Then & Now: Ice work

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The Independent Online
March 1912: Having reached the South Pole, Captain R F Scott and his team perish on the return journey. Their bodies are found eight months later, and with them this letter to his brother-in- law, Sir William Macartney:

'It's a pity that luck doesn't come our way, because every detail of equipment is right.

'I shall not have suffered any pain, but leave the world fresh from harness and full of good health and vigour.

'Since writing the above we got to within 11 miles of our depot, with one hot meal and two days' cold food. We should have got through but have been held for four days by a frightful storm. I think the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves, but to fight to the last for that depot, but in the fighting there is a painless end.

'Make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

'Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man, I had to force myself into being strenuous as you know - had always an inclination to be idle.

'There is a piece of the Union Jack I put up at the South Pole in my private kit bag, together with Amundsen's black flag. Send a small piece of the Union Jack to the King and a small piece to Queen Alexandra.

'Tell Sir Clements I thought much of him and never regretted him putting me in command of the Discovery.'

February 1993: Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Michael Stroud, emaciated, exhausted and frostbitten, set a new record of 1,257 miles for walking unsupported across the Antarctic. Their 88-day march is expected to raise pounds 2m for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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