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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, March 29th 1912

Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.

It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.


For God’s sake look after our people.

34 Responses to “Thursday, March 29th 1912”

  1. Petra Müller says:

    It’s over now – nearly unbearable to read.
    I would like to express my thanks to everyone at SPRI involved in this project which made the person of Scott more human and more understandable than before and offered a totally new and fresh insight into the Terra Nova Expedition.
    For me following Scott’s diary over the past 16 months sparked off a deep fascination for Antarctica (especially in the McMurdo Sound region) which led to reading other expedition members’ memoirs, buying more and more books by researchers, scientists and historians (and finding mistakes in all of them), studying maps, graphs, statistics, and I found for myself a totally new sphere of interest – for this I cannot thank you enough and I would be glad to follow your publications and events also in future.

  2. Dave says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Petra’s comments. Very many thanks for the efforts of serialising this diary, almost every day has had something interesting – a lot more than can be said for my last 16 months!

  3. Piers says:

    Well said Petra, i have very similar feelings. I was pleased to find you can actually see Scotts base on google earth and i am looking forward to paying it a visit one day soon.

  4. Every morning for quite some time now I’ve checked this diary and now I feel a loss as well. That this really happened makes you sad, maybe if Scott had been the first to the Pole, they would have been in more high spirits and perhaps pulled through.

  5. Lynn says:

    Posting Scott’s diary as a daily blog like this was an inspired idea, I will really miss reading it every day. It was almost as if these tragic events were happening in the present day. Like Petra I have developed a strong interest in Antarctica and the early explorerers and I would love to visit the SPRI museum sometime soon.

  6. Mark Reynier says:

    I agree with the sentiments here – an inspired idea. Thank you.

  7. Herm says:

    Wonderful idea. Thank you very much for posting it all.

  8. Caryg says:

    Thank you to all at SPRI for re-publishing Scott’s Journal in this way.

    I have been with the story from the beginning and it has been a fascinating way to revisit a book I read many years ago.

    To those of you who have not visited the Scott Polar Museum in Cambridge I can thoroughly recommend it. Also the British Museum have the original of Scott’s Journal on display in their permament display area.

  9. Caryg says:

    Sorry I meant the British Library, the record is here

    There is also a link to the Virtual Book version of the Journal, which unfortunately does not seem to work on my combination of browser and OS, yours may work better.

  10. Jon Howell says:

    Congratulations to all involved in an inspired idea.

    I can remember being told this story as a very young schoolboy in the early 1960’s, although this is the first time that I’ve read the full version of the source material.
    At that time the events were still within living memory, indeed at least three members of the polar base team were still alive at that time, and I can still remember
    Tryggve Gran’s (one of the two members of the search party who found Scott the following October) interview in a BBC2 documentary that marked the sixtieth
    anniversary of the expedition.

    As a postscript, an interview that Tryggve Gran gave to The Observer is available at

  11. Tom Paxton says:

    Thankyou very much for presenting the expedition on a human scale. I too will miss the daily reading, knowing what lay ahead but marvelling at the stoic attitudes. Reading Scott’s diary was for me like seeing someone in denial of the inevitable and then slowly coming around to accepting the truth of it. A fascinating study in human nature that my friend and I have spent much time discussing as the diaries progressed. At what point did Scott finally feel that the Fates were irredeemably against him ? Was it even at the very beginning when Amundsen changed from his planned run for the North Pole to instead go for the South Pole ?

  12. John Wardell says:

    It has been a fascinating read from the beginning; and, as others have said, an inspired decision
    to put it on the web.
    As I read the daily entries I got the impression that Scott had a tendancy to be vacillate between
    being quite ‘up-beat’ and then quite ‘down’ sometimes within the same day. Curiously in his last message
    he also appears to lay blame on Evans who he seems to imply let him down.
    I have now aquired Cherry-Gerrard’s account so it will be interesting to have another view
    of the whole undertaking.

