Friday, December 21, 2012

Lost campsite used by Scott's Antarctic expedition found after 100 years

A campsite used by members of Captain Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition has been found - a century after Scott and his team perished on the journey to the South Pole.

Yahoo! News - Scott's entire team perished on the return trip from the South Pole in 1912 (Image: SWNS)

A campsite used by members of Captain Scott's doomed Antarctic expedition has been found - a century after Scott and his team perished on the journey to the South Pole.

Scott and four companions reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, only to discover they had been beaten there by another team led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

On the 1500km journey way back to base on the coast of Antarctica the entire team died, including Captain Scott himself, Captain Laurence Oates, Edgar Evans, Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson in March 1912.

The survivors back at base camp set out to recover the bodies but could not return home as their ship would not arrive until January the following year.

While they waited, the base camp team continued work by scaling the continent’s second highest volcano, Mount Erebus, to complete a geological study.

The site, pictured in 1912, and as it is today (Image: SWNS)

Geologist Professor Frank Debenham had the idea of creating a polar research institute while on the trek.

Now a camp which the team made on the peak's upper slopes has been discovered by explorers, 100 years after it was last used.

The new expedition was led by Professor Clive Oppenheimer, who re-enacted the Scott expedition's ascent, using written accounts and pictures from the time.

Prof Oppenheimer, a volnacologist at the University of Cambridge, found rings of stones that Scott's team built around their tents to keep the pegs firmly in the ground.

But the rest of the camp had disappeared completely.

He said: "I was tremendously excited to discover the campsite. In my mind’s eye, I saw the four men fussing around their tent.

"Transposing again the historic photographs on the snowy stretch in front of me, I couldn’t help smiling and saying ‘hello boys’."

UK and New Zealand authorities are now working to get official protection for the site.

Philippa Foster Back, granddaughter of Prof Debenham and chair of The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust said the discovery was "wonderful".

She said: "It is a reminder of both the dangers and thrills of Antarctic science and a fitting tribute to the great legacies of exploration and discovery left to us by all the brave men of that party."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sir Ranulph expedition ship arrives in Canary Wharf

Sir Ranulph expedition ship arrives in Canary Wharf
By Rob Virtue on November 30, 2012 11:50 AM |

A ship aiming to be part of the first ever trans-Antarctic winter crossing has docked in Wood Wharf.

Led by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the Coldest Journey expedition will see the specially adapted SA Agulhas travel nearly 2000 miles in almost complete darkness and in tempretures of minus 90 degrees celcius in a never before attempted challenge.

During its time in Canary wharf, the ship will be loaded with vital equipment and supplies for the journey.

The project team which includes Brian Newham, Ian Prickett, Spencer Smirl, Richmond Dykes and Dr Robert Lambert will carry out scientific experiments whilst on the ice and also raise money for Seeing Is Believing, an internationl charity focused on tackling avoidable blindness.

Sir Ranulph said: "Seeing is Believing is a cause very dear to me. Having experienced temporary snow blindness myself in the past, I've had a glimpse into what it would be like to lose my sight. It's absolutely frightening. I was moved by the challenge of eliminating avoidable blindness and I wanted to be a part of it.

"The Coldest Journey has the potential to make a real impact towards the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness around the world."

The journey will begin on 21 March 2013 at the winter equinox and could be 68-year-old Sir Ranulph's final expedition.