Essex youngster following in the footsteps of Captain Scott

A BUDDING explorer from Clavering has been given the chance to prove that he has got what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Captain Robert Scott of Antarctica.

Henry James Evans is one of 10 candidates shortlisted to take part in the International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE) after entering a competition run by the organiser and the Daily Telegraph.

The aim is to visit Scott’s last camp, where he and two other perished from exposure and starvation 100 years ago. Two of Scott’s comrades had died earlier in the mission.

Before the expedition gets under way 21-year-old Henry will have to take on a selection exercise held at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall next week where he will meet the other candidates.

And he is excited by the challenge ahead.

“I grew up with my grandfather telling me about Captain Scott, passed down from his father who was alive at the time of the Terra Nova expedition in 1912,” said Henry, who is a second-year undergraduate studying marine biology at Plymouth University.

“This story, known throughout the world, is generally 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.

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“I am going to give my all in the selection process – this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

At HMS Raleigh the candidates will undergo a series of exercises, similar to those undertaken by the Royal Navy’s newest recruits, to test their mental and physical stamina.

Two finalists will be chosen to join the expedition, with plans to take the same route as the search party sent out to look for Captain Scott.

The group will start out in January 2012 and travel overland, hauling supplies to reach the site, where relatives of the five doomed men will be flown in for a memorial service.

The selection panel is looking for not so much the fittest person but the candidate who is “most passionate and has the determination to function well in a team and succeed in the expedition”.

And Henry looks to be a strong candidate. The ex-pupil of Newport Free Grammar School has bundles of expedition experience: he has completed the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at bronze, silver and gold levels, and last summer he hiked the 70-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall.

He has taken part in many half-marathons across the country and is also an expert skier.

He has been hoping to visit Antarctica ever since he was a young boy.

Although HMS Raleigh is providing a venue for the selection process, the candidates will be assessed, and the winners chosen, by the ISCE.

The latter is co-ordinating its centenary effort with the British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012, which will mount an expedition to Antarctica in late December 2011. Made up of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel, the expedition members intend to explore remote areas for scientific purposes and ascend previously unclimbed mountains ‘in the Spirit of Scott’.

Another aim of the expedition will be to raise �10,000 for the Help for Heroes charity.

Further information is available on the website while more details on the ISCE can be found at