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Scott's Last Expedition

Saturday, January 14th 1911

The completion of our station is approaching with steady progress. The wind was strong from the S.S.E. yesterday morning, sweeping over the camp; the temperature fell to 15º, the sky became overcast. To the south the land outlines were hazy with drift, so my dog tour was abandoned. In the afternoon, with some moderation of conditions, the ballast party went to work, and wrought so well that more than 10 tons were got off before night. The organisation of this work is extremely good. The loose rocks are pulled up, some 30 or 40 feet up the hillside, placed on our heavy rough sledges and rushed down to the floe on a snow track; here they are laden on pony sledges and transported to the ship. I slept on board the ship and found it colder than the camp – the cabins were below freezing all night and the only warmth existed in the cheery spirit of the company. The cold snap froze the water in the boiler and Williams had to light one of the fires this morning. I shaved and bathed last night (the first time for 10 days) and wrote letters from breakfast till tea time to-day. Meanwhile the ballast team has been going on merrily, and to-night Pennell must have some 26 tons on board.

It was good to return to the camp and see the progress which had been made even during such a short absence. The grotto has been much enlarged and is, in fact, now big enough to hold all our mutton and a considerable quantity of seal and penguin.
Close by Simpson and Wright have made surprising progress in excavating for the differential magnetic hut. They have already gone in 7 feet and, turning a corner, commenced the chamber, which is to be 13 feet x 5 feet. The hard ice of this slope is a godsend and both grottoes will be ideal for their purposes.

The cooking range and stove have been placed in the hut and now chimneys are being constructed; the porch is almost finished as well as the interior; the various carpenters are busy with odd jobs and it will take them some time to fix up the many small fittings that different people require.

I have been making arrangements for the depôt journey, telling off people for ponies and dogs, &c.

To-morrow is to be our first rest day, but next week everything will be tending towards sledging preparations. I have also been discussing and writing about the provisions of animals to be brought down in the Terra Nova next year.

The wind is very persistent from the S.S.E., rising and falling; to-night it has sprung up again, and is rattling the canvas of the tent.

Some of the ponies are not turning out so well as I expected; they are slow walkers and must inevitably impede the faster ones. Two of the best had been told off for Campbell by Oates, but I must alter the arrangement. ‘Then I am not quite sure they are going to stand the cold well, and on this first journey they may have to face pretty severe conditions. Then, of course, there is the danger of losing them on thin ice or by injury sustained in rough places. Although we have fifteen now (two having gone for the Eastern Party) it is not at all certain that we shall have such a number when the main journey is undertaken next season. One can only be careful and hope for the best.’

Mather and a sledge of ballast. Jan. 14th 1911.
“Mather and a sledge of ballast. Jan. 14th 1911.”

Mather and a sledge of ballast. Jan. 14th 1911.
“Mather and a sledge of ballast. Jan. 14th 1911.”

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