Shackleton : The James Caird Society



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On Saturday 4 April the BBC 'Timewatch' programme will focus on Sir Ernest Shackleton and his successors.

A century ago on his Nimrod expedition, Ernest Shackleton and his team of four made an attempt on the South Pole. In January 1909, just 98 miles from their destination, they turned back - and survived. Juyst two years later Roald Amundsen, the first to reach the South Pole, completed the journey. Captain Scott and his team, who made the journey only to discover they had been pipped to the post by the Norwegians, succeeded but died on the return.

This hour-long programme produced by Sean Smith traces the efforts of a team of Nimrod party descendants a century later to cross 900 miles of frozen wastelands and reeenact and complete Shackleton, Wild, Adams and Marshall's historic journey.

Lt. Col. Henry Worsley a distant relation of Shackleton's l;ater captain Frank Worsley; Henry Adams, 33, shipping lawyer, from Snape, Suffolk, great-grandson of Jameson Boyd-Adams, Shackleton's youthful number two on the Nimrod expedition; Will Gow, 35, city worker, from Ashford, Kent, and related to Shackleton by marriage Patrick Bergel, 36, from London, Shackleton's great-grandson, who works in advertising; Tim Fright, 24, from Billingshurst, West Sussex, great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions. He works as a PA to Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria. David Cornell, 38, from Andover, Hampshire, a City fund manager and another great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams;

Henry Worsley, Will Gow and Henry Adams left the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on 29 October, as Shackleton and his team did a century earlier.




The South Georgia Traverse will take place in 2016
In May 1916 Shackleton and two of his loyal companions set out on an unprecedented crossing of the South Georgia icecap to reach the whaling station of Stromness and seek help for his party left behind on Elephant Island.

Charlie Paton and Ice Tracks Expeditions are delighted to share with you the final commemorative voyage for the Centenary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Map of Ice Tracks' planned journey, 2016
Honouring Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men of the Endurance and the Ross Sea Party is at the very heart of this unique voyage, therefore we have incorporated special activities and events, including the crossing of the South Georgia icecap, led by the remarkable polar adventurer, Charlie Paton (b. 1970), a former Royal Marine, and the first Scotsman to walk unsupported to the Geographic North Pole from Canada.

Making the Traverse with Ice Tracks with group leader Charlie Paton
There are two ways to participate in this superb Shackleton Centenary Expedition. The South Georgia Traverse is a four day ski crossing through the island's interior; or if camping and sled hauling aren't your style, you can remain with the cruise and explore the magical coast of South Georgia.

Penguins are the chief inhabitants of South Georgia
For those not taking part in the crossing, We are planning some spectacular hikes, including meeting Charlie's traverse party in Fortuna Bay and joining them on the final miles of this unique traverse. Afterwards we all visit the historic whaling station of Grytviken (where Shackleton and Wild are buried).

See the full itinerary, and other Ice Tracks Expeditions

The crossing of South Georgia will require four days of hiking and camping. Please register your interest as soon as possible, as only 15 places are available for the crossing.

Read about Ice Tracks

The climbers starting point will be that of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, the seldom visited and glorious King Haakon Bay on the southern coast of the Island.

Elephant Island is high on our agenda: we hope to pay tribute to Frank Wild and those men that endured four long, dark months waiting for the Boss to return.

The Ice Tracks ship, Hebridean Sea
We will continue to head South to the Antarctic Peninsula and into the ice of the Weddell Sea to experience the breath-taking vistas, peppered with cobalt blue ice bergs that dwarf everything in their midst!

Some of the remarkable Antarctic ice formations
Ice Tracks ran the Shackleton Centenary Voyage in 2014 and we are returning South in November 2015. We truly believe that Ice Tracks' experience combined with Charlie's Polar expertise will make the Grand Finale of the Shackleton Centenary Voyage 2016 not only one of the most successful voyages but a historical event not to be missed by those inspired by "the boss"'s achievements.

Charlie Paton, leader of the South Georgia Traverse
The South Georgia Traverse is a self-supported expedition for people who are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. The participants will need to demonstrate knowledge and previous experience, although with the right training the traverse can be taken on by novices. All Traverse trekkers will be expected to attend a compulsory training weekend during 2016. The group size will have a maximum of 12 participants/trekkers and they will be accompanied by 3 qualified mountain guides with extensive guiding experience in the Polar Regions, led by Charlie Paton.

The cost of the South Georgia Traverse is USD $5,250 per person above the price of the voyage. We will also be offering a Sea Kayaking Program for a close group of 16 paddlers. Participants will need to demonstrate some paddling experience. We will have 2 qualified and experienced Sea Kayak guides who will take the kayakers on excursions during the entire duration of the expedition, weather and ocean conditions permitting. The cost of the Sea Kayaking Program is USD $795 per person above the price of the voyage.

See the prices for the tour, and other options

To contact Ice Tracks, email
To reach the expedition leader, email

The Ice Tracks logo




The President, Chairman and Committee of the James Caird Society have pleasure in inviting all JCS members and their guests to Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD at 5.30 on FRIDAY 6th NOVEMBER 2015 for the Annual General Meeting, grand unveiling of the boat, lectures and dinner.

The James Caird, now rerigged following its translation from the North Cloister to the new James Caird Hall
Following the unveiling of the boat in its brand new site at The James Caird Hall in the College's state-of-the-art Science and Arts block, there will be a lecture by Dr. Jan Piggott, FSA, and Sebastian Coulthard.

Jan, the former Archivist of the College in succession to Margaret Slythe, and predecessor of the current Archivist Calista Lucy, was a founding committee member of the Society in 1994 and was elected a Vice President (with John Bardell).

He was subsequently Curator of and indeed the inspiration for the superbly informative millennial exhibition Shackleton: the Antarctic and Endurance, staged in the old library at Dulwich College in 2001, with an accompanying 160 page full colour-illustrated book which is now a sought-after keepsake.

Dr. Jan Piggott is also a leading light of the P. G. Wodehouse Society. Wodehouse was a pupil at Dulwich College from 1894-1900.
Heading the navigation, Seb Coulthard was a key, in fact the key, naval figure on the successful recent (2013) Shackleton Epic expedition led by Tim Jarvis which successfully completed the 'Shackleton Double', crossing by sea from Elephant Island and traversing by land the still dangerous South Georgia mountains.

JC lookalike - The cramped scene below decks on the Alexandra Shackleton on her epic voyage, with Seb Coulthard modestly encooped at the rear of the picture
Seb is already making plans to participate in another Shackleton-celebration, an expedition moving southwards to the South Pole from the New Zealand, Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf end of Antarctica. In his talk Seb will appropriately pose a number of questions regarding the James Caird, its commissioning, construction and potentially fatal journey, viewed especially from the point of view of Frank Worsley's navigation, the log of which is reproduced in Harding Dunnett's book, newly issued in paperback by the Collins Press (£10 to members at the meeting), Shackleton's Boat: The Story of the James Caird.

Shackleton's Boat, now in paperback, is the sole book to outline the James Caird's history, from her design and commission at London's West India Docks (by Worsley) and redesign on the ice to her awesome escape and her role promoting Shackleton ever since
That book, Seb explains, was highly influential on his own becoming inspired by the story of the boat, and on his own highly significant interpretation of Worsley's navigational advice, on which the fate of the whole James Caird voyage - and indeed half a dozen other subsequent re-enactions of the boat journey by British, Irish and German expeditions - depended.

