Saturday, August 23, 2008
Antarctic Ancestor Adventure
John Hamrock, Irish Genealogist and Writer, and Ancestor.ie (www.ancestor.ie), are proud to be supporters of the Shackleton Foundation (www.shackletonfoundation.org). The Shackleton Foundation is a newly established charitable trust which supports individuals of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds, particularly the less advantaged, who exemplify the spirit of Sir Ernest Shackleton and who are inspirational leaders in their own right, wishing to make a difference.
The Shackleton Centenary Expedition is made up of six members who are descendants of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s team of Antarctic explorers. The six members plan to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps and recreate the 1909 Nimrod Expedition which was intended to be the first mission to the South Pole. The original Shackleton team trekked to within ninety-seven miles of the South Pole before being forced back. One hundred years later descendants of the original group hope to finish the trek and then continue on, to finish the mission that their forefathers began.
The centenary team will depart from the Shackleton Hut at Cape Royds on October 29th 2008 at 10:00am, exactly one hundred years to the day that Ernest Shackleton and his men began their trek. The team will travel unguided on skis and will cross the Ross Ice Shelf, each member hauling expedition supplies in sledges weighing about 150 kgs. The team will then ascend the seldom-crossed Bearmore Glacier, while collecting blue ice samples for scientific analysis en route. After, they will reach the Polar plateau where they must trek 400 miles to reach the South Pole.
Before the South Pole expedition, the team has been conducting a rigorous training program for four years. This has included intensive ice training in places such as Norway, Baffin Island, Greenland, Scotland and Austria. The Austrian trip has focused on hauling sledges in the Alps. The training in Greenland was for 17 days and was conducted in Milne Land to recreate some of the conditions the team will face in Antarctica. The training has included experimenting with diet as they each must consume 5,500 calories per day to make up for the 6,000 calories they will burn up each day.
While training, the team takes time to read Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic in order to better understand what was involved and to get a feel on a daily basis of the extraordinary courage the original explorers exhibited.
The expedition begins on 29 October 2008 and the team members will provide commentary on their progress which will be recorded on www.shackletoncentenary.org.
Shackleton Centenary Adventurers
Henry Worsley MBE Team Leader Henry Worsley has been in the British Army for 25 years, and is distantly related to Frank Worsley, Shackleton's skipper on the Endurance. He has wide expedition experience, and has completed the Haute Route and Yukon Arctic Ultra. This journey will satisfy an obsession with Shackleton and fulfill a lifelong ambition to follow the route of one of his polar expeditions.
Will Gow Will Gow works in the City. He has raised over £100,000 for charity by completing the Himalayan 100-mile stage race, and is related to Shackleton by marriage. The Centenary Expedition combines his desire to travel in the last great wilderness and reunite Shackleton's descendents at the Pole.
Henry Adams is a shipping lawyer and the great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. He has trekked extensively throughout South America and Africa and is a passionate kitesurfer and sailor. Since boyhood he has dreamed of reliving his great-grandfather's Polar experience.
Patrick Bergel works in advertising. He is the great-grandson of Shackleton. Patrick will support the fundraising effort and intends to meet the ice team at the Furthest Southerly Point reached in 1909, from there to complete the last 97 miles to the Pole.
Tim Fright works in Westminster. He is the great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions. Tim counts skydiving and marathon running amongst his hobbies, and will also complete the final 97 miles from the Furthest Point.
David Cornell is the great grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. David was an officer in the British Army before entering the City, and spent several years in Norway leading arctic warfare exercises. The expedition will give him the opportunity to trace a link to his own ancestor's efforts, bringing to life the heroic journey in order to connect the past to the present.