Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Quilted Seaweed Anyone?

One hundred years ago today a heroic group of English men had trekked across the Antarctic to the South Pole only to have their jubilation taken away – Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian team had arrived five weeks earlier ....

Scott’s party at the South Pole,
18 January 1912. 
L to R: (standing) Oates, Scott, Wilson,
(seated) Bowers, Edgar Evans.
... the bleak perils of pioneering exploration a hundred years ago exemplified by being beaten to the line ...  no wonder Scott wrote:  (17th January 1912)

The Pole.  Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected.  We have had a horrible day .... this is an awful place and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority.  Well it is something to have got here ....  Now the run home and a desperate struggle.  I wonder if we can do it ..... "

The Oxo food company was one of
many commercial sponsors
of the expedition.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868 – 1912) rose rapidly through the ranks, being recommended as commander of the National Antarctic Expedition before he was 30 in 1898, where he proved himself both as an intrepid and able leader, but more importantly to us one hundred years later a competent scientific investigator.

Scott's Hut
Scott’s base camp hut – which had been prefabricated back home and shipped out – was insulated with seaweed sewn into a quilt, placed between double-planked inner and outer walls.  The roof is a sandwich of three layers of plank and two layers of rubber ply enclosing more quilted seaweed.

The trip had been planned as best possible for those days – transport was looked at – Siberian horses, huskies, wooden sleds, wooden skis, sheepskins for the bedding, thick woollen jumpers, plenty of food and I mean plenty ...

... Scott was a leader amongst men, he went about the business of enabling the expedition – travelling the country raising funds, interviewing team members, establishing his plans with such fervour.

Lawrence 'Titus' Oates with
his horses - taken by Ponting
Herbert George Ponting was considered one of the finest travel photographers of the age and thought of himself as a photographic artist.  Ponting remembered that he warmed to Scott for his enthusiasm. 

Scott told him of his plans for scientific research – for geology, zoology, biology, meteorology, physiography and for photography – it was to be a special department: and so it was – as we know today in 2012.

Ponting trained Scott and his men in photography ... the results were revolutionary, as the camera took over from the pencil as the most accurate means of recording the Antarctic landscapes and the explorers.

An iceberg adrift off the
coast of the peninsula
Ponting ensured that Scott and Bowers (the appointed photographer for that last fateful trip) could release the shutter by means of a long thread ... so that all who reached the Pole might appear in the group photo.

The Expedition set out – the scientific members as well as those five selected for the final push to the Pole ... and today we have a greater understanding and appreciation of the rigours to achieve that goal.

Those five perished, but other team members and Ponting with his photographs returned to England ... he then toured with his “Mr Herbert G Ponting’s Cinema Lecture with Captain Scott in the Antarctic”.

Scott’s Discovery hut at Hut Point, used as a shelter
and stores depot during the Terra Nova expedition 
Antarctica, attics and family archives are releasing their secrets of Scott’s expeditionary force ...  in 2009 a stash of 100 year old butter was unearthed, and there are still dozens of wooden boxes hidden beneath the permafrost – as the base-camp hut was tiny (50ft x 25ft {15m x 7.5m}) ... they took out 8,000 items of original expedition gear!

A Weddell Seal
Ben Fogle says in his report about the hut – the first thing I noticed was the odour and the silence, no wind howl.  In Antarctica there is generally no smell – but in the hut aromas of old leather, pipe smoke, wood and horses, still linger – along with a deep, powerful musty smell – this he learnt later was blubber.

The seal blubber used for lamp fuel and food, was still piled in a corner ... as well as thousands of items of Edwardian food.  Tins of sardines, ox tongue and Heinz baked beans are stacked next to tins of Huntley and Palmers biscuits.

Emperor Penguins
The cabin was so well equipped that it was used for another two years by the men of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Ross Sea expedition who were stranded from their ship in 1915 ... thanks to Scott’s ample supplies, they survived in relative comfort.  Shackleton before his return in 1917 had the hut put in order and locked up.

