Day 42 - Christmas Day

Daily Distance:
Total Distance:
163° 34' / 85° 03'

Read the Journal Entry for Day 42 - Christmas Day

Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Latest Expedition Update:

Day 43 - Boxing Day, 26 December Distance travelled: 505.2 nmi Temperature: -33 °C Conditions: Very sunny and no clouds Read Journal Entry
« back to map

Day 42 - Christmas Day December 25, 2008

A well earned rest day celebrating Christmas Day, in much the same way as their ancestors did.


They took several "goodies" to have today. Pictured below in their tent, they show off what they have brought to consume on Christmas Day. L to R Some ham, crackers, cigars, plum pudding, Creme de Menthe, sausage and beans.


Will Gow dedicates today's report to the memory of his mother, who provided him with the inspiration for this expedition.


1. Sitrep No 42 as at 0930 hrs GMT 25 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 0 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 489.8 nm
4. Hours travelled: 0
5. Daily Average to Date: 11.66 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 16
7. Distance to RV: 203.99 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 300.99 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.75 nm  

December 25th, 1908

Christmas Day. There has been from 45° to 48° of frost, drifting snow and a strong biting south wind, and such has been the order of the day's march from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. up one of the steepest rises we have yet done, crevassed in places. Now, as I write, we are 9500 ft. above sea level, and our latitude at 6 P.M. was 85° 55' South. We started away after a good breakfast, and soon came to soft snow, through which our worn and torn sledge-runners dragged heavily.

All morning we hauled along, and at noon had done 5 miles 250 yards. Sights gave us latitude 85° 51' South. We had lunch then, and I took a photograph of the camp with the Queen's flag flying and also our tent flags, my companions being in the picture. It was very cold, the temperature being minus 16°F, and the wind went through us. All the afternoon we worked steadily uphill, and we could see at 6 P.M. the new land plainly trending to the southeast. This land is very much glaciated. It is comparatively bare of snow, and there are well-defined glaciers on the side of the range, which seems to end up in the southeast with a large mountain like, a keep. We have called it "The Castle." Behind these the mountains have more gentle slopes and are more rounded. They seem to fall away to the southeast, so that, as we are going south, the angle opens and we will soon miss them.

When we camped at 6 P.M. the wind was decreasing. It is hard to understand this soft snow with such a persistent wind, and I can only suppose that we have not yet reached the actual plateau level, and that the snow we are traveling over just now is on the slopes, blown down by the south and southeast wind. We had a splendid dinner. First came hoosh, consisting of pony ration boiled up with pemmican and some of our emergency Oxo and biscuit. Then in the cocoa wajer I boiled our fittle plum pudding, which a friend of Wild's had given him. This, with a drop of medical brandy, was a luxury which Lucullus himself might have envied; then came cocoa, and lastly cigars and a spoonful of creme de men-the sent us by a friend in Scotland. We are full tonight, and this is the last time we will be for many a long day.

After dinner we discussed the situation, and we have decided to still further reduce our food. We have now nearly 500 miles, geographical, to do if we are to get to the Pole and back to the spot where we are at the present moment. We have one month's food, but only three weeks' biscuit, so we are going to make each week's food last ten days. We will have one biscuit in the morning, three at mid-day, and two at night. It is the only thing to do. Tomorrow we will throw away everything except the most absolute necessities. Already we are, as regards clothes, down to the limit, but we must trust to the old sledge runners and dump the spare ones. One must risk this. We are very far away from all the world, and home thoughts have been much with us today, thoughts interrupted by pitching forward into a hidden crevasse more than once. Ah, well, we shall see all our own people when the work here is done. Marshall took our temperatures tonight. We are all two degrees subnormal, but as fit as can be. It is a fine open air life and we are getting south.

Day 42 Report

  1. Day 42 Report
  2. Day 42 Sitrep

Day 42 - Christmas Day: Overview

Distance covered:
0 nm
5 mph

The Heart of the Antarctic

This is the story of the “Farthest South” expedition, told by its leader. After enduring biting winds, short rations and crevasse-ridden glaciers for over a year, Shackleton’s party faced a desperate forced march to return to their ship, The Nimrod, or face being marooned on the ice.

Taken from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s own compelling chronicle of his first Antarctic expedition, written on his return in 1909.

Please note that buying through our UK Amazon affiliate account you are directly helping to sponsor the Expedition.


Contact & RSS

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with the SCE if you have any questions regarding our project, or if you would like to know more about how you can become a sponsor.

The Shackleton Centenary Expedition,
c/o The Lansdowne Club,
9 Fitzmaurice Place,

Email us at

For press enquiries, please contact Mark Cooper at Van Communications,

RSS Feeds

RSS feeds are a way of keeping up to date with your favourite websites by delivering fresh content to your desktop.

The SCE is a not-for-profit venture of the Shackleton Foundation.
All rights reserved © 2006 The Shackleton Centenary Expedition [SCE] except where noted.
Company No. 06107694, Charity No. 1118686.
The Shackleton Centenary Expedition, c/o The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London W1J 5JD

"Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all." - EHS 1909

Site by Erskine Design Back to top