness. The feeling of remoteness and isolation they must have felt at this stage of their journeys must have been immense.

We're also talking about food more, and have both noticed that our senses of taste seem to have become sharper, and that we're getting enormous pleasure from all of our rations. I often close my eyes at breaks while I'm munching away, and I suspect very few people have derived quite so much pleasure from a "Cocoa Delight" Nakd Bar, a "Nutty" 9Bar, a "Belgium Chocolate" Organic Food Bar, or ten squares of Green & Blacks 85% dark chocolate, all of which featured in my 6,000 calories today. I'll take a photo of a whole day's food soon, so you can see how we're fuelling our progress.

We would also like to thank everyone who was involved in sending us a message in Intel's Christmas card which we reciveed last night on our Ultrabook. It's wonderful to have such support from around the world. Thank you all. 

We bagged another 35km today and have crossed the 89th degree of latitude, which we're pleased with, though we're both feeling as tired as you'd probably expect us to now we've been out here for two months (with two days off) and have covered about 32 back-to-back marathons. It was -40 degrees Centigrade windchill all day today and we were outside for 12 hours, and I often feel it's almost miraculous that we can get up again every morning and do the same thing. Apologies for another scenery shot, but the sun was creating an amazing effect on the horizon today, which I'm hoping you can see after we've compressed this photo to send it back via the phone.


# CaninesCashews, December 24th 2013

Hi guys,

Wow guys another amazing photo and another amazing mileage!

It is astonishing that you are just days from the pole and yet for you this represents ‘just’ half of your epic adventure.  I’m not sure many would have the mental capacity to acknowledge that getting to the 90 is only part of the first part of the journey you have chosen to make.

I remember the despair of your blog on the way back from Resolute Bay in March 2011 after being pinned down by the weather.

Then last year when you decided to postpone Scott 2012, I remember tweeting you the Tolstoy quote, “The strongest of all warriors are these two – Time and Patience”. Well Ben you have shown remarkable patience and time is on your side now.

I find it amusing that generally as a nation we are just not the bragging kind. We don’t push to the front and we rarely turn the spotlight on ourselves or our achievements. We are British.

However sometimes I think that we are all meant to have OUR time, the time when we do something special. Something that makes others think it is OK to do that – I can do that, I can shine.
No matter what your faith is, Marianne Williamson summed this up beautifully in one of my favourite quotes, she said,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I know it is not your primary concern, but do not, do not underestimate the power and effect of this amazing adventure on others; at home, at work, in schools, at universities all over the world.

I wish you both a happy, blessed, peaceful and healthy Christmas, may the wind be at your back and the pole in your sights.

Stay safe,

# Richard Pierce, December 24th 2013

Dear Cananies,

Thanks for that Marianne Williamson quote. I had never heard it before, and you’ve sghone a light into my life with it.

Happy Christmas.


# ale, December 24th 2013

Hi Ben and Tarka,

maybe you know but it I just got that the South Pole will be a crowdy place in the next days.

If you’re lucky you can meet a nice GIRL riding a sort of bike!!!! If you see something strange moving around it is NOT an allucination!  She’s young, she’s well fit and she’s even British!!!

Hey don’t fall in love out there!!! This is for tarka since I got that Ben is already engaged.

here is the twitter from her:

Are you (teams heading for the Pole) all aware of each other?
Are you sure you’re depots are not going to be hunted from others? :-)
There are other chyclist moving to the Pole, I got notice of other 2! What a crowdy place!!!!

Enjoy your “lonely"adventure!!!


# Colin Buckley, December 24th 2013

Ben, Tarka, keep it up, great stuff guys. merry Christmas and happy new year.

# AlisonP, December 24th 2013

Another great mileage day, and you are almost there!  What an incredible accomplishment of body, mind, and spirit!  Ben and Tarka, thank you for all of the gifts that you have given to us your readers - inspiration, your words (both of you!), the amazing pictures, and taking us along with you on your journey.  I hope that you get your wishes for your time at the pole, and also that you two find a little way to celebrate your amazing accomplishment.  Merry christmas lads!

# Minna R Rovaniemi, Finland, December 24th 2013

Merry Christmas Ben and Tarka! I’m sure lifes little, simple things can find a whole new meaning on your adventure. Think about how many rough days you have already beaten and your goal is getting closer and closer! Look at the sky tonight, you never know if Santa is flying your way :)

# Laura, December 24th 2013

The pictures are beautiful! Carry on with this beautiful and full-of-charge experience! An enormous hug and a wish of a merry Christmas from Italy!! :D

# Enrico, December 24th 2013

Merry Christmas Tarka and Ben!

# Intrepid, December 24th 2013

Dear Ben and Tarka,

Merry Christmas!

Fantastic reflection of the sun on the snow. Creates a warm feeling that can even defrost, defog, unwind / wind down whenever you could use the magic of a good memory. May you always be guided by such a light.

For Tarka: ‘timestacking’ images of the setting sun in a single image.

For Ben:

Blessings, Good Cheer, and Godspeed!

# Nora Wolfe, December 24th 2013

Merry Christmas from Grants Pass, Oregon. Thank you for including us in your epic journey.

# Martin Hartley, December 24th 2013

Truly inspirational speed guys. I shall be raising a glass to you tonight and raising a bacon sandwich to you in the morning. God speed. X

# Willie, December 24th 2013

Ben and Tarka, you guys are doing a brilliant job, great mileage again today, great writing again Ben.  The way you plan to execute the pole is inspired, leave nothing but footprints (ski tracks) take nothing but photo’s, the acclaim will come.  Merry Christmas to you both.  Be safe, be strong, Hoofing, Willie and family

# Henry warren, December 24th 2013

Happy Christmas guys. Hugely admire what you’re doing.
Benny there’s a beer waiting for you in shoreditch when you return.


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