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Scott's Last Expedition

Archive for the ‘Chapter XV: The Last Weeks at Cape Evans’ Category

Tuesday, October 31st 1911

Tuesday, October 31st, 1911

The blizzard has blown itself out this morning, and this afternoon it has cleared; the sun is shining and the wind dropping. Meares and Ponting are just off to Hut Point. Atkinson and Keohane will probably leave in an hour or so as arranged, and if the weather holds, we shall all get off to-morrow. So here end the entries in this diary with the first chapter of our History. The future is in the lap of the gods; I can think of nothing left undone to deserve success.

Monday, October 30th 1911

Monday, October 30th, 1911

We had another beautiful day yesterday, and one began to feel that the summer really had come; but to-day, after a fine morning, we have a return to blizzard conditions. It is blowing a howling gale as I write. Yesterday Wilson, Crean, P.O. Evans, and I donned our sledging kit and camped by the bergs for the benefit of Ponting and his cinematograph; he got a series of films which should be about the most interesting of all his collection. I imagine nothing will take so well as these scenes of camp life.

On our return we found Meares had returned; he and the dogs well. He told us that (Lieut.) Evans had come into Hut Point on Saturday to fetch a personal bag left behind there. Evans reported that Lashly’s motor had broken down near Safety Camp; they found the big end smashed up in one cylinder and traced it to a faulty casting; they luckily had spare parts, and Day and Lashly worked all night on repairs in a temperature of -25º. By the morning repairs were completed and they had a satisfactory trial run, dragging on loads with both motors. Then Evans found out his loss and returned on ski, whilst, as I gather, the motors proceeded; I don’t quite know how, but I suppose they ran one on at a time.

On account of this accident and because some of our hardest worked people were badly hit by the two days’ absence helping the machines, I have decided to start on Wednesday instead of to-morrow. If the blizzard should blow out, Atkinson and Keohane will set off to-morrow for Hut Point, so that we may see how far Jehu is to be counted on.

Saturday, October 28th 1911

Saturday, October 28th, 1911

My feet sore and one ‘tendon Achillis’ strained (synovitis); shall be right in a day or so, however. Last night tremendous row in the stables. Christopher and Chinaman discovered fighting. Gran nearly got kicked. These ponies are getting above themselves with their high feeding. Oates says that Snippets is still lame and has one leg a little ‘heated’; not a pleasant item of news. Debenham is progressing but not very fast; the Western Party will leave after us, of that there is no doubt now. It is trying that they should be wasting the season in this way. All things considered, I shall be glad to get away and put our fortune to the test.

Friday, October 27th 1911

Friday, October 27th, 1911

We were away by 10.30 yesterday. Walked to the Glacier Tongue with gloomy forebodings; but for one gust a beautifully bright inspiriting day. Seals were about and were frequently mistaken for the motors. As we approached the Glacier Tongue, however, and became more alive to such mistakes, we realised that the motors were not in sight. At first I thought they must have sought better surface on the other side of the Tongue, but this theory was soon demolished and we were puzzled to know what had happened. At length walking onward they were descried far away over the floe towards Hut Point; soon after we saw good firm tracks over a snow surface, a pleasant change from the double tracks and slipper places we had seen on the bare ice. Our spirits went up at once, for it was not only evident that the machines were going, but that they were negotiating a very rough surface without difficulty. We marched on and overtook them about 2 1/2 miles from Hut Point, passing Simpson and Gran returning to Cape Evans. From the motors we learnt that things were going pretty well. The engines were working well when once in tune, but the cylinders, especially the two after ones, tended to get too hot, whilst the fan or wind playing on the carburetter tended to make it too cold. The trouble was to get a balance between the two, and this is effected by starting up the engines, then stopping and covering them and allowing the heat to spread by conductivity – of course, a rather clumsy device. We camped ahead of the motors as they camped for lunch. Directly after, Lashly brought his machine along on low gear and without difficulty ran it on to Cape Armitage. Meanwhile Day was having trouble with some bad surface; we had offered help and been refused, and with Evans alone his difficulties grew, whilst the wind sprang up and the snow started to drift. We had walked into the hut and found Meares, but now we all came out again. I sent for Lashly and Hooper and went back to help Day along. We had exasperating delays and false starts for an hour and then suddenly the machine tuned up, and off she went faster than one could walk, reaching Cape Armitage without further hitch. It was blizzing by this time; the snow flew by. We all went back to the hut; Meares and Demetri have been busy, the hut is tidy and comfortable and a splendid brick fireplace had just been built with a brand new stove-pipe leading from it directly upward through the roof. This is really a most creditable bit of work. Instead of the ramshackle temporary structures of last season we have now a solid permanent fireplace which should last for many a year. We spent a most comfortable night.
This morning we were away over the floe about 9 A.M. I was anxious to see how the motors started up and agreeably surprised to find that neither driver took more than 20 to 30 minutes to get his machine going, in spite of the difficulties of working a blow lamp in a keen cold wind.

