Cold. Scott is reporting that the men are feeling cold and yet the temperature has increased ? Feeling the cold may be another sign that they are not well nourished and have pushed their bodies to the extreme.
Scott’s Journal 12th January 1912. Another hard day manhauling with soft snow and a very difficult start to the day and only 10 miles covered. They had a brief good spell when the surface was good and this has reassured Scott that the men can pull if the surface is right. But the hard pulling is having and impact and Scott notes ‘one gets horribly sick of the monotony and can easily imagine oneself getting played out’. But Scott is revived at the lunch and night camps even though making the miles is hard. ‘It is an effort to keep up the double figures, but if we can do so for another 4 marches we should get through. It is going to be a close thing’. They camped and Scott records, ‘everyone was chilled and we guessed a cold snap, but to our surprise the actual temperature was higher than last night’. Scott is surprised by the men feeling the cold but does acknowledge that tiredness may be part of the cause as well as a dampness in the air. ‘Little Bowers is wonderful’ Scott records of his companion and Bowers pulls as hard as anyone, still undertakes his navigation duties and is of course still without ski. They are 63 miles from the pole but Scott wishes for a better surface.
Commentary. Scott’s comments are so focussed on the pole, almost as if getting to the pole was the end objective. Getting back safely from the pole was the mission. In Hooper’s book about Campbell’s long winter in the ice cave she comments on previous expeditions and the changing fortunes, circumstances and decisions that have preceded these current antarctic explorers. ‘Decisions, as always, depended on a shifting tranche of options, on newly emerging factors in the complex business of running an expedition’. Scott was, as previous expedition leaders had been, caught in the middle of such options and factors. Scott now finds himself in an incredible and lonely place, both in the environment of the plateau and within himself. Fiennes describes Scott as, ‘like the majority of mankind, (he) was not a so called natural leader of men. Asserting himself over others did not come easily, so he had to learn the process’. If Fiennes is right, if Scott is naturally more ordinary than extraordinary then he deserves even greater appreciation of what he achieved. If leading was easy for Scott his achievements would still be great, the fact that leadership was so unnatural, difficult and personally costly to him makes he accomplishments incredible.