Friday, November 26, 2010

Centenary of Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic

FOOTSTEPS: Antony Jinman
ONE of the greatest adventures in human history began 100 years ago today with a Plymouth man in charge.
On November 26, 1910, Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic set sail from New Zealand.
It ended in tragedy in March 1912 when Scott and his four companions died of starvation and frostbite on their way back from the South Pole.
The anniversary is marked today as Plymouth explorer Antony Jinman begins a blog reflecting on Scott's daily diaries and detailing his own preparations for a memorial expedition in the Plymouth hero's footsteps.
Mr Jinman said: "100 years ago, even getting to the Antarctic was a dangerous adventure that few people have achieved.
"They sailed through the stormiest and most remote seas in the world. Scott's party was hit by terrible storms and they had to throw some of their supplies overboard to save the ship.
"There was a real danger they might not make it."
Mr Jinman's memorial expedition in 2012 is the highlight of a series of local, national and international commemorations, which is already under way.
He will lead a party on foot to the site where Scott died. There they will be joined by relatives flown in for a service of remembrance.
Events in Plymouth include a conference and arts shows in June next year.
Engaging all ages in the city, particularly children, is a key goal in the programme. One part of that is series of Polar Fun Days with science and art, which will begin at Devonport Guildhall on February 22 and 23 and then tour the city.
Mr Jinman said: "We want this (the Scott commemorations) to have a social impact, particularly targeting children who will be starting primary school next year. We want all children to know about Scott and be inspired by him and have aspirations of their own."
That spirit of adventure could change their employability and boost entrepreneurism in a city currently heavily dependent on the public sector, he said.
Scott and his team battled 800miles on foot across the ice to the southernmost point on Earth only to discover they had been beaten in the quest to be the first to the pole by Norwegian Roald Amundsen's party.
Scott and companions returned through freak weather and died only about 11 miles from safety. The story of their bravery and spirit remains one of the greatest tales in the history of human exploration.

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