November 24, 2011

Friday, 24 November 1911


The first of the planned return parties, Day and Hooper, turned back, from Camp 20 at 81° 15'. The original intention had been that they return from 80° 30', but Scott had decided that the unit stay together a few days longer to form a light advance party to make a track.

Day and Hooper took with them a letter from Scott to Simpson, in command back at Cape Evans, changing the orders for Meares and the dogs. "My Dear Simpson. This goes with Day and Hooper now returning. We are making fair progress and the ponies doing fairly well. I hope we shall get through to the glacier without difficulty, but to make sure I am carrying the dog-teams farther than I intended at first -- the teams may be late returning, unfit for further work or non-existent..." [1] With them, they took two of the dogs, including Stareek, who had unaccountably gone on strike. "'Stareek' is a splendid leader and the most intelligent of the dogs," Bowers had written almost three weeks earlier, "and that I think is his undoing. The fact seems to be that he has come to the conclusion that he does not know where he is and that we are still heading away from home, so he has chucked his hand in." [2]

In the evening, the first of the ponies was shot, Atkinson's Jehu, "the crockiest of the crocks" as Cherry put it. This was "a good few miles further South than the lat. where Shackleton shot his first pony," Wilson noted in his diary. [3]


"Bloody horrible lying still," Bjaaland wrote. [4]


[1] Quoted by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in a footnote in The Worst Journey in the World, ch.IX.
[2] H.R. Bowers, diary letter to his sister May, 2 November, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.427.
[3] E.A. Wilson, diary, [date not given], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.427.
[4] Olav Bjaaland, diary, 25 November, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.144.

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