Tom Crean. A hero of Polar exploration and as well as serving with Scott on the Discovery expedition he would join Shackleton in 1914 on the Endurance trip. His bravery and strength will see him save Teddy Evans later in this story and go on and crossSouth Georgia with Shackleton. He is well placed to tell the story of both these leaders and his biography by Michael Smith is unique in that respect. He retired toIreland and opened a pub named the ‘South Pole Inn’ and it remains in Annascaul to this very day. Whatever is discussed about the leadership of Scott and Shackleton one thing connects them, they both trusted Tom Crean.
Tom Crean with ‘Bones’ – picture from Wikimedia Commons
Scotts Journal November 23rd 1911. 150 miles from theBeardmore Glacier and Scott has confidence in the horses ‘getting through’, but later in the entry expresses some doubt. Scott notes that if one or more of the horses deteriorate quickly then they will be in ‘queer street’. The surface seemed to be the same as yesterday with some improvement as the march went on. Scott is worried a blizzard may be moving in and notes that the forage won’t last if they are delayed.
Commentary. After the Discovery expedition Scott’s notes were compiled and a book written on the journey. There maybe elements of the journal that reflect this truth. His optimism with the horse’s supports his decision to take them on the trip and in his concern over their performance prepares for their failure. This maybe harsh on Scott but the story the journal tells of the horses varies so wildly. The men are concerned to get the horses past the point at which Shackleton killed his first horse Scott must have been considering other comparisons to the Shackleton march. They were now several days behind Shackletons progress, tractors failed, the performance of the horses is variable, the weather worse than expected and One Ton depot 30 miles north of the original plan. But the dogs continue to be a success story. Scott must be feeling the pressure of leadership at this point, how many setbacks will it take to call of the attempt this year ?