As we know the weather conditions were appalling and Scott never made it back to base and safety – they all perished ... their bodies were recovered and decently buried near the hut – Scott’s journal was removed from his body.

The Antarctic is releasing its secrets, while the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is working tirelessly to preserve Scott’s Hut in situ – though a replica has been set up at the new Exhibition opening at the National History Museum.

The earth, as we know, is constantly moving and one day those entombed bodies will reach the sea, having finally completed their journey from the South Pole. And Scott, the captain, will finally be buried at sea.

Scott's  "Army and Navy" Thin Pocket Diary
1910 - the entries are terse and limited to little
more than times, dates and names and places
The Natural History’s Exhibition will reveal the powerful tales of endurance and celebrate their many scientific achievements, while allowing site of original artefacts used by Scott and his team.

Today we are probing into the hot volcanic waters below the Antarctic icecap to further our knowledge – now that we have polar thermal wear to protect us against the extremes of weather; then with new technologies ... so that tongue tips don’t get stuck and left behind on brass camera knobs, as happened to Ponting a century ago ... we are opening the polar horizons to our 21st century scientists.

Memorial window in Binton Church,
Warwickshire, one of four panels.
This one depicts the cairn erected
over the site of Scott’s last tent.
Yet – Scott helped reveal that Antarctica was once part of the supercontinent, Gondwana, after Glossopteris Indica (one of the collected fossilised samples) was duly classified.

Lawrence Oates’ saying as he left the team’s tent .. in the hope that the last three member would be able to continue “I am just going outside and may be some time” ...

Scott had written ‘Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.  These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale’. 

The heroic sacrifice of this small band of men who were willing to give their lives to science and discovery ... were at the South Pole 100 years ago today.

However I don’t think I’ll be trying to quilt seaweed any time soon ....!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Old Kitty said...

I think one of the most eeriest scenes in Frozen Planet was the "mummified" hut where the Scott party stayed with tins of food still left as they were all those decades ago. Such an amazing story really - so legendary - I mean I learned of Oates famous last words well before I understood the scale of the tragedy or who Oates was and what the words he said truly signified!

A trip to the Natural History Museum is called for methinks!

Take care

Anonymous said...

Quilted seaweed! I don't think I'll be trying it either.

What an amazing story. Unlike Kitty, I had never heard of this. You have again, Hilary, raised my consciousness of the amazing things about this planet we live on. Ah, to be an explorer. But at least I get to learn about such people and sacrifices through you (and the Internet). As always, thank you, my friend...
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs


Something the UK can be proud of Hilary, so sad they lost their lives. A most vivd account and awesome to read.


A Lady's Life said...

heroes all,I can't imagine surviving out there in that climate.

Joanne said...

I can't even fathom the weather and earth conditions they must have tolerated, but there must've been something in their make-up that drove them to experience all this. I guess we are who we are, finding a way to be just so.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Yes, it's me, Gary, visiting from his shy, humble and unassuming site.
Once again, an article chock full of fascinating info.
Although familiar with parts of the famous trek to the South Pole, you have added that intriguing bit about the quilted seaweed. Thanks for that and a great opportunity for a few ridiculous puns from me, yes me, shy humble and unassuming.
Ah to heck with a series of puns, I need all the kelp I can get.
Cheers Hilary.
In kindness, Gary :)

Betsy Brock said...

A truly amazing story. Thanks so much for posting it along with all of the incredible photos!

helen tilston said...

Hi Hilary

This is fascinating. So sad that Scott's crew were lost. I have learned much from this post. One of my favourite books is "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing - I could not put it down. I worked for a company that sold expeditions to Antartica and one time on an anniversary, of Shackleton's trips we did a repeat of Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition. We had his nephew Jonathan Shackleton who lives in Ireland accompany the voyage. The twin daughters, from NZ, of Hurley travelled were on board. They were identical and charming. One of them was called Adelie (from penguins) I have adopted Shackleton's logo "Fortitudine Vincimus" meaning "by endurance we conquer"

Thank you for this enlightening post


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Wow! I've heard of people eating seaweed but never using it as insulation.

