The Mission. Scott, his men and the horses rest today and review progress so it’s a good time to assess the journey so far. The expedition has both an exploration and scientific nature to it and we are concentrating on one exploration element of a much more complex
mission. Amundsen was at the Antarctic for one single purpose, reach the south pole first. The Terra Nova left the UK in June 1910 and after calling at South Africa and New Zealand, to stock up on supplies and pick up horses, they left for the Antarctic in November. The cargo was, 3 motor sledges, 34 dogs, 19 horses. Two dogs and 1 horse never make it to the Antarctic as they were lost during a storm. In December they meet pack ice and in January 1911 they arrive on the continent and Scott renames the landing ‘Cape Evans’. A hut is built but a Tractor is lost through the ice. Over the next few months
exploration and scientific tasks are undertaken and Scott starts heading south
putting down the depots they will use the following year for the attempt on the
pole. They settle down for a dark, cold winter but in June Cherry-Garrard, Bowers and Wilson undertake ‘The Winter Journey’ to collect penguin eggs and trial food and rations. These men survive ‘The Worst Journey in the World’ with temperatures sometimes at -77. In September Scott shares his plans, 16 men will leave for the Beardmore
Glacier with Horses, Tractors and Dogs. At the foot of the Glacier the horses will be shot and the dogs return leaving 12 men to climb the Glacier and begin the long march across the plateau. They will man-haul in 3 teams of 4 with supporting groups returning leaving one group to make the last leg to the pole. In October Teddy Evans heads off with the Tractors with Lashly, Day and Hooper. On the 1st November Scott and those leading horses leave Cape Evans with the plan that the dog teams would set off several days later. After 15
days they arrive at One Ton Depot, the weather has been worse than expected and
they have lost time.
November 16th 1911. A rest day for men and horses. The horses
were comfortable behind snow walls and wearing rugs. The loads were
redistributed so that the weaker horses carried less. Temperature – 15.
Commentary. Scott’s plan had not survived intact once the march had begun.
Many have criticised Scott for not being prepared for changes and yet as a
naval officer he must have been used to such moments and events. The weather is
an unpredictable as an enemy, you know it’s there but not sure exactly what its
going to do. There was contingency in Scott’s planning, but at what point does
the overwhelming nature of the enemy overcome all your best efforts ?