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.

Three out of Four (Day 90)

Day 90: S82° 40' 15.13", E169° 50' 23.28"

Duration: 9 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 25.9 Mi

Distance to go: 369 Mi

Temperature: -8 °C

Wind chill: -12 °C

Altitude: 190 Ft

Today ticked three of Tarka's four boxes for a perfect day - good surface, good terrain, good weather, good wind- - other than an annoying headwind, it was a grand day and we managed to bash out near enough 26 miles (42km), or a full marathon, which we're both happy about. We're keen to get home after a quarter of a year out here, and our target is to average 25 miles (40km) per day on the Ice Shelf back to Ross Island, so we're on track so far.

We'll pick up another depot tomorrow and we're hoping for more of the same weather and surface-wise. Both Tarka and I are incredibly fatigued and today was a new one for me; I didn't sleep well last night and I spent all of our nine-and-a-half hours on the move battling not to fall asleep on my feet, especially when it was Tarka's turn to lead. My eyes rolled back involuntarily every few minutes and their lids seemed so heavy that I'd occasionally relent and see how long I could ski with them closed before I lost my balance.

We're aiming for an early night tonight, and my blood sugar levels don't seem to be conducive to writing a blockbuster post tonight, alas, though we did see something today that I didn't expect to spot down here at all, and something I last saw in October: the moon. Tarka took a snap of me setting off towards it this afternoon and its presence seemed half-surreal and half-reassuringly familiar in what has been a pretty alien world for three months, a hint that soon we'll be back in the lands of day and night and glorious darkness to sleep in. I can't wait.


# Hilary, January 23rd 2014

Great day guys, you sound much more upbeat, even though you are really tired. Brilliant photo too. Glad the Antarctic has been kinder to you today, but the headwind on the way back must have been a nuisance. Hope you slept better Ben and have another great day today both of you!

# Nansen, January 23rd 2014

Be careful not to push too hard to get back quickly.  You have plenty of time, so consider a rest day and then push home a little more refreshed.

# DJ, January 23rd 2014

Seems like you just picked up a cache - doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?!  Going off east of the former trail like you did, it didn’t seem like you were heading for a cache - guess you’ll be heading back west then for tomorrows route.  Watching your trail today we could tell you must be having a better day - FYI, you’ve not had such low inter-segment variability in distance this whole trip so far.  Almost like machines today!


# Richard Pierce, January 23rd 2014

Dear Ben,

I know you really want to get back as soon as possible, but I would recommend, bearing in mind what you’ve said about fatigue, that you build in a rest day when you pick up the depot today. Double rations and a rest day, in fact. You can’t afford to make any mistakes, even this close to home, especially this close to home.

Let me quote from Radar Love by Golden Earring:

“No more speed, I’m almost there
Gotta keep cool, now gotta take care
Last car to pass, here I go
And the line of cars drove down real slow.”

And we all know what happens then.

Too close to home now to let it all go.

Strengthening thoughts from a man fatigued just by life, never mind a quarter of a year walking through a white desert.

Take care, boys.

God Speed.


# AlisonP, January 23rd 2014

Great day lads!  Terrific mikeage and a beautiful picture!  Yes, you will be home soon.  Here’s hoping for a four out of four day soon. 

It worries me that Ben is so tired.  The mother hen in me wishes too that you two would take a day of rest and double rations if you feel comfortable doing that to restore your bodies a bit.

# Heidi, January 23rd 2014

Dear Ben and Tarka, I echo the well-put words of Richard - GoldennEarring and all.  I awoke this morning praying for rest for you both, and for wisdom and safety.  I prayed you will be mindful to nurture your bodies as best you can.  This is a feat of endurance…and we want to see you endure.  I know what you mean about feeling tired…I stayed up too late last night catching up on old “Scott Expedition” videos!  :-)  To paraphrase a famous Antarctic explorer, be safe, be well.  Warmest regards, Prince Ha….er, warm hugs from Southern California.

# Kiwawa, January 23rd 2014

Chase the moon boys! Chase the moon! xxxxxxxxx

# Arthur Blackwell, January 23rd 2014

You have left your mark on Antarctica literately, your footsteps and sled marks now will be frozen into the surface and your efforts will be applauded for a very long time to come.

# CaninesCashews, January 23rd 2014

Hi guys,

Wow, just shy of 100 miles in 4 days – amazing.

Lovely to see these mileages, it means a reunion with family and friends is approaching faster each day. But please don’t be tempted to overcook the pace. I hope you have built in a rest day on the way back, just to lose some of that fatigue and recharge. I’m sure the Beardmore must have taken a toll, which you are probably still feeling.

Stay safe.


# Jon G, January 23rd 2014

” no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. “

Ishmael Beth, quoting a man in an Afghan market.

Maybe moonshine makes it 4 out of 5 today.

# Jonas, January 23rd 2014

As I have followed this daily, I just needed to leave a comment. (Even thought I have nothing great to say compared to all others great comments :-))

You are my new heroes! Id just love to be there for one day (One day is quite enough for me I think) to really try to understand what you are going through. A marathon per day in those conditions…. Wow….

How long vacation will you take when you get home? Or do you have a immidiate roundtrip planned to meet all of your new fans? :-)

Greetings from Sweden!

# Scott Expedition Team, January 24th 2014

Good question but not sure of the answer yet. One for when Ben and Tarka are home!

# Sue (and Noodle ), January 23rd 2014

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and my outer life depends on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself to give in the same measure as I have received…. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

# Uncle Pete, January 23rd 2014

Great goings chaps! The way you are going it seems to me you could take it in turns having a kip while the other pulls! The main thing is to keep within your safety envelope, there are so many waiting to see you home and safe and hear the (full) story, amazing as it undoubtedly is! And to see the amazing photo album to go with it! Go safest.

# Susan from Michigan, January 23rd 2014

Great Job! You’ll be home in no time. Hope the rest of your journey has the same conditions if not better. Enjoy some extra rations and maybe an extra day to get some much needed rest. You want to feel your best when you reach the finish line. Have a wonderful day!!

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