Lashly got away very soon, made a short run of about 1/2 mile, and then after a short halt to cool, a long non-stop for quite 3 miles. The Barrier, five geographical miles from Cape Armitage, now looked very close, but Lashly had overdone matters a bit, run out of lubricant and got his engine too hot. The next run yielded a little over a mile, and he was forced to stop within a few hundred yards of the snow slope leading to the Barrier and wait for more lubricant, as well as for the heat balance in his engine to be restored.

This motor was going on second gear, and this gives a nice easy walking speed, 2 1/2 to 3 miles an hour; it would be a splendid rate of progress if it was not necessary to halt for cooling. This is the old motor which was used in Norway; the other machine has modified gears. [30]

Meanwhile Day had had the usual balancing trouble and had dropped to a speck, but towards the end of our second run it was evident he had overcome these and was coming along at a fine speed. One soon saw that the men beside the sledges were running. To make a long story short, he stopped to hand over lubricating oil, started at a gallop again, and dashed up the slope without a hitch on his top speed – the first man to run a motor on the Great Barrier! There was great cheering from all assembled, but the motor party was not wasting time on jubilation. On dashed the motor, and it and the running men beside it soon grew small in the distance. We went back to help Lashly, who had restarted his engine. If not so dashingly, on account of his slower speed, he also now took the slope without hitch and got a last handshake as he clattered forward. His engine was not working so well as the other, but I think mainly owing to the first overheating and a want of adjustment resulting therefrom.

Thus the motors left us, travelling on the best surface they have yet encountered – hard windswept snow without sastrugi – a surface which Meares reports to extend to Corner Camp at least.

Providing there is no serious accident, the engine troubles will gradually be got over; of that I feel pretty confident. Every day will see improvement as it has done to date, every day the men will get greater confidence with larger experience of the machines and the conditions. But it is not easy to foretell the extent of the result of older and earlier troubles with the rollers. The new rollers turned up by Day are already splitting, and one of Lashly’s chains is in a bad way; it may be possible to make temporary repairs good enough to cope with the improved surface, but it seems probable that Lashly’s car will not get very far.

It is already evident that had the rollers been metal cased and the runners metal covered, they would now be as good as new. I cannot think why we had not the sense to have this done. As things are I am satisfied we have the right men to deal with the difficulties of the situation.

The motor programme is not of vital importance to our plan and it is possible the machines will do little to help us, but already they have vindicated themselves. Even the seamen, who have remained very sceptical of them, have been profoundly impressed. Evans said, ‘Lord, sir, I reckon if them things can go on like that you wouldn’t want nothing else’ – but like everything else of a novel nature, it is the actual sight of them at work that is impressive, and nothing short of a hundred miles over the Barrier will carry conviction to outsiders.
Parting with the motors, we made haste back to Hut Point and had tea there. My feet had got very sore with the unaccustomed soft foot-gear and crinkly surface, but we decided to get back to Cape Evans. We came along in splendid weather, and after stopping for a cup of tea at Razor Back, reached the hut at 9 P.M., averaging 3 1/2 stat. miles an hour. During the day we walked 26 1/2 stat. miles, not a bad day’s work considering condition, but I’m afraid my feet are going to suffer for it.

Thursday, October 26th 1911

Thursday, October 26th, 1911

Couldn’t see the motors yesterday till I walked well out on the South Bay, when I discovered them with glasses off the Glacier Tongue. There had been a strong wind in the forenoon, but it seemed to me they ought to have got further – annoyingly the telephone gave no news from Hut Point, evidently something was wrong. After dinner Simpson and Gran started for Hut Point.

This morning Simpson has just rung up. He says the motors are in difficulties with the surface. The trouble is just that which I noted as alarming on Monday – the chains slip on the very light snow covering of hard ice. The engines are working well, and all goes well when the machines get on to snow.

I have organised a party of eight men including myself, and we are just off to see what can be done to help.

October, 1911.

