Scott100 Day 4 First tractor breaks down

Hut Point is now a distant memory as the group move forward. Hut Point was not the winter accomadation for the men as it had been for Scotts first expedition on The Discovery in 1901/1904 but it is the last shelter for the group before tents became their only protection from the elements. During the Discovery trip a crew member lost his life and there is a memorial to George Vince at Hut Point. There is now a large reserach facility called McMurdo Station. In 1911 Scott’s second, in command, Edward Wilson, painted the Hut and his pictures can be seen on the SPRI (Scott Polar Research Institutes) website

The group set off from camp in stages in what was becoming a settled order and spacing as some of the horses were stronger than others. Scott first then followed by Atkinson and then Bowers with Oates and the rest after that. It seems amazing that with the technology of the day they could follow in each others paths at some distance and even more incredible that they found depots of supplies they left out the previous year. Some following of previous tracks helped, but these could be covered by snow, so mainly done with navigation skills. Many of the group were from the navy and accurate positioning and navigation appears to be a matter of pride to the men.

They pick up a note left by the team that are ahead of then with the Tractors, it says they are making good progress. However, within a few miles things started going wrong for the Tractors and 4 miles later Scott came across a note saying ‘big end gone’ and within half a mile they came across the abandoned Tractor. The Tractor team had carried on with just one Tractor but Scott notes that the ‘dream’ of getting a great help from the Tractors is over. He also comments that he now expects to come across the second Tractor every hour of their journey. This was a setback for Scott and his response is interesting. He was known to become down and depressed at times and these moods could be quite serious, sometimes referred to as his ‘black dog’ moments. Was this simply a journal note, was it slightly humourous, a dark laugh at the disappointment or was it typical of Scott’s response to adverse events ?.

The horses are still going well but the surface appears to be softer than they had considered and they are having to work hard. Chinaman and Jehu seem to be suffering the most and are described as ‘crocks’. The wind was crisp and blowing when they camped with a temperature of -7. What must it have been like to sleep in those conditions in a tent ?

About hutpoint

Interested in leadership, teamwork, resistance, perseverence and change. A former senior nurse dedicated to learning from and sharing with other flawed humans.
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