In Shackleton's honour: Descendants' 900-mile trek

A century after explorer's failed South Pole expedition, family members are to try again. By Paul Bignell

Exactly 100 years since the British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton travelled further south than any human being, his and his team's descendants are to follow in his footsteps and undertake the gruelling 900-mile trek to the South Pole – on foot.

On 29 October 1908, Shackleton set out to become the first man to reach the South Pole. Two months later, after travelling south in severe weather conditions with temperatures dropping below -30C, the group, running perilously low on food, decided it would be too dangerous to continue and turned back. They were 97 miles short of their target. Three years later, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen succeeded where Shackleton's Nimrod expedition failed.

On his return to Britain, Shackleton was hailed a hero and awarded a knighthood for his achievements.

Now, relatives of that expedition will attempt to follow the same route, setting off exactly 100 years to the day since that great trek, and attempt to finish a journey their ancestors first took. It will be led by Lt-Col Henry Worsley, a descendent of Frank Worsley, who was Shackleton's skipper. Accompanying him will be Henry Adams, a great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, and Will Gow who, inspired by a desire to unite Shackleton's descendents at the pole, came up with the idea of recreating the voyage. Mr Gow is related to Shackleton by marriage.

They will be joined by three further team members in January 2009 for the final 97-mile trek to the point that cruelly evaded Shackleton and his men. This team will include Shackleton's great-grandson, Patrick Bergel, David Cornell, another great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, and Tim Fright, the great-great-nephew of Frank Wild.

In preparation, the team has spent months training in Greenland, Scotland and Norway. Henry Adams, a shipping lawyer, said: "I didn't know what to expect when I began. It takes so long just to get from A to B. A lot of the places we've trained in so far have such massive panoramic scenes in front of you, you feel like you're not really moving. You get lost in [taking] one step after another. Training has taken over most of our lives outside work. Every holiday for the last two years has been an expedition holiday; there has been no time with my wife and 18-month-old baby."

Unlike the original team who travelled with eight ponies – all of which died during the expedition – the 2008 team will be pulling 300lb sledges for 10 hours a day. As well as endless amounts of porridge, one small but important token from the original trip will be going to the Antarctic: "We want to take Shackleton's compass – the original compass – to the South Pole," said Mr Adams.

In 1914, on his return to the South Pole, Shackleton would become celebrated for his part in one of the most heroic rescue missions ever undertaken. His expedition became stranded in ice which broke up their ship, Endurance. They took refuge on Elephant Island where the men lived in upturned life boats while Shackleton and five others sailed 800 miles across the world's roughest, coldest seas in an open boat to the remote island of South Georgia. They crossed the icy mountain terrain on foot to reach a whaling station and find rescue for his men – who, by the time the rescuers arrived, had been stranded for almost two years.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Life & Style
The exterior of a central London Angus Steakhouse
food + drink
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit