Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I have a fondness in my heart for arctic and antarctic explorers, whose bravery is (in my opinion) beyond measure. Not least of these is Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922), whose heroism and regard for his crew is legendary. When he led an expedition to cross the antarctic in 1914, his ship Endurance got crushed in the pack ice, leaving 28 men at first stranded on board for 8 months, then camping on a drifting ice floe for the next 6 months, then finally rowing in the lifeboats on a 5-day journey to the nearest shore. It was the first time they had stood on solid ground for 497 days, and under Shackleton's lead, not a single man was lost. If you find this story compelling, you can read about it in his own words. You may also be interested to know that conservators of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, charged with preserving the hut that Shackleton used during his unsuccessful 1917 bid to reach the South Pole, have just discovered two wooden cases of Scotch whiskey that the hero in question left there 100 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. A truly great story, however I find the plight of the lost men just as interesting - Shackleton's mission consisted of two ships the Endurance which is well known and the Aurora. The latter sailed into the Ross sea to lay depots for Shackleton.
    Yet it all went a tad wrong with Shacks not making his landing and the Aurora breaking free of her moorings in a Antarctic storm, stranding ten men. The ten men despite impossible odds raced to deposit Shackleton's lifeline depots, while the rest of the Aurora crew were cast adrift to battle for survival.
    Its a compelling story and there is a book about this side of the mission = the lost men
    ISBN 9780747579724


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