Shackleton Centenary Expedition

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When Hell Freezes

Tim Jarvis.jpg

Last night on Channel 4, Tim Jarvis, a man who has extensive polar experience, re-created in part Sir Douglas Mawson's incredible 900 mile polar journey of 1912.

Mawson, an Australian scientist had been part of the 1908 Nimrod Expedition, although not part of the Farthest South Party. His geological expedition is infamous for the severe hardships, and the harrowing experiences that they suffered. Both of his companions, Lt Belgrave Ninnis and Dr Xavier Maertz died on the journey.

Mawson then had to get back to where his ship was due to leave in order to survive. One of many problems was that Lt Ninnis's sledge had contained most of the food, and had fallen with him to his death in a crevasse.

Mawson's survival was down in no small part to the fact that he ate the dogs that had taken him so far. An unfortunate consequence of this for Mawson was that we now know that the dog's livers contained very high levels of toxins and contributed in fact, to some horrifying symptoms including (for those of a squeamish nature, look away now) the sole's of his feet coming away from his body, to which he had to wrap them in bandages, wear more socks, and carry on going.

We here at the Shackleton Foundation heartily congratulate Tim for his incredible achievement in re-creating Mawson's expedition to the best of his abilities, losing 20 kilos in the process. The programme was very informative, and we were able to learn a little more about Sir Douglas Mawson, the intrepid polar explorer and geologist.

Posted by Tim Fright on October 30, 2007 11:15 AM