Date: 6 April 2012
Temperature: -15 ° C
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Temp with wind chill: -25 ° C
Captain Scott’s last birthday dinner 6 June 1911 © Herbert Ponting
On Thursday 29th March 100 years ago, Captain Scott made the last entry in his diary before succumbing to starvation and exhaustion in the freezing cold, on his return trek from the South Pole.
"Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.
For God’s sake look after our people."
At Scott Base we marked the momentous occasion with a commemorative dinner. It was a solemn and yet celebratory affair. Speeches and toasts were made and remembrance given not only to Captain Scott but to all those whose lives have been claimed by Antarctica.
Earlier in the day the Scott Base winter team posed for a photograph to mark the event. We recreated from scratch the scene of the last birthday dinner for Captain Scott, held at Cape Evans on 6 June 1911. According to his diary, that night Scott and his men dined on ‘Clissold’s especially excellent seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly, fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate’. Comparing menus I think we at Scott Base had the better cuisine. I’ll leave you to compare the photographs...
Recreation of Scott’s birthday dinner at Scott Base 29 March 2012 © Steve Williams