Conquering the Antarctic – The Expedition

Posted on: February 1, 2012 in: Conquering the Antarctic

This, the latest blog post in the run up to our Conquering the Antarctic tour starting this week, follows on from Conquering the Antarctic – the Place and Conquering the Antarctic – the People. This time, we focus on the expedition itself.

Here are some interesting facts about the fascinatingTerra Nova expedition of 1910-1912…



  • More than 8,000 men volunteered to be part of the Terra Nova team.
  • £40,000 had to be raised for the trip (over £3 million in today’s money).
  • 20 ponies and 34 sledge dogs were taken to the Antarctic with the explorers. The animals had to be inoculated 10 times before the journey.
  • Temperatures reached -70 degrees Fahrenheit (around -57 degrees Celsius) during the trip. This formed the inspiration for Cecilia McDowall‘s new composition, Seventy Degrees Below Zero. 
  • Scott took two experimental motor sledges, which had never been used for an expedition like this before. One was lost when it fell through ice during the unloading of the ship; the other broke down after 50 miles (80 km).
  • The Terra Nova ship was the single most expensive item bought for the trip at £12,500.
  • The team also took a piano with them.
  • The Scott Polar Research Institute was founded using the residue of the money donated to the explorers’ families following their deaths.
  • Scott’s hut was restored by the Antarctic Heritage Trust and is now open to visitors (it was featured in Frozen Planet in 2011).


Conquering the Antarctic – the Scott Centenary Concert Tour

A celebration in music, words and images

Stephen Layton, conductor
Robert Murray, tenor
Hugh Bonneville, narrator

3-8 February and 3 March 2012