The Worst Journey

This week I’ve been listening to Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s ‘The Worst Journey In The World’, chronicling Scott’s doomed 1910-1913 attempt upon the South pole.

The account is so desperately sad, and the journey itself was indescribably agonising. The worst of what I’ve ever endured when out backpacking–and to me that’s felt pretty bad–wouldn’t even have come close to registering on the scale of discomfort endured daily by all members of the expedition. To think that Scott and his companions died only 11 miles from safety is simply heart-breaking.

I bet most people who read this blog have read the book already, but if you haven’t then I can’t recommend it more highly. One of the most striking things about the book (to me, anyway) is the concern that was felt by virtually all members of the team for the ponies and dogs they took with them in the face of the terrifying conditions they met.

Tuck up warm in a quiet place to read it, and if you’re anything like me you’ll thank God/Whatever that you’re never likely to face a similar test.

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7 Responses to The Worst Journey

  1. JH says:

    Thanks Shirl. It’s been on my list of books to read for years, but I never got round to it. Maybe because I thought it was a book about his expedition to collect penguin eggs.

    I’ll read it soon.

    John

    • peewiglet says:

      Hi John,

      He does recount the penguin eggs expedition (and I think that may be what he described as the worst journey–listening on audiobook can sometimes be a bit confusing) but he also tells the tale of the expedition more generally.

      I like to take that sort of book when I’m backpacking, and read a bit if I think I’m having a hard time 🙂

  2. Carl Mynott (@Locomountaineer) says:

    Hi there,

    I too listened to that epic (and isn’t it just that?) audiobook and have to agree. Sometimes we get a bit down on long trails and have moments of despair. We shudder at the pain a blister offers, and then one hears a story such as Apsley’s, or Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud.

    If you liked The Worst Journey, I absolutely urge you to buy, beg, borrow or steal a copy of The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven. It is and absolutely gripping and chilling read about the doomed voyage of the Karluk in the Arctic waters.

  3. It is a brilliant book Shirl.
    I read it originally years ago, and have just read it again recently.

    Here are a couple more for your reading list if you haven’t read them already, once you’ve finished Carl’s suggestions.

    1. Cherry – A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrad – Sara Wheeler
    AND
    2. Home of the Blizzard -Sir Douglas Mawson ** (Brilliant)

    Actually another good read is the story of the Franklin Expedition

    Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition – John Geiger & Owen Beattie

  4. Gordon Scott says:

    Mark Gatiss did a dramatisation of this a couple of years back and this inspired me to read the book. A very good read indeed.

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