This double-edged talk promises to be one of the most absorbing the Society has yet staged, especially as it is intended to focus mostly, perhaps entirely, on the James Caird and its fortunes.

It will be especially fitting on this special centenary occasion, 100 years on from when Harry 'Chips' McNeish prepared the boat on the ice for its dramatic sailing even as the Endurance sank (in November) and was lost.

The Shackleton/Endurance Centenary - see - runs through 2015 to the end of 2016, with special emphasis on April-May 2016 (Escape in three boats from the Ice; Elephant Island; the Voyage of the James Caird) and August 2016 (the Chilean rescue of all 22 marooned men).

Full day-by-day details of centennial Shackleton events 2014-15-16

Shackleton the sports enthusiast. The dedication, 'To Cecily from Mickey, April 30 1918' seems a little strange. The photo clearly predates 1900. His daughter Cecily (if she is indeed the dedicatee) was born on 23 December 1906.




Tim Jarvis's sextet of intrepid Shackleton re-enacters, triumphant at reaching the west (south) coast of South Georgia, after a gruelling 12 days sail in often stormy seas
Sunday 3 February 2013: At 15.30 hrs. GMT six heavily bearded, exhausted but jubilant adventurers led by Tim Jarvis took advantage of 15-20 knot winds and a 2 metre swell to help them land the Alexandra Shackleton, their 22/23 ft. James Caird replica, on the beach at Peggotty Bluff, South Georgia - the exact location where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men landed on 10 May 1916, nearly 100 years ago.

Tim Jarvis looking rather as Shackleton might have looked before the boat journey, photographed by the 6 man team's photographer Ed Wardle
These intrepid British and Australian adventurers - three of them still have a taxing and dangerous climb ahead of them, like Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, across treacherous mountains and glaciers - have made it successfully through Leg One of the historic re-enactment of Shackleton and Frank Worsley's desperate voyage to get help in 1916, which resulted in their reaching Stromness on 20 May and effecting the subsequent rescue of all their men.

A memorable photocall aboard the Alexandra Shackleton: the challenge lies ahead
The Shackleton Epic is aiming to become the first expedition to re-enact authentically Shackleton’s legendary voyage of survival, honouring the great leader as the Centenary of his daring Endurance expedition approaches (1914-1916).

The journey begins amid the treacherous bergs off the Antarctic peninsula
Marching into history - the expedition's boat The Alexandra Shackleton
It took Jarvis and co. just 12 days to sail the 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island, an altogether smoother, more unruffled and less neck-breaking journey than that which it took the James Caird an exhausting 17 days to complete (24 Apr-10 May '16).

A celebratory cuddle for those who have survived unexpectedly treacherous conditions not so far from those that assailed Shackleton's team in 1916
But the present day commemorative expedition is distinctly arduous too. It now faces its perhaps most rigorous test. Now three of the team - expedition leader Tim Jarvis, mountaineer Barry Gray and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle - are preparing to climb across its mountainous, crevassed interior to reach the whaling station at Stromness – just as, after a seven-day rest, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean did in 1916.

Anthony McKee's atmospheric, shadowy, imposing portrait of Shackleton Epic expedition leader Tim Jarvis
Tim Jarvis (46), the Epic Expedition's leader and coordinator, relieved and elated, notes "The Alexandra Shackleton really stood up well to the conditions. As an exact replica of the James Caird, she was designed as a lifeboat and that’s exactly how she performed. She did brilliantly. But steering her was a challenge that required enormous strength and focus."

Read about the expedition's faithful and accurate James Caird replica, the Alexandra Shackleton, honouring the explorer's granddaughter and President of the James Caird Society, patron of the expedition

Visit the expedition blog

"There was just no way to keep dry. The waterproofing with wax didn’t work. Below deck, the boat was constantly damp and being on watch meant that you were directly exposed to the elements. On a few occasions a big wave washed over the deck and down the hatch soaking everything down below."

"As more moisture worked its way into the boat," puts in bosun Seb Coulthard, "the reindeer skins began to get wet and shed. The reindeer hair went absolutely everywhere – it was in your food, your drink, your clothing, your socks – everywhere!"

Working alongside his fellow sailors, the  boat's Skipper Nick Bubb and Bosun Seb Coultard Seb Couthard, Paul Larsen kept the Alexandra Shackleton on course for King Haakon Bay, South Georgia, through storms, high seas and driving rain
Paul Larsen, who as the Frank Worsley of the party steered the boat on a solid course to South Georgia with only a few days of sunshine to record accurate sun sights using traditional celestial navigation, said:
"Putting on your traditional outer gear at night in the dark was like putting on a cold, animal carcass."

See a film about the Epic expedition

What's it feel like? Read an expedition Q&A interview with Seb Coulthard

Not much chance to relax put your feet up, then. Thank God for the food, even when it ws only hoosh shovelled up or slooshed around by the team's masterchef (the Charlie Green of their party) and soon to be their mountain leader, Barry Gray.

It demands a few accolades. "I’m immensely proud of this crew", Jarvis continues. "They all performed incredibly well under such dire circumstances and the fact that we managed to sail 800 nautical miles in such a small vessel really shows what solid performers they are individually, and how incredibly well we worked together as a team."

Visit the Epic expedition's extensive photo galleries

The six-man crew consisted of skipper Nick Bubb, a veteran round the world sailor who is famous for his few words; Australian navigator Paul Larsen; bosun Seb Coulthard, who oversaw the launch of the boat at Weymouth; mountaineer/cook Barry Gray; and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle, who - a veteran of two successful Everest climbs - concedes "This was genuinely the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first few days it was really hard to get any footage at all: one wwas in basic survival mode. But when that storm hit we were riding really HUGE waves – it was terrifying."

Closer, indeed, to what Shackleton experienced than anyone might have expected (the storm as the James Caird tried to put in to South Georgia nearly did for them all in 1916). Thank heavens there were no 90 foot waves.

Ready for the up: the safety and security of the 3-man overland team will hing largely on the expertise and judgment of mountaineer Barr Gray. One foot wrong and ...all might not be well
The Epic Expedition 6-man crew will now rest for a day or so onshore before preparing for the climb by Jarvis, Gray and Wardle. Each will climb using traditional gear, while Coulthard, Bubb and Larsen will use modern gear and follow in a second party with a film crew. The planning, as always, seems impeccable.

You can send messages of goodwill to the expedition as it embarks on and completes it final stages by emailing A copy of your message will appear on the expedition website.

The James Caird battles the south Atlantic against near-insuperable odds
another powerful image evoking the the James Caird's nightmarish crossing of the southern oceans




Oceanwide Expeditions - current leaders in the field
Oceanwide Expeditions ( has an Expedition leaving in February for the Antarctic on a dramatic Polar cruise.

Oceanwide's Expedition Ship the MV The MV
This is a final reduced-price opportunity to sail aboard their ice class expedition vessel Ortelius, for what the company describes as 'probably the most exciting' exploratory voyage to the Ross Sea.

Visit Oceanwide's website to read more about this and other Expeditions

Visit the Oceanwide Expeditions website for details

Running from Monday 18 February till Wednesday 20 March 2013, the Oceanwide Expedition starts by sailing to the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand, includes a visit to the Ross Sea huts, and a host of other prime Antarctic sites, before ending up in Ushuaia, in Argentinian Patagonia.

At least six Helicopter excursions, 12 to 15 zodiac (Antarctic speedboat) excursions, penguin encounters and close-up landings, expected whale sightings, the McMurdo scientific station and much else forms part of the trip.

Oceanwide Expeditions recently won the contest for The World’s Leading Polar Tour Operator.