Thank you, Hilary, for sharing your amazing store of knowledge.

JJ said...

Those initial explorers to Antarctica were among my childhood heroes.

Susan Scheid said...

Heinz baked beans, ah! May there always be an England, even in Antarctica. Another great, info-filled post!

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

Imagine having to write such a closing sentence in ones journal. One blessing...I understand that freezing to death is painless - one simply falls asleep.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Amazing account. Thank you for putting this all together, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Old Kitty - I don't remember that part in Frozen Planet - maybe it was an episode I missed. Watching Ben Fogle's tv account was amazing .. and the developments that have occurred in 100 years.

Yes - Oates' words are indelibly etched into our minds .. but as you say - an incredible achievement and yet tragedy.

I thought you might be off to the Natural History Museum! Enjoy it ..

@ Ann - couldn't think of a title that was different ..

Their story and those of the day 100 years ago are quite amazing .. so pleased you feel you've learnt something .. there's so much I could have put in - those explorers were certainly a very determined lot.

@ Yvonne - yes you're right there - at least we have their British history .. they did it for Empire.

@ A Lady's Life - the weather conditions must have been appalling .. I too can't imagine being that cold.

@ Joanne - as above .. nor can I - it's bad enough when it just snows here! Today we have explorers .. and people following in the originators footsteps to give us an idea of the journey .. Ben Fogle rowed the Atlantic Ocean with another Olympic Rower, James Cracknell, .. and they stretched their limits. As you say - we are who we are ..

@ Gary - thank you for coming by! Great comment about the kelp you need! Your comments always give us a lighter look at life .. quilting seaweed with you might be quite fun?

Cheers to you all: Old Kitty, Ann, Yvonne, A Lady's Life, Joanne and Gary .. many thanks for commenting .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Betsy .. thank you - I'd love to be a photographer like you!

@ Helen .. thanks for the tip off for the book by Alfred Lansing - I might get it from the library.

Interesting your story about the Antarctica trips - I think my mother quite wanted to do one of those - we never made it. Those stories would make quite a few posts - and would be so interesting to read .....?

Adelie - I love her name .. and your adoption of his motto - it's a wonderful one "Fortitudine Vincimus" (endurance we conquer) .. very good choice that.

Delighted you enjoyed the post.

@ Susan - eating seaweed and using it as fertiliser .. but nor had I heard of this before. Good to see you ..

@ JJ - those explorers of yore certainly inspired our childish dreams .. and that's why Ben Fogle took the opportunity to see his hero's hut and experience the conditions near the Pole.

@ Susan - we spread ourselves in our Empire days .. it's surprising that the accepted travel fare should be still around today .. Oxo, Heinz baked beans ..

@ Amy - when I typed his words up .. the thought struck me ... their fortitude in circumstances quite beyond our understanding. I hope the end was kind to them .. thought they'd been in a kind of hell for the duration ...

@ Amy - good to see you - and glad you enjoyed it ..

Cheers Betsy, Helen, Susan, JJ, Susan, Amy and Amy .. lovely seeing you and thanks so much for commenting .. Hilary

Short Poems said...

Another great post Hilary. Heroes all, UK can be proud of.


Chase March said...

It's amazing to think that explorers only used to have pencil and paper to share their discoveries. Photographs are so much more powerful.

That hut is also a marvel. Who would have though seaweed could be used for insulation purposes. Genius!

Thanks for sharing all this info :)

Julie Flanders said...

I had not heard of this and it's fascinating. What an amazing discovery to find that camp, and I can't imagine holding that diary in my hands and reading the entries. Finding the food and butter there is so amazing too. It must have been so haunting to find all of these items, as if life and the intervening years had been frozen in time there.

I too think I will pass on the quilting seaweed! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marinela .. thank you - glad you enjoyed it.

@ Chase .. I guess they'd have had paint too .. but whether they took it with them ... certainly the official artists would have done - but as the Antarctica is mostly white -

Photography was still in its infancy then - they were using plates with chemicals to expose the photos.

