On this day : The 29th of March 1912

Captain Scott dies

download (35)

After reaching the South Pole, mealtime conversations could not have been comfortable in the Terra Nova camp. Firstly, they were beaten to it by a Norwegian team led by the mustachioed Roald Amundsen. Secondly, there would be some doubt as to whether the five men would make it home alive. Robert Falcon Scott was lauded for his leadership of the Discovery expedition, when his ship had to be emancipated from the ice by high explosives, and his crew came some way short of reaching the South Pole, but his critical failures from this previous mission were not headed entirely in preparation for Terra Nova. Amundsen was experienced in the sledge, and was at peace with his route. Scott, using a complicated cavalcade of caravans, motors, dogs and ponies, was under pressure. Scott was criticised for not having a strategy that made the most of his dogs. Confusion through the Terra Nova team became critical when faced with the Antarctic’s merciless climate. Biting, sub-zero winds and blizzards: this was no picnic. And on discovering Amundsen’s victory, Scott may well have challenged traditional notions of Hell, replacing fire and brimstone for ice, snow and wind.
Relations were strained. Rivalry, driven by ego, and perhaps by fear, would have chilled the team’s working and personal relationship with Scott – but now, in the fight to stay alive after losing what had become a race for the South Pole , they would have been as frosty as the outside air temperature. Five men reached the pole: Edward Wilson , H. R. Bowers, Lawrence Oates , Edgar Evans and, of course, Scott. The five men were five weeks behind Amundsen and had had to retrace 800 miles of their own steps. In rugby parlance, these were hard yards. Tired, hungry, and rigid with the cold, none would make it back alive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.