  13. Piers Morgan says:

    John, I think what you say about Evans is interesting. I was left with a very empty feeling whilst reading the events that led up to Evans’ eventual demise. I firmly believe that Scott was dissapointed with Evans after putting so much faith in him and almost felt personally responsible for what he saw as Evans’ failure and ultimately his own. However, there is no doubt that Evans gradually deteriorating condition did put the whole expedition on the back and they seemed to be playing catch up for the remainder of the journey but never really managed to. I think blaming Evans for the expeditions failure is unfair but it did put the remaining members of the team into a position where they would never be able to recover due to the events that lay ahead. Whatever your own views on this are i think the best thing to come out of this fantastic idea to publish this diary in such a way has inspired most of us to read more about this great event and that can only be a good thing.

  14. David B says:

    There is a slight typo in the URL for the Tryggve Gran interview above (“blospot” instead of “blogspot”). It should be:


  15. David Britton says:

    An epic journey reaches its tragic end but putting the entries in everyday has also been epic, for which I would like to thank all those involved. Well done, I have enjoyed the unfolding of the events since the beginning and appreciate all your hard work.

  16. Madeline W says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this. My mornings feel quite empty now without this to look forward to. Admittedly it has been quite a depressing read since they reached the pole and everything began to go wrong. Knowing that deaths were coming has not made them any easier to read about when they have happened and I have found myself checking and re-checking dates to give myself plenty of warning each time. I can’t believe I’ve been following this as long as 16 months. Always been a Scott fan and I highly recommend Cherry-Garrard’s book along with the biog done by Sir Ranulph Feinnes a while ago. I look foward to paying a visit to the Institute’s museum in the not too distant future.

  17. Petra Müller says:

    Just a short note to correct Jon Howell’s contribution of March 31: Tryggve Gran was not one of two members of the search party – it consisted of 11 men who were prepared to march all the way up the Beardmore Glacier, if necessary, to look for their comrades; lucky for them they already found them 11 miles south of One Ton Depot on November 12, 1912.
    The whole story of the expedition remains interesting and exciting even after the finish of the diary and I am glad that the other events help me fill the void (e.g. look at the adventures of Campbell’s party – another drama but which all six men survived but nearly unbelievable).

  18. Jon Howell says:

    Yes I am aware of that, I probably phrased the sentence a little ambiguously. Gran’s interview given to the observer makes that clear that it was Frederick
    Hooper who spotted the tent, although Gran was the first to reach it. He then stood sentinel over the scene while Hooper went to make contact with
    Edward Atkinson, who was leading the search party. It was Atkinson who had the grim job of entering the tent.

  19. Petra Müller says:

    Well, it seems that there are as many statements as there are memories; Cherry-Garrard says that Silas Wright first spotted what he thought was a cairn and then told the others: “It is the tent”. This has been undisputed since and I am inclined to rely more on Cherry-Garrard than on Gran who gave the interview cited decades after the events had happened and who was already well in his eighties, it could be that his memory was a bit muddled to put it friendly (Sara Wheeler says in her biography of Cherry: “Gran was a notoriously unreliable source”). For instance the event of forgetting the British flag at Cape Evans when setting out for the Southern Journey and of Gran bringing it on ski to Hut Point has not been mentioned in any of the accounts I have read: neither Scott nor Cherry nor Teddy Evans note it.
    But aren’t even these inconsistencies fascinating to read and to deal with? I can find no end of interesting material.

  20. Jon Howell says:

    With that in mind, I don’t know if it still exists in the BBC archives but it might be worth revisiting Gran’s television interview from 1972. I remember watching
    it and from what I can recall he seemed perfectly lucid and in possession of all his faculties.

  21. Mark Reynier says:

    Perhaps Scott’s antipathy towards Evans, stem from the class thing – he didn’t do the “gentlemanly thing” and do an Oates?

  22. David Dorrington says:

    This seems like a small thing but on the photo of the last page that I just saw Scott signs off as ROBERT not R SCOTT and though it might not make much difference “Robert” sounds more intimate and he possibly meant it to be so.

  23. David Dorrington says:

    No I have looked again and it does look like “R Scott” Oh well —I am not a graphologist.

  24. Jon Howell says:

    The Observer colour magazine of 25 Sep 2011 has yet another slant on the finding of Scott. In an article to mark the centenary exhibition in the Science Museum in London, it is claimed that Charles Wright was the first member of the search party to spot the tent.

  25. Jon Howell says:

    The Gran interview of 1972 does still exist. A section of it has just been played on BBC Radio 4, (13:45 GMT, 13 Jan 2011) in a series about the expedition.

  26. John Rutherford says:

    I have been looking for evidence in his dairies that, almost since the time of the loss of Evans or before, Scott knew he was doomed and was essentially writing for History and his place in it.

    The unspoken loyalty of Bowers and Wilson in staying with their stricken leader rather than making a dash for One Ton Depot is maybe on a par with Oates sacrifice. I wonder could they have made it.

    The diary entries have been written with publication in mind [ which was alway intended ] but in the last entries Scott is talking to the World, trying
    to explain the reasons for the failure, some of the reasons are valid, some of them not. If he privately thought any past decisions he had made contributed to the calamity, he didn’t express them on paper.

  27. torsten richter says:

    Hallo! ich war am 18.1.2012 in cambridge und durfte die wunderbare ausstellung sehen und führte sehr gte gespräche mit fremden menschen. ich bin extra für diesen tag, den 100. jahrestag der südpolentdeckung, nach london geflogen und nach cambridge gefahren, und abends wieder nach berlin zurück.ich finde diese geschichte so tragisch,so rührend,so herzzerreißend und ich gebe zu, ich muß immer wieder tränen vergießen,weil diese ganze story so traurig ist die größte abenteuergeschichte,die größte menschliche leistung und leider mußten sie doch sterben. doch sie machten den größten marsch der menschheit und für mich sind diese männer die größten helden! ich fand es schön, das tagebuch hier zu posten und ich werde nochmals nach cambridge fahren.aber mein größtes ziel ist es, irgendwann in den nächsten 4 jahren auch nach cape evans zu fahren und die route von scott bis zum südpol zu gehen…als huldigung für scott und seinen leuten.ich möchte diesen leuten meinen allertiefsten respekt zollen!sie werden immer in meinen herzen sein.
    torsten, berlin 3.3.2012

  28. torsten richter says:

    Torsten richter says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    March 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Hello! I had seen on 01.18.2012 in Cambridge and was allowed the wonderful exhibition and conducted talks with foreign gte very human. I am especially for this day, the 100th anniversary of the southern discovery, flew to London and went to Cambridge, and in the evening back to berlin zurück.ich find this story so tragic, so touching, so heartbreaking, and I admit I have always shed tears, because this whole story is so sad . it is the greatest adventure story, the greatest of human performance and unfortunately they had to die. but they made ​​the biggest march of mankind are heroes for me and these men the greatest! I thought it was beautiful, the diary to post here and I will again after cambridge fahren.aber my biggest goal is to years sometime in the next 4 to also go to cape evans and scott from route to go south pole as a tribute … for scott and his people want this, my deepest leuten.ich pay respectful! they will always be in my heart.
    Torsten, berlin 03.03.2012

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  29. Colin McNicoll says:

    Since it is the 100 year centenary, my thoughts this month in particular, have never been far from the plight of these 5 gallant and intrepid individuals. No matter what anyone’s opinion on individual shortcomings may be, their bravery and fortitude cannot be denied. Further, their story is etched in the subconscious of all those fascinated by Polar exploration, such as myself and reading these diary entries, has proved a profoundly poignant experience.

  30. Paul Riddell says:

    It is well recorded that charles wright who was navigating was the first to see the tent.i watched the 1972 BBC tv programme at the BFI about 5 years ago and i dont understand why Wright was not interviewed as he was by then the last survivor of the southern party and was one of the first support party to return along with cherry garrard. Gran was not chosen to take part in the journey and stayed at the base camp and as already stated was not always a reliable source who was prone to exaggerate

  31. Graham B says:

    Today is not a time to unpick this tragic end but celebrate their effort and dedication

    Utterly inspired to Tweet the daily diary of the expedition. I have been entranced and engaged by the story as it unfolded afresh. This was made even more poignant as read Dead Men Richard Peirce during the last week. Thank you so much SPRI

  32. Fiona says:

    Reading the diaries online truly was an inspiration. As with other contributors it sparked an interest in me, and I can thoroughly recommend Roland Huntford’s book Race for the South Pole – with the diaries of both Scott and Amundsen alongside each other. It really is an insight into why one party triumphed and the other met with disaster.

  33. hannah says:

    a very touching diary entry, they are very inspiration, scott and his crew went through a lot

  34. I can agree they was beaten, but at least he was the first British person to reach the South Pole. The diarys are woth reading.