The hut is extraordinary isn't it .. and seaweed .. it's such a flexible plant ...

Delighted you enjoyed the post ..

@ Julie - The camp they'd known was there .. but things keep being found or being brought together for exhibition purposes: the diary was put in auction; while the photos are now available to be seen in a book, accessible to all in this day and age.

The few who go to the Conserved Heritage site - say it's very atmospheric .. and they can 'feel' others around.

OK - no takers for quilted seaweed yet!

Thanks Marinela, Chase and Julie - delighted to see you .. cheers Hilary

MorningAJ said...

I can't imagine knowing that they were so close but unable to finish the journey. It's very sad.

Betsy Wuebker said...

Fascinating, Hilary! I am always amazed and humbled by these accounts. Shackleton's story I'd known a bit more about. When I visited Norway many moons ago, I was surprised to see how well-preserved many of the artifacts unearthed and displayed at the National Museum in Lillehammer were after being buried beneath the perma-frost: leather, meat, etc. Really amazing. Your description of Scott's hut provoked that memory. :)

Southpaw said...

You have to be really adventuresome to make a trek like that.

Boy, seaweed can be used for lots of stuff, huh?

jabblog said...

I heard an interesting programme on the radio a few days ago. Captain Oates spent a good deal of time with the ponies on board and the men used to come in from time to time to fuss them. They were fond of their ponies but they were completely unsuited to the task.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Those darn Norwegians ...;-) What an interesting tale! I'm not up for those cold treks, so I admire those who had that sense of adventure and courage. I think I must highlight your blog next time I do one like I did today - you share such amazing and interesting stories.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anne .. I wonder how much they knew at the end. Yet Sir Ranulph Fiennes was saying that if Oates and Bowers had admitted to their injuries prior to departure - they wouldn't have been chosen ... and thus not held the journey up .. who knows .. then they'd all been alive. & see next comment re Shackleton ..

@ Betsy .. Shackleton was 'shallow' apparently - as he used Scott's food source, he wasn't doing scientific investigations, or collections .. and one half of his expedition - that going from New Zealand to Antarcica was doomed - he was a very poor planner.

The artefacts buried in the frozen parts of the world - survive a long time .. it's dry - now they're experiencing climate warming .. moisture is creeping in and destroying items ...

The Lillehammer exhibition must be amazing .. and I'd love to go sometime ... better get to London first!

@ Holly - you certainly do .. and truly exploratorily pioneering .. and how right you are .. seaweed has amazing uses ...

@ Janice - you're right .. I sort of ran out of word space to include Oates relationship with his animals ... and the connections Scott had via his wife .. and also their son - who is pretty special .. perhaps another post. Sadly the horses were completely the wrong choice of transport ..

@ Melissa - it seems Scott came out on top (even though he was 2nd) .. I wonder if it was because he was English and the English language was even then the global language - ... who knows .. our legacy - for now.

Many thanks - delighted if you think the posts are that worthy .. well perhaps honoured is more the point ..

So pleased to see you Anne, Betsy, Holly, Janice and Melissa .. thanks for commenting .. cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

This was such a tragic tale. I remember seeing the film of Scott's last journey when I was at High School, and bawling my eyes out. Antarctica is very real to New Zealanders, and only yesterday I spoke to someone who had just been there. A dramatic, harsh yet beautiful land by all accounts. I never knew about the seaweed! You do unearth some fascinating facts Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - it is a case too far - yet they were so near to finishing .. I wonder if they'd finished (and been second) whether their memories would have survived so long ..

Your friend's visit must have been so interesting to find out about .. the tv does it justice to a point - but the camera can bring so much to light for us to see. Then the wildlife they find and film ..

Lovely to hear from you .. and the seaweed that's the hook - isn't it!

Cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Yikes, quilted seaweed! Um, no.

This is fascinating, Hilary. On Frozen Planet, they went into the hut, too. I can't believe the kind of weather conditions Scott's team had to endure.

The Blonde Duck said...

This reminds me of Madeline L'Engle's book "Troubling a Star."