Thursday, October 26th, 1911

I don’t know what to think of Amundsen’s chances. If he gets to the Pole, it must be before we do, as he is bound to travel fast with dogs and pretty certain to start early. On this account I decided at a very early date to act exactly as I should have done had he not existed. Any attempt to race must have wrecked my plan, besides which it doesn’t appear the sort of thing one is out for.

‘Possibly you will have heard something before this reaches you. Oh! and there are all sorts of possibilities. In any case you can rely on my not doing or saying anything foolish – only I’m afraid you must be prepared for the chance of finding our venture much belittled.

‘After all, it is the work that counts, not the applause that follows.

‘Words must always fail me when I talk of Bill Wilson. I believe he really is the finest character I ever met – the closer one gets to him the more there is to admire. Every quality is so solid and dependable; cannot you imagine how that counts down here? Whatever the matter, one knows Bill will be sound, shrewdly practical, intensely loyal and quite unselfish. Add to this a wider knowledge of persons and things than is at first guessable, a quiet vein of humour and really consummate tact, and you have some idea of his values. I think he is the most popular member of the party, and that is saying much.

‘Bowers is all and more than I ever expected of him. He is a positive treasure, absolutely trustworthy and prodigiously energetic. He is about the hardest man amongst us, and that is saying a good deal – nothing seems to hurt his tough little body and certainly no hardship daunts his spirit. I shall have a hundred little tales to tell you of his indefatigable zeal, his unselfishness, and his inextinguishable good humour. He surprises always, for his intelligence is of quite a high order and his memory for details most exceptional. You can imagine him, as he is, an indispensable assistant to me in every detail concerning the management and organisation of our sledging work and a delightful companion on the march.

‘One of the greatest successes is Wright. He is very thorough and absolutely ready for anything. Like Bowers he has taken to sledging like a duck to water, and although he hasn’t had such severe testing, I believe he would stand it pretty nearly as well. Nothing ever seems to worry him, and I can’t imagine he ever complained of anything in his life.

‘I don’t think I will give such long descriptions of the others, though most of them deserve equally high praise. Taken all round they are a perfectly excellent lot.’

The Soldier is very popular with all – a delightfully humorous cheery old pessimist – striving with the ponies night and day and bringing woeful accounts of their small ailments into the hut.

X…. has a positive passion for helping others – it is extraordinary what pains he will take to do a kind thing unobtrusively.

‘One sees the need of having one’s heart in one’s work. Results can only be got down here by a man desperately eager to get them.

‘Y…. works hard at his own work, taking extraordinary pains with it, but with an astonishing lack of initiative he makes not the smallest effort to grasp the work of others; it is a sort of character which plants itself in a corner and will stop there.

‘The men are equally fine. Edgar Evans has proved a useful member of our party; he looks after our sledges and sledge equipment with a care of management and a fertility of resource which is truly astonishing – on ‘trek’ he is just as sound and hard as ever and has an inexhaustible store of anecdote.

‘Crean is perfectly happy, ready to do anything and go anywhere, the harder the work, the better. Evans and Crean are great friends. Lashly is his old self in every respect, hard working to the limit, quiet, abstemious, and determined. You see altogether I have a good set of people with me, and it will go hard if we don’t achieve something.

‘The study of individual character is a pleasant pastime in such a mixed community of thoroughly nice people, and the study of relationships and interactions is fascinating – men of the most diverse upbringings and experience are really pals with one another, and the subjects which would be delicate ground of discussion between acquaintances are just those which are most freely used for jests. For instance the Soldier is never tired of girding at Australia, its people and institutions, and the Australians retaliate by attacking the hide-bound prejudices of the British army. I have never seen a temper lost in these discussions. So as I sit here I am very satisfied with these things. I think that it would have been difficult to better the organisation of the party – every man has his work and is especially adapted for it; there is no gap and no overlap – it is all that I desired, and the same might be said of the men selected to do the work.’

