Wed 30th December 2015

Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 16:15
Tim and family visit the Naval Club in Valparaiso where the "Yelcho" finished its rescue journey, having rescued Shackleton, Wordie and his men, having first put in at Punta Arenus in September 1916. The extract from the diary from Punta Arenas to Valparaiso is as follows:-
Friday, 15th Sept 2016.
The "Yelcho" sailed at 5.0 p.m. to-day bound for Valparaiso through the canals. So ends nearly a fortnight of feverish festivities, in which several of the inhabitants have succumbed, whilst all of our side are still pretty fit. We have been rushing about all day saying good-bye; finally about 4.0 we all congregated at the Club, said good-bye, rushed in for ten minutes at the Admiral's: then to the pier head where the English colony were assembled; amid much pushing and handshaking we managed to get on board, and the "Yelcho" put off, all the steamers and vessels in the harbour whistling their hardest.
Among the events this week were a private dinner at Mr. Burbury's on Tuesday, and an evening at Mr. Paton's last night. On Wednesday Gibbon took Clark, Macklin and myself on another visit to the camp. We motored out SW to Est. Pampa Guayrabio along a 6 ft. raised beach. There we got on horseback and rode some miles inland through somewhat undulating country; returning after about an hour we made an ineffective attempt at duck shooting by a lagoon, as all lakes no matter their origin are called out here.
Sunday, 17th Sept.
Yesterday gave us a sample of the worst possible weather; to-day's is very little better. During Friday night we rounded Cape Froward, and immediately got it in the neck, a strong NW-er blowing down the Straits of Magellan. We had a rough time of it all yesterday morning, the "Yelcho" developing a short pitch and shipping water fore and aft. Most of us live in the forehold, and every time we go in and out we risk a ducking. It was raining, almost snowing when it was decided to anchor for the night in Angosto Cove about 1.0 p.m. In here it was perfectly calm. Despite the weather, one of the whalers was launched and most of us went ashore for half an hour. It is a glaciated land covered with stunted trees, among which one wanders knee deep in an undergrowth of bushes and ferns. Here were the Maiden-hair and many other plants only known formerly in the laboratory. Some of these Clark gathered, while I collected specimens of igneous rock.
To-day we hove up the anchor at 6.0 a.m. and followed a course for the day through channels known collectively as Smyth Channel, having left Magellan Straits via Rhoda Pass. The day was unfortunately dull, and we saw not much more of the country than we did yesterday: those of us who know the west of Ireland all compare it to Glengariff.
Though not working our passage, we have to do just a little work these days in the shape of taking the wheel during the day. This is a different matter from the same work on the "Endurance": here there is steam steering gear in a sheltered chartroom on the bridge.

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On Friday January 22, 2016 as many of you know Henry Worsley, a distant descendant of Frank Worsley the Captain of the Endurance sent a message via satellite from his tent having walked 913 miles over 70 days on his own and unaided in his quest to cross the Antarctic on the route Shackleton intended. Worsley was 30 miles away from his finish line, but he was snowbound by a blizzard's whiteout and by exhaustion.

"When my hero Ernest Shackleton was 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of January 9 1909, he said he had shot his bolt," Worsley said in his final dispatch before he called for an airlift. "Well today, I have to inform you with some sadness that I too have shot my bolt."

The airlift was successful. Three days later however Worsley died at a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile from peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal wall. His expedition, shackletonsolo.org, has raised over £100,000 for British war veterans..

Many of the Endurance South Pole 100 expedition knew Henry and one member had served in the Army with him. He had been a real font of knowledge in planning the expedition and making siure we did something worthwhile and create legacy. He was giving us valuable advice at the end of October from his "Patience Camp " in Punta Arenas and allway s made time to help. An extract from one email was

"Be prepared for the cold and effects of altitude when you get out of the plane at your start point.
And expect a slow accumulation of miles covered each day until you have all acclimatised a bit.
Some will be affected much more than others and you will have to go at the speed of the slowest ship in your convoy"
.
His compassionate advice proved very valuable as we struggled with the cold and wind in our attempt to walk just a short part of the route to the South Pole that Shackleton would have travelled 100 years earlier.
We spoke to Henry on a satellite phone from Union Glacier in early December and wished him well.. he was cheery and optimistic despite finding it very hard and unbearably slow as he skied up to the Polar Plateau in some very unseasonal snowy conditions
Many of us followed his blog with interest and admiration. We realised from the efforts we were making in a much smaller endeavour that what Henry was doing was a massive feat, and to get so far is to be commended

It was fitting that on Day 61, Henry invoked Tennyson's line in that old motto of British exploration and heroic endeavours.
"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield," he said in an increasingly raspy, thin voice.
That line of poetry captures the will and courage to endure the unendurable. Shackleton was a man who sought glory and legacy but discovered true heroism by saving all the lives of the "Endurance" crew. That has always been the lesson and the poetry of Shackleton's "Endurance" for many.

Frank Worsley had some poet in him, too. His wonderful book, "Shackleton's Boat Journey," ended by saying of Shackleton, "It seemed to me that among all his achievements, great as they were, his one failure was the most glorious."

"My summit is just out of reach," Henry said in his final dispatch.

Perhaps not: We can wish that a bit of Shackleton's true glory can be part of the legacy of Henry Worsley, 1960-2016

We will remember him for his help in planning our expedition, his advice to create a worthwhile legacy and his optimism that we would get likeminded people together to make it all happen. It was really appreciated.







One hundred years on , you would think that there is little more left to say about the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition. Over the years, volumes have been written about what is now one of the most famous events in polar exploration. as well as films, television dramas and even an opera.
Then, a new voice is heard . James Wordie was the quiet man of Shackleton's crew.  A thoughtful, studious scientist, with  a dry Scottish wit, he doesn't feature much in the literature . Yet he was  there through it all in the background, just diligently getting on with his work.
Now though his voice can be heard. For the first time, his complete personal diaries of those dramatic times will be made available.  
It was customary for all senior members of an expedition to keep a jounal of their adventures and  work. This would be handed in at the end, so the expedition leader could write up the official account. In this case, Shackleton, and the publication of 'South'.
When 'Endurance' was abandoned, the diaries went with the crew on their dramatic journey. Researchers from all disciplines can thus read the journals of Shackleton, James, Hurley, Orde-Lees and the others. Each gives a different, personal insight into the expedition and its fate. But one of the main scientific voices is silent. That of James Wordie, the ship's geologist. 
Wordie was a conscientious writer and recorder of data. His diary includes unique information about experiments and samples taken during the voyage.  His illustrations and  navigation records could be used alongside other sources, to verify and shed new light on their jouney.
Making available his complete diaries for the first time is thus an historic and exciting step for all those interested in the Endurance and its crew.
Working with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) , the descendents of James Wordie are now exploring the best ways of digitising the diaries.  
The 2015 expedition , and related events, such as the commemorative dinner at St.Johns College in May 2015, are raising funds to enable this to happen.
The quiet man might soon break his silence.

 

David Crichton Henry , April 2015.

Part of the team have been training in Eastern Greenland during the Easter Holidays.
See the photos on the Galllery pages. Other Photos are on the Team Dropbox files.

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