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

A great adventure that has spawned many books.

Unknown said...

What touching last words.

My son recently told me the story of this expedition. What a tale. I didn't know they could build a hut of seaweed but how fascinating.

Thanks for another informative article.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the history lesson Hilary. I was not familiar with many of the details about Scott's expidition that you included--sounds like Shakleton owed him quite a bit.

Davina Haisell said...

Hi Hilary. This was a fascinating read! I've never heard of seaweed being used as an insulator. It just amazes me at the things people invent. I'd love to try that 100-year-old butter!

I'm glad that they've made a replica of his hut too. That would be *something* to see.

I saw the move March of the Penguins and was caught up in the harshness of the environment and how they took care of their young. That photo you've used in this post looks like it came from that movie.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talli .. well I tried to tempt you with quilting seaweed - you being a Canadian!

I missed that part of the Frozen Planet programme ...the weather can be just terrible down there - and they hit a really bad year.

@ Blonde Duck - I've never heard of Madeline L'Engle's book, but looked at Wiki and read the info .. sounds interesting .. thank you.

@ Richard - I'm sure you're right there .. boys own adventures of varying sorts over the years. Scott definitely made others want to follow him to the end of the earth .. he must have spawned many admirers.

@ Clarissa - great that they're still teaching the kids his story .. and what amazing last words .. fascinating ..

They used reindeer sleeping bags, with tweed caps to keep their heads warm ... and kept insulated with quilted seaweed - it is fascinating isn't it.

@ Slamdunk - many thanks .. it's been very interesting putting together the snippets - and I think you're right about Shackleton owing Scott a great deal - probably his life too ...

@ Davina - good to see you, and like you I was amazed with the seaweed .. but also what they took with them. I too wouldn't mind trying the butter - I wonder if it's very different to today's version?

The Natural History exhibition I am sure will be very interesting ..

I took my uncle with my goddaughter to see March of the Penguins - and they both loved it! That photo is a Wiki special!! as are most of mine ...

Wonderful to come back to some informative comments - thanks so much .. Talli, BD, Richard, Clarissa, Slamdunk and Davina - enjoy Friday .. cheers Hilary

scribbleandedit.blogspot.co.uk said...

Isn't seaweed wonderful!

I found the descriptions of the hut,the odours and the last written words of Scott immensely atmospheric. It's enough to give me goosebumps!
Inspirational, indeed.

nutschell said...

What a fascinating story. Can't imagine all the hardships it took just to get those photographs out to the public. I'd love to see them for myself one day! Thanks for another wonderfully informative post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Madeleine .. seaweed does offer so much and obviously did 100 years ago.

Thanks the descriptions are wonderful aren't they - we can still smell things and feel we're there .. as you say immensely atmospheric ..

The write ups and tv programmes have been exceptional .. reminding us of so much ..

@ Nutschell .. good to see you - glad you enjoyed the story. The photos were recently found - that's what is just so wonderful .. and as you say - we can actually get to see them ... they've lasted 100 years.

Thanks so much Madeleine and Nutschell .. glad you enjoyed the information in the post .. cheers Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- You amaze me with how you tell us about history and make it so fascinating. While I knew the basic story about Scott, you filled in so many visual and sensory details of their quest.

Even though it ended in death; as you pointed out, it remains a testament to the search for knowledge. I wonder if Scott could ever have imagined someone named Hilary would someday write a post about his quest and it would be published instantly for the world to see. I think he'd be proud.

Thank you for sharing this:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. it's my plagiarising again from various sources! But it enhances my enjoyment of acquiring the knowledge .. and yours too.

Scott's expedition was not just a dash to the Pole - but a whole Scientific Exploration .. as you mention.

I wonder too what those peoples would think of some of my posts - the trials, tribulations and jubilations they encountered are quite extraordinary .. these few words really do pale into insignificance besides their courage.

My part I guess is opening the door a little and reminding us about a few of those little extras that bring their story back to life - reminding us in the 21st century of those days gone by, and their achievements. Interesting thought!