Oceanwide recently beat all competition to win the World's Leading Polar Tour Operator award
This virtually half-price (broadly, 2 for 1) offer is for new reservations made for two people. While one person pays the normal full price (excluding non-commissionable fuel surcharge of 300 Euros), the second person travels FREE of charge in all major respects: this includes free accommodation, all meals and harbour fees; and also includes free fuel surcharge. It EXCLUDES the non-commissionable helicopter surcharge, given here as 4,200 Euros.

The Bridge of the MV
For further trip information and price calculations please fill in Oceanwide's online contact form or call the team on (from UK) 00 (0) 31 118 410 410. Address is Oceanwide Expeditions, Bellamypark 9, 4381 CG Vlissingen, The Netherlands.

See full details of the offer on Oceanwide's website

Read further details of Oceanwide's Ross Sea expeditions

There is also an offer available for Solo- (single) Travellers, who receive a 50 percent discount on the cabin prices. Please likewise contact Oceanwide for precise price calculations.

During this voyage the expedition will visit the historic huts of both Sir Ernest Shackleton (Cape Royds) and Captain Scott (Cape Evans).

Abraham Ortelius, the 16th Century explorer and cartographer after whom Oceanwide has named its vessel
In a recent interview with Managing Director Michel van Gessel, the magazine Breaking Travel News reported, 'Oceanwide Expeditions has acquired a well earned reputation as a world leader in small-scale seaborne adventures off the beaten track in the Arctic and Antarctic Polar regions.

'With an emphasis on educational lectures by experienced guides throughout its voyages, the operator focuses its attentions on those travellers who want to discover destinations from the inside. Our voyages are primarily defined as explorations, and we spend as much time ashore as possible.''

The m/v Ortelius offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. She can accommodate 100 passengers, has plenty of open-deck spaces and a large accessible bridge.

With many coming from Northern Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, many of them in the 50-70 age bracket, highly educated, interested in nature and history alike, and with its determinedly 'green' policy, Oceanwide has drawn a good following in recent years. All shore activities and lectures, Mr.van Gessel points out, are included in the price.

This voyage on board Ortelius will start on Mon 18 February 2013 in Bluff, Invercargill, New Zealand.

It ends on Wed 20 March 2013 in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Oceanwide Expeditions
Bellamypark 9,
4381 CG Vlissingen,
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0)118 410 410




The Shackleton Epic Expedition to be led by Tim Jarvis in 2012 has named its newly commissioned replica of the James Caird. It is to be called the Alexandra Shackleton after Sir Ernest's granddaughter and the Society's President.

The James Caird Society Newsletter reports that the boat has been built at the International Boatbuilding College at Lowestoft (the original James Caird was built to Frank Worsley's specification at London's East India Docks) under the supervision of Nat Wilson.

The Alexandra Shackleton will begin sea trials in 2011.

Though the builders have been scrupulous to match the essential outer features of the James Caird, Nat explains that inevitably in some respects she is not, or cannot be, an absolutely exact replica.

For various reasons, instead of expensive Baltic pine planking on steamed oak timbers, European larch from Scotland has been used. Additional watertight bulkheading has been added for safety.

The replica has a full deck of pine boards and canvas, whereas the original - initially timber planked only fore and aft - was further decked by 'Chippy' McNeish with dismantled sledges and canvas.

On the ice McNeish built up the James Caird's sides by three planks fitted to the hull with short timbers, also extending the stem at the bow and the stern. To strengthen the keel and allow a mast step for the main mast he bolted a section of a spar onto the hog/keel. The Alexandra Shackleton follows the same principles. The mizzen mast was stepped on the aft athwart.

The plank seams are caulked with cotton, as they were with the original James Caird, and the boat's seams are paid up with a mixture of putty and white lead paste. Originally McNeish & co. had to make use of George Marston's oil paints for this touching-up process!




Tim Jarvis and his team-mate, Australian sailor Don McIntyre, are now in the midst of preparation and fundraising for the Shackleton Epic expedition, a retracing of Sir Ernest and his brave colleagues' lifesaving dash from Elephant Island to South Georgia and arduous crossing of the mountains - some 40 miles of perilous climbing and trekking - to find help for the marooned Endurance crew.

The reenactment is now scheduled to take place between March and May 2012.

At a gathering in London in September 2010 Tim outlined some of the extreme hazards for Antarctic explorers of Shackleton's era, as experienced by Tim himself on his own previous expedition following in Douglas Mawson's footsteps. These included:

Having to pull all your equipment, rations and shelter on a man-hauled sledge; chafing and frostbite accentuated by old Burberry clothes and leather boots; loosening and loss of teeth fillings. When sleeping in authentic reindeer skin bags, one's body heat melted the snow underneath, causing the bags to become sodden. It then froze during the day and became sodden again at night after a long day's journey.

Food was at a minimum, consisting of a starvation ration of pemmican (dried reindeer meat and lard), 5 boiled sweets, some meat 'jerky' (dried long slices) and a tea bag reused morning and night. A good way to lose several stone!

Don will captain the replica James Caird, which is to be named the Alexandra Shackleton, in honour of Shackleton's granddaughter, the President of the James Caird Society. He and his number 2, Dave Pryce, were both on the authentic and successful reenactment of the journey of Captain Bligh, following the Mutiny on the Bounty.




The National Maritime Museum magazine reports that in February 2010 a team of explorers inspired by the heroic spirit of Shackleton set off to document photographically a part of Antarctica, the world's last pristine wilderness.

The route of the 19-day Elysium Epic expedition roughly followed the track of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew after they lost the Endurance. This took them to the Weddell Sea, then across the treacherous Drake Passage and on to South Georgia.

One of the primary objectives of the expedition's leader, award-winning underwater photographer Michael AW, Director of the Ocean Geographic Society and founding director of the conservation charity OceanNEnvironment, and his team was to document faithfully, in present time, the sights and sounds of the region that those early 20th Century explorers would have experienced. It is, he said, "about extraordinary explorers using advanced imaging technologies to document the last wilderness on our planet. The aim of the project is to provide a visual library that documents the flora and fauna of Antarctica, and to produce a documentary feature and book to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the heroic legendary expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans Antarctic challenge in 1914b

The 57-member team came from 18 countries and included artists, photographers, film-makers, musicians and scientists. They included Emory Kristof, who with Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic; the celebrated photographer David Doubilet (of National Geographic fame); and Jonathan Shackleton, Sir Ernest's cousin, who as expedition historian provided accounts of early explorations of Antarctica, including the first sightings in 1820 and first landing in 1821.

During the Elysium project they produced evidence of the rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula: the reductions in sea ice, ice sheet collapse and increases in air and water temperatures are major areas of concern. Rain is quite common and it and soft snowfalls create a significant threat to marine life. Gentoo, Adelie, Chinstrap and King penguins were noted, and crabeater, leopard, Weddell and fur seals. All are dependent on krill (small crustaceans) for their food, which can be abundant one year and almost absent the next.

Their landing on Elephant Island was notable for the presence of fur seals at Cape Wild, which are recovering after man's depredations in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The glaciers draining the icecaps of the peninsula and surrounding islands are also shrinking. The thunderous calving of icebergs and rumble of avalanches were evidence of this. The abundance of wildlife on South Georgia was gratifying, and included reindeer roaming the hillsides. Among the birds in evidence were albatrosses and petrels.

The National Maritime Museum is exploring the possibility of hosting the world premiere of the Elysium Epic exhibition. The Elysium Epic book will be published in 2013, in time for the centenary of the Endurance expedition.




