Scott’s 5-man Polar party reached the South Pole on the 17th January 1912 only to discover that Roald Amundsen’s audacious dash had beaten them by a month. The return trip, man-hauling their solitary sledge back across the Polar plateau, down the Beardmore Glacier and onwards across the Great Ice Barrier towards McMurdo Sound was dogged by appalling weather, the deprivations of their inadequate diet and shortage of fuel. First, Petty Officer Edgar Evans, then Captain Oates became exhausted and died. Scott, Bowers and Wilson never reached One Ton Depot. As he lay dying with his comrades, in their tent, a mere eleven miles away from the supplies of fuel and food that might have been their salvation, Scott wrote a ‘Message to the Public’:
‘Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale . . . .’
Before their final departure from the Antarctic, the surviving members of the expedition erected a cross of jarrah wood overlooking McMurdo Sound to the memory of Scott and his companions. It still carries the inscription:
“….To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’)
These noble sentiments form the essence of the Spirit of Adventure which the Captain Scott Society seeks to promote.