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‘The Worst Journey In The World’

1 year ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


28 December 2022

We all know, or at least think we know, the most famous adventure stories as mankind battled to go where it had never gone before. Hillary and Tenzing’s ascent of Everest in 1953 is one, Scott and Amundsen’s race to reach the South Pole is another (as an aside, I find it astonishing that to this day no one is quite sure who first reached the North Pole, but that’s another story for another time). And I don’t suppose there is much that we at Ti can add to these well-worn tales.

Which is why in our ‘Universe’ library, we like to recall those often no less perilous outings that didn’t capture the public imagination in quite the same way, maybe because they were less successful or because the ultimate aim was less ambitious. So this is not a story about reaching a pole or climbing a mountain, but of collecting some eggs. Three, to be precise. Despite this apparently rather modest ambition, it is one of the greatest stories of human endurance and defiance of apparently insuperable odds there has been.

It is July 1911, a horribly cold time to be in the Antarctic, partly because it is the dead of winter and partly because, as a result, the sun has already been gone for months and is in no hurry to return. Sitting out said winter in their self-built, flat-packed hut (so sturdily constructed it stands to this day) are the members of the Terra Nova expedition. You’ll know it because its ultimate aim was to get Captain Scott and a small team to the South Pole, a feat achieved just over a month after Roald Amundsen, who’d told Scott he had no intention of going south, had got there himself. And we all know what happened next.

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