Grandson to mark polar achievement
The grandson of British polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott concedes "a certain amount of sadness" on the centenary of his forebear's famous achievement.
Captain Scott and a team of four reached the South Pole 100 years ago today, only to be greeted by a Norwegian flag and a note from Roald Amundsen, whose team became the first to reach the bottom of the world 33 days earlier.
Scott and his men died on the return journey.
Falcon Scott will today commemorate at Scott Base his grandfather's accomplishment of reaching the pole.
"It's very poignant," he said.
"I'm happy the expedition is still revered and respected. It deserves to be.
"It's obviously very unfortunate. My grandfather lost his life and from that point of view there's a certain amount of sadness."
Scott, a builder, is spending five weeks on the ice to help preserve the hut that served as a base for his grandfather's ill-fated second expedition and still holds more than 10,000 artefacts from it.
Being in the hut at Cape Evans for the first time was "quite an emotional experience".
"Everyone here has been very supportive of my visit and the Scott centenary. That's very heartening for me," he said.
Scott said he had been kept busy weather-proofing the buildings that surrounded the main hut.
His grandfather's expedition was primarily a scientific one, he said, and he was glad its legacy had lasted.
"I'm very pleased that his work was not in vain. It's still respected by the scientific community today and he certainly deserves to be," he said.
"A lot of the experiments they did 100 years ago are still being carried out. It's good that the centenary's being celebrated here by the scientific establishment. It's very appropriate."
A celebratory dinner, with guests from the United States McMurdo Station, will be held at Scott Base tonight.
Two teams of adventurers have been retracing the Amundsen and Scott routes to the pole as part of centenary celebrations.
The Amundsen team reached the pole first, unbeknown to the Scott team.
The Britons were racing the clock to reach the pole on time.
Their latest update here put them 76 kilometres from their goal with two days left, but they covered their greatest one-day distance yet, 37km, on Sunday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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