100 years on from Captain Scott!

March 7, 2012

Here at Charity Challenge we thought we had a lot to pack ahead of the forthcoming expeditions to the North Pole later this month. Our team have been busy making up dozens of crates and hundreds of kilos of chocolate and freeze dried meals and soups, and packing up group equipment, including sledges, tents, clothing, ropes and skis. But this is the Twenty First Century and thanks to the advances of modern aviation and cutting edge polar technology, the preparations should run relatively smoothly.

And if we weren’t already aware of that, a recent trip to the Natural History Museum proved to us at Charity Challenge that we have nothing to complain about. Scott’s Last Expedition offers a fascinating insight into the explorer’s doomed journey to become the first man to reach the South Pole 100 years ago. They had to pack literally tonnes of equipment, horses, dogs, scientific equipment, and so on for a three year expedition, including even the building materials for their “hut” on the ice for the duration of the expedition.

The exhibition, which runs until September, promises to go beyond the familiar tales of Scott’s three-year journey to the South Pole (1910-1913) and it doesn’t disappoint. The focus is on the everyday stories and activities of the people who took part, their scientific work and unforgettable human endurance.

Visitors can easily spend a couple of hours in the exhibition, reading about everything from the mammoth task of planning the trip to the heart wrenching words of Scott’s final diary entries.

In planning the Terra Nova expedition, Scott had to approach dozens of sponsors who he hoped would help fund the trip. Some lent financial support, while others provided some of the many tonnes of provisions that were loaded on board for the epic trip.

The exhibition then moves into a reconstruction of the hut where Scott and his men lived for much of their time in this inhospitable part of the world. Once inside, you get to see exactly where the men slept, ate and passed the many days that they spent there.

In most people’s minds, Scott is known as being the ultimate explorer, but perhaps what is less well known is just how much scientific research was done while the men were away. The ambitious programme covered a broad range of specialisms including meteorology, zoology and geography. The exhibition features a lot of this work and emphasizes the significance of the discoveries made, even to this day.

Had Scott lived to tell his tale, his experience would have still been overshadowed by the success of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who beat the British team to the Pole by a month. Curators have compared the two missions, highlighting what might have made the Norwegian efforts more successful.

This extremely moving exhibition, which marks the centenary of Scott reaching the pole and his tragic death, features over 200 rare specimens and original artefacts. Many items, such as clothing, skis, food, tools and diaries are being shown together for the first time.

Simon Albert, director of Charity Challenge, said: “I had the pleasure of visiting the Natural History Museum exhibition last week about Captain Scott and his final Antarctic expedition that took place 100 years ago. It was absolutely fascinating and has totally hooked me in. I can’t stop reading about it now and I just wanted to strongly recommend it to anyone interested in adventure and exploration.”

To find out more or to book a ticket, visit

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