Apsley Cherry Garrard. The story of Scott is all about the people involved and while names such as Scott and Oates are legendary as you explore further you find an amazing number of truly fascinating characters. Wilson, Teddy Evans and Amundsen have already been identified but the list goes on. For very specific reasons it seems right to introduce Apsley Cherry Garrard now the team are at One Ton. Apsley Cherry Garrard was born to
wealthy stock, who became even more wealthy during his lifetime, and he enjoyed
all the upbringing of a English gentleman. Educated at Winchester, Christ Church College Oxford and with a distinguished soldier for a father. In 1908 he met Edward Wilson, who
was with Scott on his first expedition, and became determined to join Scott’s next trip south. Scott’s trip to the Antarctic had numerous objectives and while remembered for the march to the pole there were other equally as impressive and harrowing journeys that took place. During the winter of 1911 Apsley Cherry Garrard took part in one of those trips with Wilson and Bowers. His account of that trip and his expedition experience is told in the best book written on the whole adventure, ‘The Worst Journey in the World’. It was my
first read on the subject and remains the best.
November 15th 1911. Over a better surface Scott and his men arrived at One Ton Depot. Chinaman was ‘pretty tired’ but all the other horses made good progress. After a discussion they decided to give the horses a days rest and then push forward making 13 miles a day. Oates thinks that the horses will ‘get through’ but they have lost condition quicker than expected. Scott comments on Oates usual pessimism and so he becomes hopeful and states that he thinks the horses are in better condition than when they started the trip. They find another note at the depot from Teddy Evans who was making very good progress. The march to One Ton had been visually impressive and the scientific enquiry within the group is obvious. Scott describes how the weather changed and they observed ‘beautiful halo rings’ around the sun. They discussed the rings and Wilson described a further ring as having an orange colour with blue interspaces and fine contrasts. The journal continues with its analysis of the weather and environment describing clouds, snowflakes and observing a mountain range 120miles away and also looked back and recognised familiar landmarks, sights they had not seen for days during the blizzards. The temperature fell to -15 last night and Scott finds a thermometer
that was left at One Ton during the winter which shows that temperatures during
the winter months reached -73, lower than expected.
Commentary. This date and this place are significant in the story. Scott reviews and shares his plans and declares that no horses are going to climb up the Beardmore Glacier.
The first would be shot in 9 days and all shot by the foot of the Beardmore. They make seal liver depots in readiness for consumption on the return journey. One Ton is a significant place for Garrard and his time there will haunt him for the rest of his life, but not because of this visit. Garrard comments in his book that at the top of the Glacier Atkinson told him Oates had a limp from an old wound and did not want to go on. Scott was not told, not for the first time key information would be held back from Scott, if he had Garrard believes
he would have been asked to go forward instead of Oates and history may have been very different. Garrard returned as the final party headed for the pole but later he would be sent out with the dogs to try and meet the returning party with supplies. His orders were to go to One Ton Depot and wait, this he did. He was tempted to go further but did not, Scott’s party did not show and he returned to base camp. When the full story came to light that his friends had died only 11 miles for One Ton Garrard was distressed and his actions
haunted him for the rest of his life. When they returned to England it was clear the authorities wanted to secure the Scott story in a particular way and asked Garrard to write the official account, he refused. Later he wrote ‘The Worst Journey in the World’ a book with a fascinating perspective of the history we think we know. Official spin, control of the story, not telling the truth in a hierarchical system and the explicit order obeyed rather than the overall intent communicated. All issues modern leaders must deal with, how much has really changed over the last 100 years ?