In 1916, legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and 5 companions completed an incredible journey sailing a small rowing boat, the James Caird, across 800 miles of the roughest ocean in the world from Elephant Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, to mountainous South Georgia Island. On reaching South Georgia, Shackleton and 2 men then scaled the island's precipitous peaks with virtually no equipment to reach a remote whaling station.

Shackleton's original goal had been to be the first to cross Antarctica. With the sinking of his ship the Endurance in the pack ice, it instead became a journey of survival, both for the 6 men in the James Caird and for the 22 men left behind on Elephant Island, whose rescue depended on their success...

To this day, no-one has successfully completed Shackleton's 'double' - the boat journey and the mountain crossing of South Georgia.

In 2013, Tim Jarvis will head up a team that will attempt the journey under the patronage of The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter and closest direct descendant of Sir Ernest.

Dubbed "The Shackleton Epic", the expedition will set sail from Elephant Island in the Alexandra Shackleton, a replica of the James Caird and will use only 1916 technology, food and equipment.

"The expedition is in honour of Shackleton's legacy," Tim explains. "It demonstrates how a group of people from different nations are able to put their differences aside to work towards the achievement of a goal against seemingly insurmountable odds, a message that resonates powerfully in our modern world."

"Shackleton's leadership style is central to curricula at many business schools, with his management lessons remaining highly relevant today. Whether it be looking at environmental issues such as climate change, or the state of disarray in the credit markets, Shackleton's message of individuals putting differences aside and working to their strengths to collectively overcome problems, regardless of their scale, has real resonance."

By way of demonstrating Shackleton's ongoing popularity, Shackleton's Way by Margot Morrell has become a seminal management reference book, selling more than 300,000 copies worldwide.

As an environmental scientist and motivational speaker, Tim Jarvis draws on Shackleton's leadership in many of his presentations, and this journey will enable Tim to bring this to life for corporate audiences.

The expedition will furthermore start from Elephant Island, off the Antarctic peninsula, adjacent to where much of Antarctica's ice cap melt has occurred, several hundred kilometres from the infamous Larsen B Ice Shelf.

In his capacity as an environmental scientist, Tim Jarvis aims to document visually the status of Antarctic ice as part of ongoing interest in the field.




The successful launch and completion of the Shackleton Centenary Expedition (1909/2009) coincided with the launch of The Shackleton Foundation, which exists to support and encourage people who might not have the chance to reach their own Antarctic - especially those who are disadvantaged.

An introductory film was made to outline the aims of the Foundation.



Skip Novak's 'Pelagic' fleet of two expedition sailing vessels is available for expedition charter to high latitude destinations in both Hemispheres including but not limited to: Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands, the island of South Georgia, the Chilean Channels, Spitzbergen, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Labrador.

Pelagic Cruises - an exciting way to see the world
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Visit Pelagic's website

Both Pelagics are suitable for:
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If your project is off the trade routes, Pelagic can suit your needs.

All Seasons - All Oceans




On 24th April 2009 the Shackleton Epic Expedition will be launched at Dulwich College, Shackleton's old school and now the final resting place of the James Caird. Details of how you can obtain tickets (£25) are given below.

24th April marks the anniversary of the day Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions embarked on the now legendary voyage of the tiny James Caird, crossing 800 miles of storm-tossed Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia. There they climbed the unknown mountainous interior of the island and eventually rescued Shackleton's men from Elephant Island.

There will be a reception, a mini-auction and a lecture by the Expedition leader, Tim Jarvis, an environmental scientist and veteran of 16 expeditions.

The South Australian Polar adventurer also recently completed with a colleague the first unsupported crossing of Australia's largest desert, the remote Great Victoria Desert, spanning an area of almost 350,000km². The ABC and Channel 4 film Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica won film awards following Tim and colleague John Stoukalo's expedition to re-enact the polar survival journey of Sir Douglas Mawson using the same 1912 clothing, equipment and starvation rations as Mawson would have had. He has navigated through sub-zero Arctic temperatures on Spitzbergen and at the North Pole.

For his Transantarctic Expedition at the millennium (1999-2000) Tim and his colleagues set themselves the mammoth task of manhauling sleds weighing 220kgs over 2,800km at altitudes of up to 4,000 metres and temperatures as low as –45C (a domestic freezer is about –5C).

Meanwhile the Shackleton Epic Expedition's plans are well advanced. A replica of the James Caird is presently being built. Tim's aim is to "do the double", i.e. complete both Shackleton's boat journey and Shackleton, Worsley and Crean's arduous 36-hour trek across the (then uncharted) mountains of South Georgia. There have been several not entirely successful attempts in the past to complete both undertakings exactly and in rapid succession.

The Shackleton Epic Expedition, a tribute to Sir Ernest Shackleton's unique brand of leadership, will depart in 2010. In order to get closer to the spirit of 1916, a sextant will be used on the boat journey - no GPS - and the Expedition will wear original-type clothing and eat original-type food.

The Patrons of the Expedition are the Master of Dulwich College, Graham Able MA, and The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest and President of the James Caird Society.

Tickets to this special launch event are available and cost £25 (please makes cheques payable to The Shackleton Epic Expedition) and can be obtained from Anna Thomsen, 54 Bendermeer Road, Putney, London SW15 1JU. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. (Donations are also welcome.)

Dulwich College SE23 is in South London and lies on the South Circular Road just east of West Dulwich Station, which can be reached from Victoria Station.




A little over a century on from the day of Shackleton's 'Furthest South' of 9 Jan 1909 (88° 23'), when the Anglo-Irish explorer was forced to turn back just 97 miles from his goal, the Daily Telegraph was able to report that the previous Sunday (15 Jan) at 9 a.m. GMT, after a gruelling 900-mile journey across the ice on foot, three descendants or relations of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his original team - Lt. Colonel Henry Worsley MBE (47), Mr. Will Gow (35) and Mr. Henry Adams (34) - completed the whole journey and arrived at the South Pole.

The paper reported that 'The three set off on November 13 and hauled 300 lb sledges for up to 10 hours a day, in temperatures that dropped as low as -62F (-52C). They had the benefits of modern equipment and navigational aids - as well as carrying Shackleton's compass with them - but did not have the ponies and dogs that helped their ancestors. They crossed the vast Ross Ice Shelf, ascended the formidable 100-mile long Beardmore Glacier and trudged across the windswept polar plateau.'

Only two previous expeditions, it pointed out, had succeeded in reaching the Pole along this route: Scott's in 1912 and Robert Swan's in 1986. Although the Beardmore route (which Amundsen - who made it first, in December 1911 - elected not to follow) is some 200 miles longer than the route usually taken by Antarctic explorers, the Shackleton descendants wanted to follow as closely as possible in the footsteps of their forebears.

Speaking via satellite phone, Worsley reported: "We're absolutely ecstatic. The past 65 days have been physically gruelling and mentally exhausting, but this moment makes it all very, very worthwhile.

"Ever since I was a child, completing this journey has been my lifetime ambition. To stand here, with Shackleton's own compass, which never made it to this point all those years ago, is a humbling experience."

The three other members of the expedition - Tim Fright (25), David Cornell (38) and Andrew Ledger (23)- flew out to the 'Furthest South' point on 9 January 9 to commemorate the centenary and make their own way for the final 97 miles of the journey.

Their 'Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition', of which the James Caird Society was one of the first supporters, is also being used as a launchpad for a £10 million Shackleton Foundation, which will fund projects that embody the explorer's spirit and hunger for "calculated risk".

