Essex student’s chance to follow in the steps of legendary explorer Captain Scott of Antarctica
A STUDENT with a taste for adventure was “shocked and delighted” at winning a national competition which will see him follow in the footsteps of the legendary Captain Robert Scott of Antarctica.
Henry James Evans, from Clavering, beat off competition from hundreds of willing applicants to secure a place on the International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE), run by The Daily Telegraph, in 2012.
After a year of gruelling selection tests, 21-year-old Henry was finally notified of his selection last week following a two-week cold weather polar training trip to Norway.
“It’s ridiculous, I am still a bit shocked,” Henry told the Reporter. “This journey started last December and I have learned so much. It has already been a fantastic experience and the best is yet to come. It is often a clich�, but I think this is an occasion when I can say that this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The aim of the expedition, which takes place next November, is to reach Scott’s last camp on the centenary anniversary of where his body, and those of two others, was found after they had perished from exposure and starvation. Two of Scott’s comrades had died earlier in the mission.
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It plans to take the same route as the search party sent out to look for Scott.
Henry and his companions will brave bone-chilling temperatures to travel overland, hauling supplies to reach the site, where relatives of the five doomed men will be flown in for a memorial service.
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“It will be a fantastic honour to be part of the expedition,” said Henry, a third year marine biology student at Plymouth University.
“I grew up with my grandfather telling me about Captain Scott. The story is largely viewed as a tragic one but my family have always seen it as one of bravery, fortitude, courage and loyalty acted out under the most appalling physical and psychological conditions.”
He added: “I have always been fascinated by the polars and climate change and if I can bring any of my science experience to the trip then it would be brilliant.”
The trip to Alta in northern Norway threw up many challenges for Henry and the three others who had reached that stage. They learned about how to survive in a polar environment with drills such as putting up tents, operating stoves, knowing what to eat, navigation and first aid, and were physically tested with gruelling cross-country skiing and tyre pulling.
“It was very challenging but I went there in peak physical condition and I gave it my all,” said Henry, who has already taken part in a selection exercise held at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall to test mental and physical stamina.
“Like the other tests, this has been a massive learning experience for me. I think the best bit was one clear night when the Northern Lights came out.”
Further information about the expedition is available at isce2012.co.uk