The Amateur. There is a paragraph in the Meredith Hooper book that describes how the British team prepare for the work and skills required. ‘Everyone who came south was expected to manage by doing, to learn by finding out.Suffer snowblindness, learn to wear goggles,. Get frostbitten, then learn to put on wind proof jacket and helmet. Trip over each other in the tent then learn proper tent discipline. Several men had already cut a hand badly, butchering seals. Learn a way of holding the knife or make adjustments to the handle so it didn’t slip. But there was also the seductive pleasure of the hierarchy of knowing, with its own useful tension of competitiveness. Combined with an established tradition of distrust and distaste for overt professionalism and a delight in the business of being an amateur, it was a potent mix. The practice of amateurism amused, it engaged the energies. And it implied, by definition, inherent superiority’.
Scott’s journal 15th January 1912. The air clears and the sun comes out, the temperature rises and the pulling during the day was hard. Scott decides to leave another depot and they move on with only 4 days food and now the load is light. The pull after lunch was easier as much from the lighter load and the way the load can be loaded. Even with the mix of sastrugi they managed 12 miles by the end of the day. They are now 27 miles form the pole and Scott now mentions the risk of the ‘appalling possibility the sight of a Norwegian flag forestalling ours’. Scott is impressed again by Bowers who continues to work hard during the march and then work out their position and navigation while the others rest in the tent, ‘we ought to do it now’.
Commentary. The professional / amateur discussion seems to be used to take a very British joy in the victory but used as a hammer is failure. Scott is a immersed in both success and failure and but not just here at the south pole. Scott’s naval career was equally diverse with a risk to his position after a serious collision when he commanding a Royal Navy ship. In his career and life Scott had a mixture of both but came back from everything, was this determination or a lack of self awareness of his limitations ?