The Shackleton Foundation supports individuals of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds who exemplify the spirit of Sir Ernest Shackleton: inspirational leaders wishing to "make a difference", in particular to the less advantaged. The Expedition's website explains:

"The Foundation exists to support and encourage people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to identify and cross their own Antarctic, particularly where the applicant's chosen project can be shown to directly benefit the less advantaged. Whilst we support projects within and outside the physical arena, it is evidence of Shackleton's spirit that we seek. We believe that singular people making singular contributions to the public good can act as beacons of inspiration, and we wish to support them in their endeavours.

"The Foundation hopes that beneficiaries will develop or possess the personal qualities that define leadership: a fierce personal commitment to succeed, a willingness to take intelligent risks, and the ability to inspire and energise those around them to do their utmost towards worthwhile causes.

Sample from the Matrix Expedition's diary/records: DAY 52 (Sun 4 January 2009)

"With windchill at -47c this was the coldest day yet. 13.6 nm were covered in 7.5 hours. Henry Adams describes the strong headwind gusting up to 35 knots. He describes how the cold and altitude now means it is taking 2.5 hours to boil all the water needed. He says that they remain on target to meet the 97 mile team at the RV on Friday 9 Jan.

"David Cornell and the 97 mile team are now in Puenta Arenas awaiting their flight to Patriot Hills and we should start receiving reports from them shortly."

Main Trio Day 57 (Fri 9 January 2009 - arrival at Shackleton's 'Furthest South' exactly a century after Shacklteon, Wild, Adams and Marshall reached there):

1. Sitrep No 57 as at 0735 hrs GMT 09 Jan 09
2. Distance Covered Today : 11.6 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 700.5 nm
4. Hours travelled: 6
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.29 nm
6. Distance to Pole: 97.00 nm
7. Altitude: 10244 ft ASL
8. Total Raised on Justgiving: £6050
9. Total raised in last 24 hours: £2050

Ernest Shackleton's diary for January 4th, 1909 (from Heart of the Antarctic:-

"The end is in sight. We can only go for three more days at the most, for we are weakening rapidly. Short food and a blizzard wind from the south, with driving drift, at a temperature of 47° of frost, have plainly told us today that we are reaching our limit, for we were so done up at noon with cold that the clinical thermometer failed to register the temperature of three of us at 94°.

"We started at 7:40 A.M., leaving a depot on this great wide plateau, a risk that only this case justified, and one that my comrades agreed to, as they have to every one so far, with the same cheerfulness and regard-lessness of self that have been the means of our getting as far as we have done so far.

"Pathetically small looked the bamboo, one of the tent poles, with a bit of bag sewn on as a flag, to mark our stock of provisions, which has to take us back to our depot, one hundred and fifty miles north. We lost sight of it in half an hour, and are now trusting to our footprints in the snow to guide us back to each bamboo until we pick up the depot again. I trust that the weather will keep clear. Today we have done 12 1/2 geographical miles, and with only 70 lb. per man to pull it is as hard, even harder, work than the 100 odd lb. was yesterday, and far harder than the 250 1b. were three weeks ago, when we were climbing the glacier.

"This, I consider, is a clear indication of our failing strength. The main thing against us is the altitude of 11,200 ft. and the biting wind. Our faces are cut, and our feet and hands are always on the verge of frostbite. Our fingers, indeed, often go, but we get them around more or less. I have great trouble with two fingers on my left hand. They had been badly jammed when we were getting the motor up over the ice face at winter quarters, and the circulation is not good. Our boots now are pretty well worn out,.. our stock of sennegrass is nearly exhausted, we are on short rations of the ordinary allowance of thirty-two ounces.

"We are now in the same clothes night and day. One suit of underclothing, shirt and guernsey, and our thin Burberries, now all patched. When we get up in the morning, out of the wet bag, our Burberries become like a coat of mail at once, and our heads and beards get iced-up with the moisture when breathing on the march. There is half a gale blowing dead in our teeth all the time. We hope to reach within 100 geographical miles of the Pole; I am confident that the Pole lies on the great plateau we have discovered, miles and miles from any outstanding land. The temperature tonight is minus 24°F."

Five days later, on 9 January, the four men reached their furthest point possible and turned back.

They would have been delighted to see that these young modern heirs to their intrepid tradition made it safely.



Australian Flip Byrnes, the great-granddaughter of Shackleton's Endurance photographer Frank Hurley, will ski and sail into the record books as the first Australian to cross Greenland's East-West Kulusk – Ilulissat route and the second Australian woman to traverse Greenland.

Together with four others, including Chris Sunderland and his fiancée Rachel Owen, both from the UK, Flip is currently taking part in the 640 km Arctic Kites Expedition.

Her dog 'Basil' (in fact a broom-head on wheels rather than the canine variety!) is going along as her mascot to publicise the 'Black Dog' Institute for treating depression. One in five Australians will suffer depression in their lifetimes. Inspired by watching a close friend suffer from BiPolar disorder for 14 years, she is hoping to raise AUS$15,000 for the Black Dog Institute, to assist it to extend its work improving the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders and enable it to counsel and treat many more patients suffering from depression (Winston Churchill famously called his depressions 'the Black Dog') than is currently possible.

During April and May 2008 the Arctic Kites international team (others of whom will raise money fro diabetes) will cross the Greenland Icecap from its east to west coast, using skis and ski sails. The 640km (c400m) journey from Nagtivit on the East coast to Ilulissat on the West coast will be undertaken on skis, whilst hauling pulks (sleds) each weighing around 100kg. Whenever the conditions are appropriate, sails will be used to pull the team and their pulks across the ice.

The expedition may take up to five weeks and the team will have to survive arctic storms, crevasses, polar bears, sensory deprivation and temperatures as low as -40°C (excluding wind chill).

85 per cent of Greenland is covered by an icecap which holds 10 per cent of the world’s total freshwater reserves. The Greenland Ice Cap is approx. 1.8 million in size and is almost 14 times the size of England. Only 410,449 square km are ice-free - an area equivalent to the British Isles. The Greenland icecap is the Arctic’s largest glacial mass: at its thickest points it is over 3 km deep and contains ice which froze 120,000 years ago. The bottom layers of the ice closest to the bedrock are up to 2 million years old. If the icecap melted, the sea level would rise by approximately 5 metres!

For millions of years, the weight of the Ice Cap has pressed the original bedrock down about 800 meters. Icebergs snap off glaciers at the edge of the Ice Cap. The world's most active glacier - at Ilulissat - moves 25-30 metres each day and calves across a front 10 km in width. Icebergs protruding more than 100 meters above the water line are often seen in Ilulissat - and only one tenth of the iceberg shows above the surface.

The Ice Cap was first crossed in 1888 by the Norwegian Fridjof Nansen, an influence upon and friend of Shackleton and Amundsen. The trip was done on skis. Crossings are usually made from the area around Ammassalik to Kangerlussuaq. In 2006 more than 50 non-scientific expeditions visited the Ice Cap. Among them were groups of skiers who paraglided from the center of the Ice Cap to Kangerlussuaq and a who river-rafted on the meltwater torrents.

See full details of the expedition at:
and also: www.crossinggreenland.




Details of the Interchange Shackleton South Pole Expedition 2007
Dramatic events affected the three-man expedition currently attempting a reconstruction of Shackleton's planned journey from the Weddell Sea to the South Pole, had the Endurance succeeded in landing.

Listen to Doug reporting on 8 January

Unfortunately James Fox was feeling the ill-effects of the altitude and strain plus an adverse reaction to the dehydrated food, and was forced to abandon the expedition and be picked up by plane. Having had to clear a runway for the plane on the 20th December (and therefore having travelled only 1 km on that day), the team had their hopes dashed when the plane seemed almost to touch down before heading off into the sky again, the pilot stating that conditions were not safe to land.

The glorious waste that is Antarctica, as seen by expedition members
The next morning (21st) Richard, Doug and James travelled 10.1 km before preparing a new runway, digging it out of the ice with shovels and ice picks. Unfortunately bad weather conditions at Novo base made it impossible for the plane to take off so another day was wasted: on an expedition such as this time is critical. The team moved south the following day (22nd), with James, to find another landing place. In spite of the difficulties they covered 31.3km. Next day (23rd), they prepared a third runway; and this time James was finally picked up by a DC3 on Christmas Eve at about 6pm.

Listen to Richard reporting on 10 January

Richard and Doug set off in earnest on Christmas morning, Richard also doing several interviews that day, including Sky News, Sky Sports and Radio 5 Live. With increasing altitude and the fresh snow, which creates more friction on the runners of the sleds, it has been very challenging. Whiteout conditions have developed and they have had to cross more crevasse fields, as well as encountering some energy-sapping climbs. The only way to replace the vast amount of energy they are expending is to eat: Richard has already lost about a stone and a half.

Temperatures around Christmas were relatively mild, around minus 23 degrees. The pair simply can’t afford to lose any further weight through sweat. The conditions at altitude, however, have caused them to suffer from coughing and headaches. The team has climbed to an altitude of around 2400m (7800 feet, or about a mile and a half). The South Pole is 2835 meters above sea level; so Richard and Doug were at that point a mere 400 metres (1200-1300 ft)from their objective, the polar plateau.

2007 Interchange Expedition. The three-man expedition is now a two-man journey  Richard Dunwoody with map checks which bit of snow comes next
New Year is duly celebrated by the two surviving members! Remarkably, despite temperatures falling below -23 degrees, expedition leader Doug can still brave the chilly Polar air
Also The higher up you go, the less oxygen in the air; and this makes it harder to breathe -- not the best thing when you are dragging a sled for 10 hours a day. Just another thing the team has to deal with everyday.

Map showing the mountain layers of Antarctica (elevation in metres) and the party's position following the ascent, more than halfway to the South Pole. The ascent from either Sea rises to 9000 feet. The land further to the east rises to over 13000 feet.
An 18-year-old Galway Whiskey helped them see in the New Year. Now the have reached the polar plateau, the two-man team is back on schedule after all the various delays. During week five, they trekked the farthest total distance of the expedition to date: nearly two degrees in one week. While the sleds are a little bit lighter, lessened by food and fuel consumption, the altitude seems to be taking its toll on both team members and they are continuing to lose body weight. The pair plowed over sastrugi (sharp ridges on the surface of the glacier) under brutal conditions. As their report says: 'The windchills go right to the bone when you've lost most of your body fat.'

Close-up showing Weddell Sea to the North and Ross Sea and ice shelf to the south, and the relation of the Pole to both. The party has now made most of the ascent from the green (lower) to the red (upper reaches) en route to the South Pole. The land on th
They are burning up to 8,000 calories a day as they drag their sleds for 10 or 11 hours a day. However if their current pace continues, they should arrive at the Geographic South Pole sometime in around two weeks: all being well, they hope to reach the Pole between the middle and end of January.

6th week: Doug photographs Richard Dunwoody crossing the 88th parallel. Link through to Doug's 9 January report
The temperatures are lower now - on January 2nd down to nearly minus 40 with wind chill, with heavy snow overnight: they woke up on 3rd to find their sleds buried by snow. As of the 2nd Jan they had trekked a total of 643.7km (400miles) and had approximately 437.7km (272miles) to go to reach the Pole. By 5 Jan they had passed the 87 degree mark (see below). Both are in great spirits, relishing the challenge.

The tent in the wilderness
They thank everybody for the messages (which they receive each evening) and wish all a very Happy New Year.

Map showing the team's gradual progression southwards through the latitudes South, degree by degree to pass 87 degrees South. The South Pole lies at 90 degrees South.
Go to the expedition's website




The three team members: James Fox, Doug Stoup, Richard Dunwoody
In late November 2007 three men, Doug Stoup, James Fox and the renowned jockey Richard Dunwoody, set out to repeat the planned route of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-15, one which Shackleton was unable to achieve due to the break-up of the 'Endurance' amid the pack ice and the stranding of the Aurora's Ross Sea Party.

The team hopes to reach the Geographic South Pole at at 90 degrees South in 60 days, or less, travelling totally unsupported and dragging 250 lb (113 kg) sleds over 660 miles (1,062 km).

Map showing the expedition's route from Cape Town to the Weddell Sea and thence to the Pole
Their journey from Cape Town to base camp (2,265 nautical miles) took six hours by plane (and avoided the hazards of pack ice which hampered Shackleton); they landed on the blue ice runway at Novolazarevshaya base, one of six Russian meteorological bases in Antarctica located on Dronning Maud Land at 70 degrees south. They spent a short period of time there, undertaking further preparations prior to their final departure. A ski- equipped DC3-67 took them to their start point, approx 80 degrees South, 30 degrees West close to the Ronne Ice Shelf, bordering the Weddell Sea and close to Berkner Island where Shackleton's Endurance became trapped.

The expedition began in earnest on 1 December: a mammoth 660 mile trek across the vast expanse of Antarctica to the South Pole.

Crossing the vast expanse of Western Antarctica: the team trekked nearly 50 km in their first four days (1-4 Dec), crossing crevasse fields, climbing upwards in sub-zero temperatures with windchills of -23 degrees and colder. Each day their sleds get lighter as they gradually consume provisions, while their endurance improves. They were now skiing up to 9 hours a day.

Battling through a white-out: one of the most dangerous of all Antarctica's arsenal of weapons to challenge man Out in clear skies again
Hauling out of a deep valley Skirting a dangerous concealed crevasse as the mountains loom
Week Two (7-13 Dec) saw slightly fewer crevasses and about a 20 percent reduction in sled weight; but there were still many whiteout days and agonizing uphill climbs over very slippery ice. It was a case of two weeks 'pushing to the limit' just to make progress (and survive). The temperature is way below freezing, day and night.

By 14 December they had trekked more than 200 kilometers over some of the most treacherous terrain on the planet, and moved 2 degrees closer to the Pole (leaving 8 degress to go). Avoiding numerous crevasses and dragging full sleds uphill in whiteout conditions and sub-zero temperatures has become their daily routine. But despite these gruelling conditions, the team is on schedule; and should eventually get ahead of schedule.

The tent is pitched for yet another ice-cold night at temperatures well below freezing Doug gets on the phone to base. The cellphone, sometimes clogged with messages, is their only means of being on touch.
Richard takes over the phone. 7-8 miles in four days, 75 km in a week and 120 miles a fortnight must seem a far cry from hurtling in the saddle across the turf at Newmarket or Sandown, Goodwood or Ascot, Cheltenham or The CurraghJames seems to be on nurse or bedtime story duty. Hot toddies and hoosh are de rigueur when the Antarctic night winds are howling.
The most physically demanding part was the ascent up the Slessor Glacier. The ascent of this mountain range took them from sea level to 3,000m (10,000ft) - akin to Shackleton's ascent to the Polar plateau via the Beardmore Glacier, and Scott's after him. Due to the low level of the earth's atmosphere here this is the equivalent of going to 4,000m (13,200ft) three times the height of Ben Nevis and the equivalent of an ascent of Mon Blanc (4,200m), the ascent occupying some 10 days, with each member pulling 250 lb. sledges, about one and half times their body weight, and using crampons.

Next will come the 'Great Crevasse Field' which has never been crossed on foot. Two 2 weeks is the estimate, bringing the team close to Christmas Day, by which time they hope to have completed the toughest and technically most taxing part of our expedition. Once through the crevasse field they will have arrived at the Polar Plateau and should be able to complete the expedition on the blue ice, reaching the Geographic South Pole at 90 degrees south.

Read about James

Read about Richard

Read about Doug

Their distance covered over the first week (to 6 Dec) was 70.4 km (81.07 South) and in the second week, 127.6 (82.04 South). Full details, including distance and time charts and audio reports from members of the expedition, can be found at their website,

Check out the latest expedition reports




The Nimrod, which accompanied Shackleton on his polar mission of 1907-9
The Shackleton Centenary expedition (patron: HRH The Princess Royal), to be led by Henry Worsley, has thoroughly updated its website in preparation for 2008, the year of its departure.

Read all about the Shackleton Centenary Expedition

It includes an outline of the purposes of the Shackleton Foundation, inspired by the idea that 'any truly determined individual can make something remarkable happen, and inspire others to do the same.'

You can listen to the wax cylinder recording of Shackleton speaking, enumerating his key men of the 1907-9 expedition, find out about the South Polar Times, read a summary of the Nimrod expedition, the ascent of the Beardmore Glacier and the failed attempt on the Pole (which this centenary party plans to rectify), read of a rare, splendidly illustrated book about The Endurance and the James Caird_, learn about an ancient lake that lies hidden more than two miles beneath the frozen surface of Antarctica, look up the account by Max Worsley (aged 13) of his father's preparations to follow in Shackleton's footsteps.

The Shackleton Centenary Expedition's leader, Henry Worsley
The whole site is excellently presented: most of the items are posted by the sixth and latest member of the expedition, Tim Fright, great-great-nephew of Shackleton's loyal lieutenant, Frank Wild. It also contains numerous imaginative and useful links through to a vast number of Shackleton- and Antarctic-related sites.

Fascinatingly, the party will approach the Ross Sea and Ross Island not by ship from Lyttelton, New Zealand, but by plane from Punta Arenas, Chile. The site also reveals that they will begin their ordeal by climbing Mt. Erebus, repeating Shackleton's first ever climb in 1907.

Mount Erebus erupting
As they explain, 'We then intend to depart from the Shackleton Hut at Cape Royds on October 29th 2008 at 10 a.m., exactly a hundred years to the day since Shackleton and his men set out.

Travelling unguided on skis, we will cross the Ross Ice Shelf, individually hauling our expedition supplies in sledges. We will then ascend the seldom-crossed Beardmore Glacier, en route collecting blue ice samples for scientific analysis back in the UK. Then it's on to the Polar plateau, 400 miles towards the Pole itself.

The Beardmore Glacier, Shackleton's route to the Pole
There is a substantial section on the Beardmore Glacier, focus of some of the expedition's scientific aims and the route Shackleton, Wild, Adams and Marshall too in their bid to reach the South Pole.

William Beardmore, Lord Invernairn (on left with trademark moustache) at the launch on Clydeside of the ship The Duchess of Atholl. The Duchess herself is naming th ship.
The Minister for the London Olympics, Tessa Jowell, endorsed the expedition, saying: "I am proud to offer my support for such a bold and exciting venture. The family links between the original expedition of 1908/09 and the current team a century later make it a unique mission, and I hope that they are successful in achieving their aims. The Olympic Games presents a unique challenge to athletes which is so similar to the challenges to which Shackleton so magnificently rose. Watching people challenge their limits and surpassing them is both laudable and compelling, and offers a useful wider lesson to us all to keep challenging ourselves."

Donations are welcome to the Shackleton Centneary's immensely deserving appeal.

a sledge from Shackleton's 1907-9 'Nimrod' expedition

The Shackleton Centenary Expedition




From December 2003 to January 2004 the British Schools Exploring Society under the leadership of Brigadier David Nicholls (Royal Marines retired) took a 30-strong expedition including 21 Young Explorers aged 18 to 24 to Chile, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The expedition was supported by HMS Endurance. Their aim including a noble attempt to locate Shackleton's cooking pot abandoned during his crossing of South Georgia with Worsley and Crean, the climbing of four Virgin peaks, detailed scentific research, in the course of which they also contributed to the upkeep of the South Goergia whaling stations and cemeteries.

Further details are posted on the 'Young Caird' news page, and the full story can be found on the official South Georgia website.




The Irish South Aris Expedition, of which Frank Nugent was joint leader, attempted in January 1997 to repeat Shackleton's crossing from Elephant Island to South Georgia. They were forced to scuttle their boat - christened the Tom Crean - when they ran into a sustained Force 10 storm, which capsized them three times in 30 hours. Frank Nugent went on in February l997 to complete a re-enaction of Shackleton's South Georgia traverse from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.



'If you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore. If you are a brave man you will do nothing, if you are fearful you may do much...' These words from Apsley Cherry-Garrard served as a motto for the Shackleton Memorial Expedition 2001, which has also just completed a crossing of South Georgia.

Their plan was to attempt a traverse of the island retracing Shackleton's route - Peggotty Camp, Shackleton Pass, Trident Ridge, Crean Glacier, Fortuna Glacier, Fortuna Bay and Stromness. 'No man had ever penetrated a mile of coast of South Georgia at any point, and the whalers, I knew, regarded the country as inaccessible', wrote Shackleton.

Following a landing on Elephant Island, the party - Neil Laughton, Trevor Potts, Lewis McNaught, Peter Oldham, Martin Hartley and Rebecca Harris - was transported by icebreaker to South Georgia to begin the climb. Unable to put in at King Haakon Bay owing to force 10-ll gales (as ferocious as those Shackleton and Worsley faced tacking in aboard the James Caird) the expedition made for Possession Bay, round the top of the island, and launched its climb from there.

The Expedition took three and a half days to traverse South Georgia's treacherous mountain terrain. Linking from Possession Bay with Shackleton's original route from King Haakon Bay, they thereafter navigated a path through the same mountains, glaciers, and crevasses that Shackleton crossed, before reaching the now deserted whaling station at Stromness. They encountered atrocious weather and perilous climbing conditions, with blizzards and white-out for most of the time, wading through snow up to their thighs.

For one member of the five-man climbing team, Trevor Potts, the expedition represents the second leg of an amazing journey. In 1994, keeping touch with Harding Dunnett, Alexandra Shackleton and the publicity team at the London Boat Show at Earl's Court - the Shackleton event which provided the spur to the formation of the James Caird Society - Trevor and his three companions completed the 800 mile sea-crossing from Elephant Island to South Georgia - the first expedition to do so - in his boat the Sir Ernest Shackleton, an exact replica built by McNulty's shipyard on Tyneside of the original 23 foot James Caird. The Sir Ernest Shackleton was flown down to the Falkland Islands by the Royal Air Force specially for the Expedition.

The Shackleton Memorial Expedition's climb over South Georgia has enabled Trevor at last to fulfil his long-held dream of recreating both the sea and land sections of Shackleton's heroic journey.

