The Worst Journey in the World

The Worst Journey in the World is a memoir of the 1910–1913 British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott. It was written and published in 1922 by a one of the youngest members of the expedition, Apsley Cherry-Garrard.  Cherry  was part of the rescue party that found the frozen bodies of Scott and the three men who had accompanied him on the final push to the Pole. The Worst Journey in the World also tells the story of one of the scientific goals of the Expedition: the collection of Emperor penguin eggs. It was thought (incorrectly) that the eggs might shed light on an evolutionary link between reptiles and birds, but no-one had managed to collect the eggs from the remote breeding rookery at Cape Crozier, discovered in 1903.  Uniquely the Emperor penguin nests during the Antarctic winter and in order to collect the eggs it was necessary to mount a special expedition in July 1911 covering 130 miles across the Ross Ice Shelf under conditions of complete darkness and temperatures averaging −40°C.  The three men who made the journey returned, barely alive, with their egg specimens, three of which survived. The eggs formed one of the centre-pieces of the special 100th anniversary exhibition,  in 2012,  The two men who accompanied Cherry to Cape Crozier died with Scott on their return from the South Pole, but it was the "Winter Journey" to the penguin colony, not the later expedition to the South Pole, that Cherry-Garrard later described as The Worst Journey in the World.  

The title of Worst Journey in the World can also be used to refer to the annual pilgrimage of the Emperor penguins to and from the antarctic ocean. Emperor penguins trek 30–75  miles over the ice to breeding colonies which may include thousands of individuals. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated by the male while the female returns to the sea to feed; parents subsequently take turns foraging at sea and caring for their chick in the colony.

Back Peter Layton

Kerry Goodwin (Moorcroft): Emperor Penguins

James Maskrey:  The Worst Journey in the World

2016 Show - 2