It promised to be very fine to-day, but the wind has already sprung up and clouds are gathering again. There was a very beautiful curved ‘banner’ cloud south of Erebus this morning, perhaps a warning of what is to come.
Another accident! At one o’clock ‘Snatcher,’ one of the three ponies laying the depot, arrived with single trace and dangling sledge in a welter of sweat. Forty minutes after P.O. Evans, his driver, came in almost as hot; simultaneously Wilson arrived with Nobby and a tale of events not complete. He said that after the loads were removed Bowers had been holding the three ponies, who appeared to be quiet; suddenly one had tossed his head and all three had stampeded – Snatcher making for home, Nobby for the Western Mountains, Victor, with Bowers still hanging to him, in an indefinite direction. Running for two miles, he eventually rounded up Nobby west of Tent Island and brought him in._20_ Half an hour after Wilson’s return, Bowers came in with Victor distressed, bleeding at the nose, from which a considerable fragment hung semi-detached. Bowers himself was covered with blood and supplied the missing link – the cause of the incident. It appears that the ponies were fairly quiet when Victor tossed his head and caught his nostril in the trace hook on the hame of Snatcher’s harness. The hook tore skin and flesh and of course the animal got out of hand. Bowers hung to him, but couldn’t possibly keep hold of the other two as well. Victor had bled a good deal, and the blood congealing on the detached skin not only gave the wound a dismal appearance but greatly increased its irritation. I don’t know how Bowers managed to hang on to the frightened animal; I don’t believe anyone else would have done so. On the way back the dangling weight on the poor creature’s nose would get on the swing and make him increasingly restive; it was necessary to stop him repeatedly. Since his return the piece of skin has been snipped off and proves the wound not so serious as it looked. The animal is still trembling, but quite on his feed, which is a good sign. I don’t know why our Sundays should always bring these excitements.

Two lessons arise. Firstly, however quiet the animals appear, they must not be left by their drivers; no chance must be taken; secondly, the hooks on the hames of the harness must be altered in shape.

I suppose such incidents as this were to be expected, one cannot have ponies very fresh and vigorous and expect them to behave like lambs, but I shall be glad when we are off and can know more definitely what resources we can count on.

Another trying incident has occurred. We have avoided football this season especially to keep clear of accidents, but on Friday afternoon a match was got up for the cinematograph and Debenham developed a football knee (an old hurt, I have since learnt, or he should not have played). Wilson thinks it will be a week before he is fit to travel, so here we have the Western Party on our hands and wasting the precious hours for that period. The only single compensation is that it gives Forde’s hand a better chance. If this waiting were to continue it looks as though we should become a regular party of ‘crocks.’ Clissold was out of the hut for the first time to-day; he is better but still suffers in his back.

Tuesday, October 24th 1911

Tuesday, October 24th, 1911

Two fine days for a wonder. Yesterday the motors seemed ready to start and we all went out on the floe to give them a ‘send off.’ But the inevitable little defects cropped up, and the machines only got as far as the Cape. A change made by Day in the exhaust arrangements had neglected the heating jackets of the carburetters; one float valve was bent and one clutch troublesome. Day and Lashly spent the afternoon making good these defects in a satisfactory manner.

This morning the engines were set going again, and shortly after 10 A.M. a fresh start was made. At first there were a good many stops, but on the whole the engines seemed to be improving all the time. They are not by any means working up to full power yet, and so the pace is very slow. The weights seem to me a good deal heavier than we bargained for. Day sets his motor going, climbs off the car, and walks alongside with an occasional finger on the throttle. Lashly hasn’t yet quite got hold of the nice adjustments of his control levers, but I hope will have done so after a day’s practice.

The only alarming incident was the slipping of the chains when Day tried to start on some ice very thinly covered with snow. The starting effort on such heavily laden sledges is very heavy, but I thought the grip of the pattens and studs would have been good enough on any surface. Looking at the place afterwards I found that the studs had grooved the ice.

Now as I write at 12.30 the machines are about a mile out in the South Bay; both can be seen still under weigh, progressing steadily if slowly.

I find myself immensely eager that these tractors should succeed, even though they may not be of great help to our southern advance. A small measure of success will be enough to show their possibilities, their ability to revolutionise Polar transport. Seeing the machines at work to-day, and remembering that every defect so far shown is purely mechanical, it is impossible not to be convinced of their value. But the trifling mechanical defects and lack of experience show the risk of cutting out trials. A season of experiment with a small workshop at hand may be all that stands between success and failure.

At any rate before we start we shall certainly know if the worst has happened, or if some measure of success attends this unique effort.

The ponies are in fine form. Victor, practically recovered from his wound, has been rushing round with a sledge at a great rate. Even Jehu has been buckish, kicking up his heels and gambolling awkwardly. The invalids progress, Clissold a little alarmed about his back, but without cause.

Atkinson and Keohane have turned cooks, and do the job splendidly.

This morning Meares announced his return from Corner Camp, so that all stores are now out there. The run occupied the same time as the first, when the routine was: first day 17 miles out; second day 13 out, and 13 home; early third day run in. If only one could trust the dogs to keep going like this it would be splendid. On the whole things look hopeful.

1 P.M. motors reported off Razor Back Island, nearly 3 miles out – come, come!

October, 1911

Tuesday, October 24th, 1911

October,_ 1911. – I don’t know what to think of Amundsen’s chances. If he gets to the Pole, it must be before we do, as he is bound to travel fast with dogs and pretty certain to start early. On this account I decided at a very early date to act exactly as I should have done had he not existed. Any attempt to race must have wrecked my plan, besides which it doesn’t appear the sort of thing one is out for.

‘Possibly you will have heard something before this reaches you. Oh! and there are all sorts of possibilities. In any case you can rely on my not doing or saying anything foolish – only I’m afraid you must be prepared for the chance of finding our venture much belittled.

‘After all, it is the work that counts, not the applause that follows.

‘Words must always fail me when I talk of Bill Wilson. I believe he really is the finest character I ever met – the closer one gets to him the more there is to admire. Every quality is so solid and dependable; cannot you imagine how that counts down here? Whatever the matter, one knows Bill will be sound, shrewdly practical, intensely loyal and quite unselfish. Add to this a wider knowledge of persons and things than is at first guessable, a quiet vein of humour and really consummate tact, and you have some idea of his values. I think he is the most popular member of the party, and that is saying much.

‘Bowers is all and more than I ever expected of him. He is a positive treasure, absolutely trustworthy and prodigiously energetic. He is about the hardest man amongst us, and that is saying a good deal – nothing seems to hurt his tough little body and certainly no hardship daunts his spirit. I shall have a hundred little tales to tell you of his indefatigable zeal, his unselfishness, and his inextinguishable good humour. He surprises always, for his intelligence is of quite a high order and his memory for details most exceptional. You can imagine him, as he is, an indispensable assistant to me in every detail concerning the management and organisation of our sledging work and a delightful companion on the march.

‘One of the greatest successes is Wright. He is very thorough and absolutely ready for anything. Like Bowers he has taken to sledging like a duck to water, and although he hasn’t had such severe testing, I believe he would stand it pretty nearly as well. Nothing ever seems to worry him, and I can’t imagine he ever complained of anything in his life.

‘I don’t think I will give such long descriptions of the others, though most of them deserve equally high praise. Taken all round they are a perfectly excellent lot.’

The Soldier is very popular with all – a delightfully humorous cheery old pessimist – striving with the ponies night and day and bringing woeful accounts of their small ailments into the hut.

X…. has a positive passion for helping others – it is extraordinary what pains he will take to do a kind thing unobtrusively.

‘One sees the need of having one’s heart in one’s work. Results can only be got down here by a man desperately eager to get them.

‘Y…. works hard at his own work, taking extraordinary pains with it, but with an astonishing lack of initiative he makes not the smallest effort to grasp the work of others; it is a sort of character which plants itself in a corner and will stop there.

‘The men are equally fine. Edgar Evans has proved a useful member of our party; he looks after our sledges and sledge equipment with a care of management and a fertility of resource which is truly astonishing – on ‘trek’ he is just as sound and hard as ever and has an inexhaustible store of anecdote.

‘Crean is perfectly happy, ready to do anything and go anywhere, the harder the work, the better. Evans and Crean are great friends. Lashly is his old self in every respect, hard working to the limit, quiet, abstemious, and determined. You see altogether I have a good set of people with me, and it will go hard if we don’t achieve something.

‘The study of individual character is a pleasant pastime in such a mixed community of thoroughly nice people, and the study of relationships and interactions is fascinating – men of the most diverse upbringings and experience are really pals with one another, and the subjects which would be delicate ground of discussion between acquaintances are just those which are most freely used for jests. For instance the Soldier is never tired of girding at Australia, its people and institutions, and the Australians retaliate by attacking the hide-bound prejudices of the British army. I have never seen a temper lost in these discussions. So as I sit here I am very satisfied with these things. I think that it would have been difficult to better the organisation of the party – every man has his work and is especially adapted for it; there is no gap and no overlap – it is all that I desired, and the same might be said of the men selected to do the work.’

It promised to be very fine to-day, but the wind has already sprung up and clouds are gathering again. There was a very beautiful curved ‘banner’ cloud south of Erebus this morning, perhaps a warning of what is to come.
Another accident! At one o’clock ‘Snatcher,’ one of the three ponies laying the depot, arrived with single trace and dangling sledge in a welter of sweat. Forty minutes after P.O. Evans, his driver, came in almost as hot; simultaneously Wilson arrived with Nobby and a tale of events not complete. He said that after the loads were removed Bowers had been holding the three ponies, who appeared to be quiet; suddenly one had tossed his head and all three had stampeded – Snatcher making for home, Nobby for the Western Mountains, Victor, with Bowers still hanging to him, in an indefinite direction. Running for two miles, he eventually rounded up Nobby west of Tent Island and brought him in._20_ Half an hour after Wilson’s return, Bowers came in with Victor distressed, bleeding at the nose, from which a considerable fragment hung semi-detached. Bowers himself was covered with blood and supplied the missing link – the cause of the incident. It appears that the ponies were fairly quiet when Victor tossed his head and caught his nostril in the trace hook on the hame of Snatcher’s harness. The hook tore skin and flesh and of course the animal got out of hand. Bowers hung to him, but couldn’t possibly keep hold of the other two as well. Victor had bled a good deal, and the blood congealing on the detached skin not only gave the wound a dismal appearance but greatly increased its irritation. I don’t know how Bowers managed to hang on to the frightened animal; I don’t believe anyone else would have done so. On the way back the dangling weight on the poor creature’s nose would get on the swing and make him increasingly restive; it was necessary to stop him repeatedly. Since his return the piece of skin has been snipped off and proves the wound not so serious as it looked. The animal is still trembling, but quite on his feed, which is a good sign. I don’t know why our Sundays should always bring these excitements.

Two lessons arise. Firstly, however quiet the animals appear, they must not be left by their drivers; no chance must be taken; secondly, the hooks on the hames of the harness must be altered in shape.

I suppose such incidents as this were to be expected, one cannot have ponies very fresh and vigorous and expect them to behave like lambs, but I shall be glad when we are off and can know more definitely what resources we can count on.

Another trying incident has occurred. We have avoided football this season especially to keep clear of accidents, but on Friday afternoon a match was got up for the cinematograph and Debenham developed a football knee (an old hurt, I have since learnt, or he should not have played). Wilson thinks it will be a week before he is fit to travel, so here we have the Western Party on our hands and wasting the precious hours for that period. The only single compensation is that it gives Forde’s hand a better chance. If this waiting were to continue it looks as though we should become a regular party of ‘crocks.’ Clissold was out of the hut for the first time to-day; he is better but still suffers in his back.

Sunday, October 22nd 1911

Sunday, October 22nd, 1911

The motor axle case was completed by Thursday morning, and, as far as one can see, Day made a very excellent job of it. Since that the Motor Party has been steadily preparing for its departure. To-day everything is ready. The loads are ranged on the sea ice, the motors are having a trial run, and, all remaining well with the weather, the party will get away to-morrow.

Meares and Demetri came down on Thursday through the last of the blizzard. At one time they were running without sight of the leading dogs – they did not see Tent Island at all, but burst into sunshine and comparative calm a mile from the station. Another of the best of the dogs, ‘Czigane,’ was smitten with the unaccountable sickness; he was given laxative medicine and appears to be a little better, but we are still anxious. If he really has the disease, whatever it may be, the rally is probably only temporary and the end will be swift.

The teams left on Friday afternoon, Czigane included; to-day Meares telephones that he is setting out for his second journey to Corner Camp without him. On the whole the weather continues wretchedly bad; the ponies could not be exercised either on Thursday or Friday; they were very fresh yesterday and to-day in consequence. When unexercised, their allowance of oats has to be cut down. This is annoying, as just at present they ought to be doing a moderate amount of work and getting into condition on full rations.

The temperature is up to zero about; this probably means about -20º on the Barrier. I wonder how the motors will face the drop if and when they encounter it. Day and Lashly are both hopeful of the machines, and they really ought to do something after all the trouble that has been taken.
The wretched state of the weather has prevented the transport of emergency stores to Hut Point. These stores are for the returning depots and to provision the Discovery hut in case the Terra Nova does not arrive. The most important stores have been taken to the Glacier Tongue by the ponies to-day.

In the transport department, in spite of all the care I have taken to make the details of my plan clear by lucid explanation, I find that Bowers is the only man on whom I can thoroughly rely to carry out the work without mistake, with its arrays of figures. For the practical consistent work of pony training Oates is especially capable, and his heart is very much in the business.

Wednesday, October 18th 1911

Thursday, October 19th, 1911

The southerly blizzard has burst on us. The air is thick with snow.

A close investigation of the motor axle case shows that repair is possible. It looks as though a good strong job could be made of it. Yesterday Taylor and Debenham went to Cape Royds with the object of staying a night or two.