With the James Caird Society's President, the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, as Patron, it also raised money for two important charities - The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and The Shackleton Scholarship Fund. Any donations would be most welcome to : The Shackleton Memorial Expedition, Wades Cottage, Slindon, West Sussex, U.K., BN18 ORA.



Three climbers, Jock Wishart, Duncan Nicoll and Jonathan Chastney, set out in November-December 2000 to retrace the route across South Georgia taken by Shackleton, Worsley and Crean in l9l6. Members of the Shackleton's Steps Expedition wore replicas of Shackleton's original Burberry gabardine clothing as they sought to rechart his treacherous route over ice-bound peaks, glaciers and snowfields They recorded film footage for the TV production company Tiger Aspects, which is developing a documentary about the crossing for global broadcasting.

Wishart was previously a member of the first team to walk unsupported to the Geomagnetic North Pole in 1992, and in 1996 made a televised trek to the Magnetic North Pole. Chastney, an accomplished mountaineer, sailor and explorer, was a member of the team that made the first ascent of Mount Katherine-Jane on Smith Island, Antarctica, in l995. Nicoll, six times UK national champion in quads, doubles and single sculls, set a world record rowing from London to Paris in l999, and in l997 rowed across the Atlantic in 60 days in a 24ft open rowing boat - roughly the same length as the James Caird.

Although they succeeded in reaching the Shackleton Gap, the Murray Snowfield, and all four passes of the Trident Ridge, the three climbers were thwarted at every stage by bad weather (low pressure, gale force winds and a dangerous build up of avalanching snow above the descent to the Crean Glacier). Their experience of such severe conditions brings to mind those that must have threatened Shackleton and his two intrepid colleagues, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean.



Conrad Anker, Reinhold Messner and Stephen Venables reconstructed Shackleton, Worsley and Crean's crossing of South Georgia for inclusion in the WGBH/Nova/White Mountain Films IMAX film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. It was Anker, who has climbed in Alaska, Antarctica, Russia and Patagonia, who discovered George Mallory's body on Everest shortly before mounting has own attempt on the summit.

Messner was the first to conquer Everest solo, and without oxygen. In l989-90, inspired by Shackleton, he effected a crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. He was also the first to climb all the world's 8,000-metre peaks (those over 26,400 feet).

Stephen Venables is a mountaineer and writer, best known for his part in the Anglo-American-Canadian Everest expedition (up the Kangshung face of Everest), when he was also the first Briton to reach the summit of Everest without oxygen. During 14 visits to the Himalayas, he has made many first ascents including Kishtwar Shivling, the Solu Tower and Panch Chuli V, a remote peak on the borders of India, Nepal and Tibet, where he sustained a nearly fatal fall. He started climbing whilst reading English at New College, Oxford. His first book, Painted Mountains, won the Boardman-Tasker Prize for mountain literature; Everest - Alone at the Summit was runner-up in 1989 while the most recent, Himalaya Alpine Style, a seminal work on modern Himalayan climbing, won the Banff Mountain Literature Festival Grand Award. Everest Kangshung Face told the story of the 1988 expedition.

Venables has increasingly been drawn to the mountains of the far south : The Andes, Antarctica, South Georgia and Tierra del Fuego, where he climbed a new route on Monte Sarmiento. He earns his living as a writer and lecturer, living with his wife and two children in Bath. His most recent book, A Slender Thread, is shortlisted for this year's mountain literature award and the Boardman-Tasker Prize. His latest excursion was a climb of the Matterhorn in tweed suit and nailed boots for a BBC documentary about the first ascent.

'When I first came to South Georgia,' says Venables, 'we were exploring the southern end of the island and making first ascents of the large peaks towards the southern tip; so I hadn't actually been on the terrain of Shackleton's traverse at the northern end. But I've experienced the island and its incredible blizzards that just seem to hit you from nowhere. That reinforced my respect for what Shackleton, Worsley and Crean achieved. But I understood too that sense of Providence which they mentioned in their accounts : Providence for once smiling on them and giving them thirty-six hours of clear weather - the only clear weather break that entire winter - which enabled them to make their crossing safely. It was a combination of incredible determination, experience, leadership and that vital bit of luck at the crucial moment.

'We covered the entire route Shackleton's party took in May l9l6, except for allowing ourselves one short cut - we omitted part of Breakwind Ridge. Our sequence is just a small part of the film, which covers all of the Endurance expedition : NOVA/WGBH have done a remarkable job seamlessly incorporating Hurley's original film into wonderful new colour footage, and using some stunning aerial photography, shot by helicopter, which add a whole new dimension.

'The climb up to the first big transverse ridge was longer than I expected, the crevasses bigger and more threatening than I had ever imagined. But it was thrilling to see the four notches in the ridge, described so precisely by Frank Worsley all those years ago, and the huge windscoop at the side of the glacier, which he said would easily swallow up two battle cruisers. Unlike Shackleton, we chose the third, not the fourth notch, and set off down the east side. It must have been nearly 1,000 feet down to the Crean Glacier. As Reinhold Messner pointed out, 'we were effectively trapped'.

'Later, after we had sniffed out a descent, looking back up at the slope which Shackleton and his companions had glissaded down, we knew that if we had tried to slide the same way, all three of us would have been killed. Even allowing for the fact that glacial recession has made the slope much more fractured, we were still amazed by Shackleton's boldness in 1916, launching himself with Worsley and Crean down that huge slope, without being able to see the bottom.'

Stephen Venables' striking account of the mountain crossing can be read in the catalogue of the Dulwich Exhibition Shackleton, the Antarctic and Endurance.



In February 2001 Norwegian polar traveller Liv Arneson and her colleague, American Ann Bancroft, successfully completed their attempt to become the first woman's team to ski across Antarctica.

They hauled 250lb (112 kg) sleds 2,400 miles (3,860 km) across the frozen wastes, enduring temperatures averaging 30 degrees below zero and minus 35 degree winds (gusting up to 100 miles per hour), and ascending to 11,000 feet (3,300 metres). When conditions permitted, the pair sped up their journey by 'sailing' across the ice on skis, attached by harness to a flying kite-sail.

Liv Arneson (47), born near Oslo, is no stranger to difficult climes and terrain. In l993 she led the first unsupported women's crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap. In 1994 she became the first woman to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole, following which she wrote Snille piker går ikke til Sydpolen (Good Girls do not Ski to the South Pole), a book about her expedition (1995). She subsequently attempted the north face of Everest. Minnesota-born Ann Bancroft (45) has comparable polar experience : in l986 she drove a dog sled from Canada to the North Pole as the only female member of the Steger International Polar Expedition. In 1993, she led the American Women's Expedition to the South Pole, becoming the first woman to reach both poles.

Both explorers had dreamed of travelling to Antarctica since they were 12, and were inspired by Alfred Lansing's book Endurance about Shackleton's 1914 attempt to lead the first transantarctic crossing. Both have previously been to the North and South poles.

The pair reached the South Pole (9,300 ft, 2835m) on Tuesday Jan 16th. Having ascended the Titan Dome (9,856 ft), by Jan 20th they were l00 miles (160 kilometers) from the start of their descent of the Shackleton Glacier - a river of ice cutting through the Transantarctic Mountains - to the Ross Ice Shelf, which lies at the bottom of the glacier and marks the formal completion of their crossing, a distance of about 132 kilometers (82 miles). The courageous pair reached McMurdo, their destination (a further 488m/782km) on February 11 2001, completing their Antarctic Odyssey four days ahead of schedule.



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