December 26, 2011

Tuesday, 26 December 1911


"It seems astonishing," Scott wrote at 86° 2' S, "to be disappointed with a march of 15 (stat.) miles, when I had contemplated doing little more than 10 with full loads." [1]

"Our height yesterday morning by hypsometer was 8000 feet," wrote Bowers. "That is our last hypsometer record, as I had the misfortune to break the thermometer. The hypsometer was one of my chief delights, and nobody could have been more disgusted than myself at its breaking. However, we have the aneroid to check the height. We are going gradually up and up." [2]

Day and Hooper arrived back at Cape Evans with the news that Scott had taken the dogs on further than intended. Scott's orders to Simpson, in charge in Scott's absence, instructed that the dogs "might be late returning, unfit for work or non-existent. So don't forget that the [supplies] must be [got to One Ton] somehow." [3]

Meares and the dogs had been expected back by 15th December. Simpson was of course not to know that they had not turned back until the 11th. In lieu of the dog teams, therefore, he promptly sent Day and Hooper to One Ton to replenish the depot.


"Boiling sun on our backs," wrote Amundsen. "Brilliant going that puts the dogs in top form, [they] really seem to be putting on weight." [2]

Land was sighted. Amundsen thought it was a new discovery, but realised his mistake a few days later, that the sun and mirage had distorted perspective. (Amundsen was in fact rather short-sighted, a fact that he concealed for most of his life.)


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 26 December, 1911, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition : the Journals, v.1.
[2] H.R. Bowers, diary, 26 December, 1911, quoted by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in The Worst Journey in the World, ch.10.
[3] George Simpson, diary, 31 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.426.
[4] Roald Amundsen, diary, 27 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.498.

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