Prince Harry – not long returned from an Antarctic expedition of his own – honours Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpinere as they step into the final stage of the Scott Expedition with a personal message….
As Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere step into the final stage of their 1800 mile journey on foot from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, they are honoured to have received a personal message from Prince Harry. The message was received as the duo commemorated the anniversary of Captain Scott and his Polar Party reaching the South Pole just over a century ago.
In his blog, Ben said, “We’ve received a message from His Royal Highness Prince Harry. It made our day here in Antarctica. I hope he won’t mind me quoting it below and I’m deeply honoured that he’s among the people following our journey.”
“One hundred and two years ago today Captain Scott reached the South Pole. As his expedition tragically demonstrated, such a trek sits at the very limit of human endeavour. You’re well on your way to completing what Scott attempted; I wish you both the very best of luck for the rest of your journey. You guys will be an inspiration to the next generation as Scott has been to this.” Prince Harry.
Ben and Tarka set out from Scott’s Terra Nova Hut on 25th October 2013 on an 1800 mile journey to the South Pole and back, hauling up to 200kg of weight in their sleds and covering on average of 16 miles per day – although the longest day to date is nearly 36 miles. So far they have covered a staggering 1,400 miles on foot from the coast to the South Pole and part of the way back in 90 days, experiencing temperatures down to almost -50C with wind-chill. They are due to reach the coast in early February.
The journey has pushed both Ben and Tarka to their very limits. They are now operating on simply the 6,000 calories they consume daily with no fat left on their bodies to supplement their daily intake. “We’re both hungrier than ever, which I wasn’t expecting after the amount we refuelled following our resupply, but I suspect our bodies have so little fat or superfluous muscle they can turn into fuel that we’re almost totally reliant on what we eat to keep us going now. Tarka commented today that dragging a sledge full of food around and yet being hungry all day is a pretty effective form of torture,” Ben said.