Thanks - lovely to see you again .. cheers Hilary

Sue said...

Hilary they were a truly great team and really set in motion some wonderful scientific discoveries. I was browsing our bookshelves the other day and came across a book of Ponting's photographs. They're amazing and give a glimpse into a very different world. There's even one of their ski instructor demonstrating how to turn! And the clothing - my goodness - it must have been painfully uncomfortable and cold, yet they look happy. There's another showing a fish trap - they had to pierce a hole in 8foot thick ice with pick, shovel and crowbar to supplement their diet. Wonderful stuff!

Ann said...

Quilting seaweed...interesting. Quilting is a skill I have absolutely no talent or ability in.

What a feat of daring!

TALON said...

It's truly remarkable what people have done in the name of science and discovery. I enjoyed this post so much, Hilary. Quilting seaweed? That's something else, isn't it?

Scarlett Clay said...

What a story! (Scotts)
And quilted seaweed is something I've never even heard of before!!
This is just fascinating stuff, makes me want to go to the library and read more....thanks for that!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue .. you're right .. a great team - I hadn't realised how many scientific studies they'd set in motion .. and all the other scientists who were part of the full team.

So interesting to have your comment re Ponting and his photography .. I'd love to see the book one day. Thanks so much - great additional notes.

@ Ann - I fall into your category .. quilting, tapestry, embroidery or sewing aren't my favourites!

It was a planned feat - that's for sure - amazing.

@ Talon - as each breakthrough is made, later generations build on it .. it is just wonderful to get a glimpse into how our world is being discovered.

Quilting seaweed - sounds funny doesn't it .. but very practical obviously and efficient.

@ Scarlett - their far sightedness for these trips is amazing and they found so much out .. and recorded it - it's the recording that's so wonderful.

I hope your library trip gives you some new knowledge ..

Thanks Sue, Ann, Talon and Scarlett - wonderful extra notations here .. adding to the post as a whole. Great to see you - enjoy the weekend .. cheers Hilary

Marja said...

Loved it very interesting Here in Christchurch we have the Antarctic museum which shows many photo's of these men and a blogging friend of mine has lived for a year on Antarctic.The airbase in Christchurch is a gateway to the Antarctic

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marja - thank you and glad you've added some extra information for us. I'd forgotten how important New Zealand is to the history of Antarctica - my mind goes to Chile .. possibly because of travel adverts?!

The museum must be fascinating .. and just to see more of those photos - now that we understand how terrible their conditions were ... yet what they achieved with their research and collections etc.

Your blogging friend must have amazing tales of her year in Antarctica ... I'd love to know who she is ..

Cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Amazing information. I loved reading how they put the hut together. The seaweed insulation reminds me of how some people here used straw bales to insulate and or build a home.

Unknown said...

Another wonderful post, Hilary. I'm fascinated by anything and everything to do with Antartica and I adore the picture of the empower penguins. What a humbling story it is though. Difficult to imagine such hardships.

Have a great weekend!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - the ancients knew things .. that if we don't record will be forgotten - they use straw bales here too.

The seaweed insulation I'd like to know when it started and who used it - a fascinating piece of knowledge I thought .. but you're right the straw bales were used too and are being brought back into fashion ..

.. but it's cheapness v effectiveness and thinking of our future .. (much like our eating habits?!) ...

@ Shirley - Did you know you used the word "Empower" - couldn't help but move my mind to that Nnn power company - that I don't love.

Thanks - the Antarctic must be amazing - and as you say humbling, let alone being there with those difficulties/hardships ..

Thanks Teresa and Shirley - lovely comments .. cheers Hilary

Janet Johnson said...

Hilary, this was fascinating! I can't say I want to go to Antarctica, but reading about all that Scott did and his dedication is really inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Amazing their hut still stands today. I'd think it wold be moved to a museum. What a bummer to realize you've been beat by another team. But with no communications, how would they know?

Now we can explore the world through National Geographic TV sepcials and Google from the comforts of our own home.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janet - thank you. I'd love to be on a ship and visit .. as you rightly say Scott and his team were dedicated.

