Letter: On the achievement of an epic journey

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Sir: In his letter (13 February) about the epic journey of Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Michael Stroud, John Wright refers to the 1908-9 attempt on the South Pole by Sir Ernest Shackleton's party as 'a returnjourney (on which) they were able to pick up depots made by supporting parties' (my italics).

In fact, Shackleton's party, without support, covered a distance of about 1,215 statute miles from their Depot A in Lat 79deg 36minS to their furthest south point in Lat 88deg 23minS and returned, picking up depots laid by themselves on the outward leg of the same march. It is this record that Fiennes and Stroud have broken.

All honour belongs to both Sir Ernest's and Sir Ranulph's parties, men of different eras whose achievements approached the limits of human endurance. Comparisons are superfluous, if not impossible to make.

Yours faithfully,


Cranbrook, Kent

14 February