Home Safe. The team that left Scott on the Beardmore to return to Hutpoint arrived back today. They were home safe and now started to assess their journey, their condition and the expectations Scott has for them and the dogs. On the same day at 4am the Norwegians arrived back at their camp, they stopped the sledges, tended to the dogs and walked calmly into the hut. One of those at the hut was awake and Amundsen simply asked ‘do you have any coffee for us’. The celebrations and joy of that small group are described by one of the party as a memory to last a lifetime. The Norwegian flag was raised on their hut and out at sea their ship, The Fram, saw the signal and came inland. Amundsen is said to have commented that he had no great tales of deprivation or struggle, and the trip had gone like a dream. The Norwegians quickly began to prepare to leave the antarctic and so ended the greatest of polar journeys. They would be off the ice in a few days and on their way to tell the world of their achievement.
Scott’s Journal 26th January 1912. Scott woke the men early but was still disappointed with the start time – ‘we must have fewer delays’ he states. There was a good breeze and snow drifts but the tracks continued to hold for the start of today’s march. Later in the day the tracks disappeared and they searched for their previous cairns, spotting one they began to head for it and then spotted another cairn further north and so headed for that. It was Bowers again who spotted the feature. Scott notes that the outward path must have been a ‘bad course’ at this point. Signs of their previous tracks reappear as the day draws to a close and Scott ‘hopes to goodness’ they will be able to follow it tomorrow. Scott records the distance marched at 16 miles but that only 15. 4 of them were good.
Commentary. Scott’s comment on good miles indicates they did some zig zagging to keep on track and find cairns. This is not new as it has been a part of the trip from the outset, but Scott recording it is. This maybe another indication of the concern Scott is starting to feel about their progress as he would also have liked a quicker start from camp today. There is a pattern in the journal at the moment, as if Scott was connecting the days events to continue to build an image of him and the expedition. The finding of tracks is a reported as being difficult just before the success of the cairns, slow to get started today but tomorrows journal will indicate how swift they can get on the march. Is this just a record of a continuing ever changing situation or is Scott providing examples of his successful techniques, plans and leadership ? It could be about legacy but it may also be about providing a message for himself to keep going. When he writes that they ‘don’t worry when they can’t find the tracks’ I am sure he does worry, is concerned and mighty relived when they get back on the march. Scott needs to continue to believe, to ensure he can continue to drive his men that little extra each and every day. Now the unreasonableness of Scott would come to the fore, pushing for an extra mile each day and a few minutes quicker into the harness may make all the difference.