Robert Falcon Scott was the explorer determined to conquer the unimaginably harsh and bleak conditions of Antarctica and be the first person to reach the South Pole. Born in Devenport, near Plymouth in 1868, Scott became a naval cadet and went on to join the Royal Navy. He became a hero when he commanded the National Antarctic Expedition in 1901 and him and his team managed to get further south than anyone before him. Desperate to reach the South Pole, as soon as Scott returned to Britain, he set about raiding the funds he needed to start his own expedition to become the first to reach the South Pole.
By 1910 he had raised the amount that he needed, and set off in his ship, Terra Nova in search of the South Pole. The equipment he took with him was cutting edge by the standards of the time – in those days they didn’t have Anglo Forro an online outdoor survival store to get what they needed! They set off from the Antarctic base the following October, with ponies, mechanical sledges and a team of dogs. They faced horrendous weather as they got closer to the pole, and the team with the dogs turned back, no longer able to continue through the worsening conditions. The rest of the explorers continued on, and by January 1912 only five remained, including Scott.
The group did reach the Pole on 17th January – but they were not the first ones to reach it. When they arrived the discovered they had been beaten to it by the Norwegian team, led by Roald Amundsen. Crestfallen, they resigned themselves to the long journey back to their base. Sadly though, none of the team ever made it back – Evans was the first to succumb to the cold and died in February. Oates, suffering from frostbite knew that he would not make it, and so as not to hold the others back, walked out into the cold and was never seen again. Tragically on 29th March, the other three dided, from exposure to the severe cold and starvation, only 2okm away from a food supply depot. They were found by a search party eight months later and were buried under the tent. Scott’s diary was also found and returned to Britain.
Scott’s son Peter, was inspired by his explorer father and interested in birds, and the conservation of them. He went on to open up the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust and make bird and habitat conservation known to the public.