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Wednesday, January 17th 1912 « Scott's Last Expedition

Scott's Last Expedition

Wednesday, January 17th 1912

Scott, Oates, Evans, Bowers and Wilson pose for the camera at the South Pole (variation made by Ponting from original photograph taken by Henry Bowers).
“Scott, Oates, Evans, Bowers and Wilson pose for the camera at the South Pole (variation made by Ponting from original photograph taken by Henry Bowers).”

Bowers, Oates, Evans, Scott and Wilson stand in line in front of a tent (variation made by Ponting from original photograph taken by Henry Bowers).
“Bowers, Oates, Evans, Scott and Wilson stand in line in front of a tent (variation made by Ponting from original photograph taken by Henry Bowers).”

Camp 69. T. -22º at start. Night -21º. The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected. We have had a horrible day – add to our disappointment a head wind 4 to 5, with a temperature -22º, and companions labouring on with cold feet and hands.

We started at 7.30, none of us having slept much after the shock of our discovery. We followed the Norwegian sledge tracks for some way; as far as we make out there are only two men. In about three miles we passed two small cairns. Then the weather overcast, and the tracks being increasingly drifted up and obviously going too far to the west, we decided to make straight for the Pole according to our calculations. At 12.30 Evans had such cold hands we camped for lunch – an excellent ‘week-end one.’ We had marched 7.4 miles. Lat. sight gave 89º 53′ 37”. We started out and did 6 1/2 miles due south. To-night little Bowers is laying himself out to get sights in terrible difficult circumstances; the wind is blowing hard, T. -21º, and there is that curious damp, cold feeling in the air which chills one to the bone in no time. We have been descending again, I think, but there looks to be a rise ahead; otherwise there is very little that is different from the awful monotony of past days. Great God! 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, and the wind may be our friend to-morrow. We have had a fat Polar hoosh in spite of our chagrin, and feel comfortable inside – added a small stick of chocolate and the queer taste of a cigarette brought by Wilson. Now for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.

7 Responses to “Wednesday, January 17th 1912”

  1. Caryg says:

    Hi,

    I think that this would be an appropriate post to congratulate those who have been responsible for setting up this blog and keeping it going over the last year or so. It has been most interesting.

    I have found it to be quite fascinating “watching” the expedition take place in real time in the same way you can follow modern day expeditions. It is all the more amazing that all of this took place completely unknown to the vast majority of the world’s population at the time.

    Thank you and well done to the team.

    Regards

    Cary

  2. Peter Robinson says:

    Are you sure about the captions on these two photographs?

    I think the first one shows (from left to right) Oates, Bowers, Scott, Wilson and Evans, and the second shows Wilson, Scott, Evans, Oates and Bowers. Mind you, the faces are very hard to distinguish!

  3. Peter McKenzie says:

    What does “variation made by Ponting” mean? – Variation suggest that he modified the image, rather than making a straight print from the negative…seems unlikely to me, however.

    (I understand that the camera was a Staley, presumably still in existence).

  4. Jonathan says:

    Re: Peter Robinson:

    You are right – the order is wrong for the captions and you have identified the correct ones for both.

    Re: Peter McKenzie

    I believe that for artistic effect, Ponting sometimes inverted or cropped the original images, so perhaps this is the case here. There is also the possibility that he did a lot of dodging and burning to balance the contrast due to the problems of exposure in such predominantly bright-white conditions.

  5. Jan Poston Day says:

    I have to agree with Caryg – I have thoroughly enjoyed following the tweets of this expedition. Please keep them coming!

    Jan

  6. sue kahn says:

    Wonderful idea putting the diary entries on twitter. Have enjoyed all of them. 100 years on it is still so sad to read the tragic words.

  7. Sian Henrys says:

    I’ve very pleased to have discovered this. What a brilliant idea. I only found this today. What a day to find it!

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