ITS ORGANISATION AND PUR-
CAPTAIN SCOTT'S PREVIOUS
In a paper read before the Dundee meeting of the British Association in September last Sir Cement Markham discussed the objects and aims of the Scott expedition. He explained that in 1893 members of the Royal Geographical Society had made the following outline of work required to be done in Antarc- tica : (1) to determine the nature and extent of the Antarctic Continent ; (2) To penetrate into the interior ; (3) To as- ertain the natone and depth of the ice-
cap ; (4) To observe the character of the underlying rocks and the fossils , (5) To take magnetic and meteorological obser- vations both at sea and on land (6) To observe the temperature of the ocean at all depths ; (7) To take pendum ob- servations, (8) To sound, traul, and
In 1901 the first expedition of Captain Scott with Sir Ernest Shackleton as second in command attacked the pro- gramme. The party examined the edge
of Ross's ice barrier from end to end, took soundings along its length, effected a landing, ascertained the character of the surface ice and made interesting dis- coveries in connection with it. They discovered King Edward Land, with its
rock patches, showing out of the snow at an elevation of 2000ft, and Ross Is-
land, of the volcanic formations of which
a thorough study was made. The party's journeys and researches also es- tablished the existence of a range of mountains at least 1000 miles in length, probably much more, extending from Cape Adare to the other side of the Pole. Two journeys were made, one as far south as 82deg 17mm, and the other up the Ferrier glacier to a height of 9000ft. Captain Scott further discov- ored the existence of the great ice-cap at the rear of these Antarctic mountains—
"the most extensive mass of ice in the World,"— and made complete series of magnetic, meteorological, pendulum, and tidal observations and large collections by trawl and dredge.
"Yet the work could not be com- pleted in that section of the Antarctic regions even in two seasons, " wrote Sir Clement. "There remained the discovery of fossils to fix the period of the Beacon, sandstone, the extension of a line of mag- netic observations to the South Pole, and the discovery of the problems connected with the great ice barrier and the moun- tains on either side of it."
The accomplishment of this remainder was the mission of the second expedition.
"In the first season of the second expedi- tion there were geological expeditions, and the first great success was the discovery of fossils which will establish the geo- logical position of the Beacon sandstone. The next was the journey to the South Pole. Captain Scott had already ascer- tained tnat the Pole was on the ice-cap, from the trend of the land to the east of south. The great distance necessitated the use of ponies and dogs as far as where the glacier was to be ascended. Every detail had been thought out with
that thoroughness which is characteristic of the great Antarctic leader and the achievement of his object was, humanly
speaking certain. But he had to consider the exigencies of the second season. The teams of dogs must be reserved. Captain Scott there- fore resolved that the journey from the foot of the glacier to the Pole, a distance of 1200 miles there and back, should be done by himself and his men dragging their own provisions and constant weights. This is the true British way.
Captain Scott worked out all the details with precision, and exactness. The jourmy was made by three sledges of four men each forming depots at regular distances so that one could reach the Pole. At 87deg. 30min. Scott proceeded to the pole with one stedge full up with provisions. The second sledge returned under the command of Lieut. Evans. Unfortunately
that gallant officer was attacked with a
severe illness on the return march, and
had to be invalided."
Captain Scott was expected to reach the South Pole on about January 14, and his return to safety was described as having been amply provided for by the depots.
In the course of an article on the ex- pedition contributed to the "Times" in
November, Mr. Herbert G. Ponting
Since my return to England from the Antarctic having completed my work of illustrating Captain Scott's Expedition, I have found that much misapprehension ex- ists in regard to the objects of that en- terprise. The popular idea that there has been a race to the South Pole, is an error. Captain Scott has not been racing, nor has he been engaged upon a mere dash to the Pole. He is leading a great scientific expe- dition—perhaps the greatest ever sent out from England—and the incident of the
South Pole was but an incident in the
extensive programme of work mapped out. To race would have been to jeopardise the success of the main objects of the expe- dition and Captain Scott would not allow the presence of a rival in the field to move him from the course which, he con- sidered wisest and best.
"Within four months of our departure from New Zealand he had lost nine ponies out of 19, nearly half the total transport on which he was chiefly relying. It would be impossible to overstate the seriousness of this loss. Had two or three more ponies succumbed it is doubtful whether the main objects of the expedition could ever have been achieved as in this work success is entirely dependent on the trans- port of a certain amount of food. It was principally due to this misfortune that Captain Scott did not start on the Polar journey till November 1. His original plans provided for leaving Cape Evans on October 1 ; but October is a very cold and tempestuous month and to have exposed the remaining transport animals to the additional hardships which this weather would have enlaileel would have involved too grave a risk. He therefore reluctantly postponed his start for a month. That month probably lost for Captain Scott the honour of being first at the South Pole.
"When the last supporting party, led by Lieutenant now Commander Evans, left Captain Scott on January 4, the Polar party were only 145 miles from the goal of their hopes and in excellent health and spirits and were travelling at the rate of 15 miles a day. All being well the Pole should therefore have been reached about Jannary 15 last. Caches of food had been made every 60miles along the route : there was ample for the explorers to enjoy full rations on the whole teturn journey. The party were expected back at Hut Point, 15 miles from Cape Evans where the Terra Nova was waiting for them, about March 13;
hut on March 5 the sea was freezing so rapidly that Lieutenant Pennell, then commanding the ship considered it un- wise to remain longer owing to the hourly increasing risk that the ship
would be frozen in. It is unfortunate that we were unable to remain a week
or ten days longer, as we should almost certainly have brought back with us the news that Captain Scott had reached the
Pole about January 15. He and his companions probably returned to winter quaters beforre the end of March. No further news can be received from him until the Terra Nova again returns from the the South about the end of next March. The members who accompanied Captain Scott to the Pole are Dr. Ed- ward Wilson, Captain L. E. G. Oates, Lieutenant Bowers, and Petty Officier