The National Library of Scotland plays host to a new exhibition this January that is focused on the extraordinary race for the South Pole. The exhibition, which features artifacts as well as photographs and newspaper clippings, centres on the expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, an English adventurer who, along with his small team, tragically died before returning from his quest. Scott’s trials and heroism have been celebrated in the 100 years since the expedition.
Visitors heading to Edinburgh to see the National Library’s exhibition can stay in one of many good hotels Edinburgh has to offer. Once they have booked into their accommodation of choice, visitors can pay the National Library a visit and find out more about Captain Scott, his team and the expedition itself.
The exhibition displays collections of diary extracts from Scott, copies of letters and other materials that tell the expedition’s story and for the first time reveal more of the characters involved and the conditions they faced.
The exhibition also helps to provide a glimpse into the context of the story. At the time – 1912 – the South Pole had not been fully explored and remained a great challenge for adventurers. Getting there was a mission that couldn’t be taken lightly, but the idea of such a journey intrigued the general public. Many famous companies also wanted to be associated with such a spectacle of heroism.
Brands such as Heinz and Fry’s Chocolate were both involved in funding Scott’s final expedition in the hope of promoting their own products through this adventure. This association can be seen with the paraphernalia viewable at the exhibition.
The journey to reach the South Pole was long and harrowing. In total, the expedition sought to cover 1,600 miles of ground there and back. Scott’s final push towards his destination was to take in trekking, while hauling sledges, through a challenging frozen environment.
On his way to the Pole, Scott had support from groups of men who laid provisions in caches to provide for his return. By the time it came to the last push towards the Pole, Scott’s team consisted of five men. With Scott were Edgar Evans, army officer Captain Oates, Henry Bowers and Dr Edward Wilson.
Not only did Scott and his team have to contend with frostbite, harsh weather and gradually depleting rations and other supplies, but they were also caught in an international race to be the first group to reach the South Pole. Scott’s rival was a Norwegian explorer, Amundsen.
Unfortunately for Scott and British hopes, it was Amundsen’s team who reached the South Pole first and planted their flag before Scott could reach the area. When Scott got there, his team’s hopes sank and the journey back was even more laborious. Ultimately, physical exhaustion, illness and a lack of supplies proved the undoing of Scott’s team. Unable to continue and confined to their tents by a blizzard, Scott and the remainder of his party never made it home.
While the expedition ended in tragedy, Scott’s last journey was hugely significant to our understanding of the South Pole. For example, Scott’s team collected rocks later analysed by geologists. Scott and his men bravely faced extremely harsh conditions and their heroism helped to define a romantic era of adventure and exploration.
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This content has been created by Saul Malpass an aspiring travel writer who currently works on behalf of www.lodging-world.com. Saul strives to make his writing captivating and give information to the reader about upcoming events in the UK.