@ Stephen - their hut is 'struggling' with the warming atmosphere ... just extremely sad they died.

As you say we can explore the world in so many ways .. are we (society) losing a human instinct - that of looking after ourselves?

Thanks Janet and Stephen good to see you - have lovely weekends .. cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, It is amazing how much was discovered 100 years after their untimely deaths. Those men were true heroes, and thanks for bringing their exploration to life with your incredible story and photos.

I'm sorry that you're still having trouble with comments at my site, and I appreciate all the effort that you put into it. Thanks, Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie .. great to see you - so much scientific knowledge and environmental awareness must have been opened up to further discoveries and thought processes in those early years of the 20th century. Glad you enjoyed the post.

I cannot comment on your blog - from Chrome or from IE where it freezes! Embedded comments are a pain .. I hope it gets sorted soon!

Cheers and if I don't comment - I am reading!! .. Hilary

Friko said...

A brave bunch of men, sadly, it all went wrong and the whole expedition itself and Scott's leadership are now under review.
Bt we can applaud their efforts and the scientific knowledge they gathered whole-heartedly.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I live in the north, I've even lived further north, but I could not have endured what these men had to live through. Nor would I want to.

Amazing stuff, Hilary. Thanks. Best to your mother.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Friko .. It did go wrong - but did you hear Sir Ranulph Fiennes on C4 News talking to John Snow about it? I commented to Anne about his thoughts .. the opposite of yours here. But at least as you say their scientific knowledge led to greater achievements in the following years.

@ Joylene .. I can reliably tell you I definitely wouldn't! Not even sure about your neck of the woods .. though it is oh so beautiful where you are!

Glad you enjoyed it - and many thanks for your thoughts re my Mama ..

Cheers Friko and Joylene - lovely having your comments .. Hilary

Helen Ginger said...

Really, really interesting. Totally loved reading it. Learned a lot -- but, of course, that's because I knew nothing about it in the first place.

Scott's Hut was a surprise. I figured it would be a tent of some kind.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Helen .. lovely to see you - thank you and glad you enjoyed it .. because now you know a little!

Scott was determined to have a "warm hut" .. as the previous expedition he'd been on .. the base camp had been exposed to the elements ... no insulation - and therefore Scott was determined to overcome that challenge - it was still pretty blinking cold!

So no tent - a full fabricated hut with quilted padding!!

Cheers - good to see you .. Hilary

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Scott's story is always so inspiring. I'm not sure I would have had the courage of Lawrence Oates - those final words of his have also struck me as the height of bravery.

And very belated 64th birthday wishes for Friday 13/1, Hilary. I'm glad you had some laughs (and a bottle of wine!) with your Mum! Hope that the year continues with good health, good friends and plenty more interesting blog posts for us! :)

Judy, South Africa

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. glad to hear from you - and good luck with the writing. It's so inspiring to find those words written down a 100 years later .. I wonder if Oates made his last journey .. as an animal does when it knows it's time is up.

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes .. well the bottle went home! But Mum was surprised to see it!

To us all - a good year ahead .. and hugs back to HRH Theadorable .. cheers Hilary

Diane said...

What an interesting post, I am really intrigued by this story. I find quilting labour intensive at the best of times, sea weed quilting is not on my list of things to do, LOL. Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. like you I wish I found sewing therapeutic .. but I've never really enjoyed it.

I keep thinking I should give quilting a try - but I might just leave it to the experts ..

.. and any experts quilting seaweed out there - I agree they can do to their heart's content.

Good to see you and hope you're feeling better .. cheers Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

What a story! I'm amazed with people who can go where no man/woman (or nearly no man/woman) has gone before. It would never be me--especially in the cold. Especially THAT cold! Come to think of it, jungles are deserts are out too. I don't like bugs or heat. Or animals that attack. Or...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. that would be me too! I'm not good with the cold, and the hot hot conditions I find too much .. so I agree with you - I'd be running away as well ... !

Cheers and good to see you .. Hilary