Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872 – 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole (1910 - 1912). He was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. He is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage. Along with Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, Amundsen was a key figure in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. (Source: Wikipedia)
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, (born 1944) is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records. Fiennes served in the British army for eight years. He undertook numerous expeditions and was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means, and the first to cross Antarctica entirely on foot. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he is the world's greatest living explorer.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was patron of this expedition.
This is a reference to the literary critic Harold Bloom who set out a literary theory that many writers suffer an Oedipal connection to pre-cursor writers who they deeply admired but whom they powerfully reject in their writing, while continuing to be subliminally influenced.
Explorers, too, wish to follow in the footsteps of - but also to surpass - their heroes, a further link between the journey of a writer and that of polar exploration drawn in Riding the Ice Wind.
An expanse of permanent sea ice which abuts the continent of Antarctica, named after Sir James Clark Ross (see bookmark for page 9).
Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen all approached Antarctica by sledging across this great ice shelf, which Scott called ‘the Barrier’. Amundsen, riskily, moored his ship up against the cliffs of the Barrier, which could have come away from the ice mass at any time. Scott and Shackleton both moored on Ross Island.
Annex II to the Environmental Protocol (Conservation of Antarctic Flora and Flora) required that dogs were removed from Antarctica by April 1994. This ban was introduced because of concern that dogs might introduce diseases such as canine distemper that might be transferred to seals, and that they could break free and disturb or attack the wildlife. (Source: British Antarctic Survey)
Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was crushed in sea ice before reaching Antarctica, forcing Shackleton and his men to abandon her and commence what became one of the greatest tales of survival and escape ever recorded. If you don’t know of this story, I can’t bear to spoil it by a short summary, please go and read Shackleton’s book: South.
The Terra Nova was the name of Scott’s ship on his 1910-12 expedition to Antarctica during which he died on the fateful return haul from the South Pole with his colleagues Edward Wilson and Birdie Bowers (see bookmark for page 70).
The reference is to the bible story of the Gadarene swine in chapter 5 of the gospel of Mark. Jesus exorcised demons from a possessed man. The demons then entered a herd of pigs, which rushed off a cliff in a frenzy.
And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. (St James Bible).
An adaptation of Alfred Tennyson’s line from his poem in memory of Arthur Henry Hallam, In Memoriam A.H.H:
Better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all