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Shackleton's ill-fated journey to be finished 100 years on

The ship 'The Endurance' stuck in the ice in Antartica Photo: Frank Hurley

In 1915 Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition across Antarctica ground to a dangerous halt when their ship The Endurance became stuck in the ice. A century on a group of mostly amateur explorers from Cambridge will try to complete Shackleton's unfinished journey by walking and skiing the last 100 nautical miles to the South Pole.

Tim Holmes and his wife Alice, who is the grand-daughter of Sir James Wordie, came up with the idea. A scientist from Cambridge, Wordie joined the 28-man crew as Chief Scientific Officer and wrote a diary during the trip.

"I am afraid this will be the last entry in this diary. We left the ship this evening; it still floats, but has been so badly damaged by the pressure of the last 24 hours that it will never float again once the ice opens."

– Extract from the diary of Sir James Wordie, 27th October 1915
Sir James Wordie Credit: Frank Hurley

"What we want to do is retrace 100 miles of the route he would have done had he not got stuck in the ice. The ship got stuck in the ice and almost 100 years to this day it sank."

– Tim Holmes, The Endurance South Pole 100 Expedition

The group's youngest member is 17-years-old, but it also includes old hands like the former SAS sergeant and novelist Andy McNab, and the explorer David Hempleman-Adams. The group has been training hard in Greenland and in the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. Once they reach Antarctica they will walk and ski approximately 100 nautical miles to the South Pole.

The group has been training in Scotland and Greenland Credit: The Endurance South Pole 100 Expedition

The group hopes the trip will raise £50,000, to pay for a digitized copy of James Wordie's diary to be made available for visitors to the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. They set off next week, and aim to reach the South Pole on December the 15th, which was roughly when the original expedition planned to reach it 100 years ago.