A Walk to the Pole

Private British expedition tracing Scott’s trip in 1985, with Roger Mear, Robert Charles Swan, and Graeme Phippen, who walked from Cape Evans to the Pole. Did they have a copy of Cherry-Garrard with them? They quote from it frequently. They spent several days at Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, though they apparently were afraid to sleep in it. Given their views of the Scott expedition that may not be surprising.

p. 74-75: Each area of the hut holds its secrets. There are rough clothes made from sail cloth by the marooned Ross Sea Party, black with soot from the seal blubber they were forced to burn for light and heat. A collarless linen shirt with thin blue stripes bears the name of Lieutenant Edward Evans, after whom this Cape was named. There are ragged copies of Illustrated London News, Tit-bits, and the autobiography of Babbacome Lee, ‘the man they could not hang’, [couldn’t find this in RLIN] and a stuffed Emperor Penguin. Only Scott’s enclosed ‘den’ is a disappointment. It is bare and empty. The rusting wire bed is stripped and sagging. The books have gone and the framed pictures of his wife and son have been removed….

p. 105, after three days in a hut: Anyway, I was reading, with a torch inside my sleeping bag. I was immersed in the tragic unrequited love of Anna of the Five Towns…. [Arnold Bennett].

p. 118: The weather next day confined us to the hut, reading by candlelight dog-eared paperbacks found on a shelf over the shuttered window. I got through The Making of a Psychiatrist and The Space Egg, Mike tackled An Introduction to Jung’s Psychology and Gareth read Taylor Caldwell’s Dear and Glorious Physician, the romantic biography of St Luke.

p. 133: One afternoon, having eaten lunch, we sat quietly around the table, Mike reading Women in Love [Lawrence], John listening to some recordings he had made of the sounds of moving sea-ice. Suddenly, a large tin of strawberries exploded spontaneously….