Scott 100 Day 82 21st January 1912 : Calories Per Man

Calories Per Man. Teddy Evans, Crean and Lashly are just getting to the bottom of the Beardmore on this day. Lashly did not have his diary published but offered it to Cherry-Garrard who incorporated it into his book. Lashly reports, that Evan’s has bad eyes and that now Lashly is following the outward tracks to avoid Evan’s having to give direction. Lashly also notes that they all feel proud of their performance and they must have been in good heart as he reports Tom Crean singing as he puts snow on the tent to hold it down. They leave a note for Scott, wishing him a speedy journey and then Lashly declares that none of them mind the struggle and as Crean says ‘its all for the good of science’. It is interesting to follow the return of the others as they are taking supplies from the depots and also trying to restock some. It is especially important to acknowledge that Evan’s, Lashly and Crean were also trying to ensure they took rations for 3 and not 4 men as originally planned. All the rations were calculated evenly per man no matter what his physical size. Fiennes states that this is not the problem that some would belive. In the Barczewski book that looks at the legacy of Scott and Shackleton there is a notion that someone like PO Evans would require 300 – 500 more calories a day than a man of the size of Scott.

Scott’s Journal January 21st 1912. As Scott feared they woke to find themselves in a blizzard. They decide not to march due to the high risk of losing their track. They were prepared to sit out the day but in the afternoon the situation improved and so after clearing the snow and ice off their equipment they set off. They made 6 miles and the surface is very poor with new sastrugi and the elevation is now rising. Scott now expects a difficult march over the next few days, it’s 45 miles to the next food depot and they have food for 6 days. Then they pick up 7 days of food and head for Three Degree Depot. They have to work hard to spot the cairns they made on the march south. Scott believes they ought to be safe once at Three Degree and the difficulty in spotting the cairns should be removed once they can get a rating sight for their watches and can travel independent of the track.

Commentary. The evidence on calories per man does seem to contradict. Some writers have said that in these conditions and with the rations they had, every man was taking on all the calories their bodies could deal with (there is a physical limit) others state it is clear that a mans size would indicate greater calorie consumption. What is most interesting is that even with modern nutritionists and experts who have evidence and research coming out of their ears, people can’t agree on Scott’s story. What is clear is that they were on the ice a long time, without a full and varied diet. A combination of overall nutritional deficit, fatigue and injury took its toll. This discussion in the Antarctic books is an interesting reminder of the balance between evidence, being right and the unexplainable nature of people, narrative and belief. It is not logic, evidence or policy that make people believe, although it can make them compliant, it is something more. The leader needs to understand that having evidence and ‘being right’ is not enough, more is needed to take people with you. It is this other element that is explored in the study of leadership while the compliance to evidence, systems and policy is the study of management.

About hutpoint

Interested in leadership, teamwork, resistance, perseverence and change. A former senior nurse dedicated to learning from and sharing with other flawed humans.
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