The Scott Expedition: The Final Stage

  • As Ben and Tarka begin the final 418 mile stretch, HRH Prince Harry sends them a message of supportThe Ross Ice Shelf
    Above: The Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica

    Last week marked the 102nd anniversary of the arrival of the original Terra Nova expedition, led by Captain Robert Scott, at the South Pole.

    On Boxing Day 2013, Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere reached the same point and are now well on their way to becoming the first people to complete Scott’s ill-fated journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, following the Terra Nova route. The gruelling 1,800 mile trek is now reaching its end stage; nearly 1,400 miles and 88 days in, both Ben and Tarka find themselves at the very limit of their endurance.

    “We’re both hungrier than ever, which I wasn’t expecting after the amount we refuelled following our resupply,” says Ben. “I suspect our bodies have so little fat or superfluous muscle they can turn into fuel that we’re almost totally reliant on what we eat to keep us going now.” Tarka commented that dragging a sledge full of food around and yet being hungry all day is a pretty effective form of torture.

  • Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere
    Now just 418 miles from their goal, the pair have received a welcome morale-boosting message from HRH Prince Harry: “One hundred and two years ago today Captain Scott reached the South Pole. As his expedition tragically demonstrated, such a trek sits at the very limit of human endeavour. You’re well on your way to completing what Scott attempted; I wish you both the very best of luck for the rest of the journey. You guys will be an inspiration to the next generation as Scott has been to his.”

    Ben says he is “deeply honoured” the Prince is among those following the pair’s journey.HRH is of course no stranger to polar endeavour, having completed an expedition to the South Pole with the charity Walking with the Wounded late last year. Port would like to echo his sentiments and wish Ben and Tarka a successful and safe return leg of their incredible journey. We look forward to welcoming them back to these shores in late February.

    Ben Saunders is blogging throughout his 1,800-mile, four month unsupported return journey, following Scott’s exact route. You can follow his progress here.

    Above: Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere