Promoting Captain Scott’s legacy: Young scientist gears up for Antarctic expedition
A YOUNG scientist is to promote the legacy of Captain Scott by trekking across the Antarctic 100 years on from the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition which claimed the legendary explorer’s life.
Former Newport Free Grammar School student Henry Evans was selected to take part in the International Scott Centerary Expedition (ISCE) after beating thousands of other entrants in a competition run by the Daily Telegraph.
The 22-year-old, from Clavering, has been preparing for the “once-in-lifetime” trip for the best part of two years – pulling tyres, learning crucial navigational and medical skills and dealing with the “huge media furore” surrounding the project.
He was due to be part of a six-man team but because of budget cuts he will now be flying solo with only one experienced polar guide as company.
“I’m nervous about the expedition because it is dangerous. But I’m extremely well-prepared and have been training for this for months to make sure I’m able to deal with anything the Antarctic throws at me,” the Plymouth University graduate told the Reporter.
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“It’s exciting to take part in what will be a fantastic experience and an incredible honour to follow in the footsteps of Captain Scott and carry on his legacy of scientific exploring.”
Mr Evans, who graduated with a 2:1 in BSc Marine Biology this summer, will trek to Scott’s last resting place – following the same route as the rescue party that went to search for the famous explorer and his four-man team.
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Scott and his companions where attempting to be the first to reach the georgraphic South Pole but when they arrived in January 1912, they discovered they had been beaten to it by a rival Norwegian team.
The party of five died on the ice after running out of food on the return journey.
Once he arrives at the South Pole, Mr Evans will hold a small ceremony to honour Scott’s legacy.
“I’ll be reading extracts of his diary while on the expedition, bringing similar rations to eat at various points and taking a lot of photo and film footage during the trek,” he added.
“The Terra Nova expedition 100 years ago was heavily based around science and as a scientist myself I want to link the trip to Scott as much as I can. I’ve got a huge amount of responsibility because I’m promoting his legacy.”
Weather permitting, Mr Evans is due to fly out to the Union Glacier Camp – next to the largest mountain range in Antarctica, the Ellsworth mountains – on December 17.
He will then be flown to two degrees from the South Pole before beginning a 14-20 day trek which will see him skiing 140 miles to his destination.
Mr Evans will return home on January 20 after spending his birthday and Christmas in Antarctica.
As part of the scientific project – designed with Plymouth University – he will collect snow samples five times a day.
These will be analysed by the British Antarctic Survey to determine the change in the stable isotopes of water, allowing scientists to look at temperature differences and compare them with weather patterns.
Mr Evans has been blogging about his preparations at magoce.com and will use a satellite phone to relay messages on his progress for a Daily Telegraph blog when he reaches Antarctica.
He will also be delivering the winning letters of the Scott 100 letters competition, judged by Falcon Scott, Captain Scott’s grandson, and Sir David Attenborough, to the South Pole.
Visit inspire.wwt.org.uk/write-a-letter-and-win/ to submit your entry before the closing date on November 30.