The expedition base at Cape Adare was subsequently visited by Scott's first expedition (the National Antarctic [Discovery] Expedition) in 1902.
In 1911 the Northern Party (part of Scott's second expedition (the British Antarctic [Terra Nova] expedition) built their own hut and wintered at Cape Adare.
A brief history of those two visits to Cape Adare are detailed below.
National Antarctic [Discovery] Expedition 1901- 04
On 9 January 1902, Captain Scott’s National Antarctic Expedition steamed into Robertson Bay on the Discovery. The ships complement, which included Louis Bernacchi, visited Cape Adare and noted considerable deterioration of the supplies that had been left stored around the huts.
As Dr Wilson recorded:
We found bundles of Union Jacks lying about and posted two on the roof. I took one away with me as a souvenir. The litter was very interesting and the waste excessive. Ski, Canadian snow shoes, bamboo poles, dead dogs, seals and bundles of birds, penguins and provisions … yet inside [the hut], the provisions were in excellent order
Diary of the Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic Regions 1901–1904, Blandford Press, London (1966)
A message left on the hut table by Borchgrevink was collected.
Before the close of Scott’s Discovery expedition, which was based in Winter Quarters Bay on Ross Island, other visits were made to Cape Adare. A year after the Discovery called on its voyage south, the relief vessel Morning, under Colbeck, who had also been a member of Borchgrevink’s party, arrived on 8–9 January 1903. Scott’s message was collected and, like Wilson, Colbeck was appalled at the mess, writing:
The scene around us was heartbreaking, stores of every description, tins of dog biscuits, ammunition, broken ski, sledges, camp stoves, etc, lying from beach to beach. Eleven barrels of engine oil on the south side of the hut (the stores hut) caught Morrison’s eye at once. There must be hundreds of pounds of stuff lying about and waiting. There were 2½ barrels of seal skins ready for shipment and any amount of skins had blown off the hut
W Colbeck, MS 212.3 CM.
The Terra Nova and Discovery called again at Cape Adare on 24 February 1904 on their way north where a replacement rudder was shipped on the Discovery.
British Antarctic Expedition 1910–13 Northern Party
Following Scott’s Discovery expedition visit to the site in 1902 there were no visitors to Ridley Beach until 1911. The Eastern Party of Scott’s second expedition had originally intended to be based on the Ross Ice Shelf where they were charged with exploring King Edward Land. This idea was abandoned and the wintering party of six led by Lieutenant Victor Campbell RN, was put ashore on Ridley Beach from the Terra Nova at midnight on 18 January. They then became known as the Northern Party and embarked on a number of biological, meteorological and geological studies. The party consisted of:
Lieutenant Victor Campbell (35), Party Leader
George Levick (33), Surgeon RN
Raymond Priestley (24), Geologist
Frank Browning, Petty Officer RN
Harry Dickason, Able Seaman RN
George Abbott, Petty Officer RN
If you would like to find out more about the Northern Party crew click here.
Borchgrevink’s huts were still in good condition although the supplies had deteriorated. According to Davies, the ship’s carpenter, there were scores of cases lying about the huts that had become weathered and bleached with no markings to indicate their contents.
As Davies recorded:
I stuck a pick into one end and found it was ball ammunition … there was a solitary dog chained to a wire jackstay.
Their hut of Baltic pine, and of a more conventional design using weatherboards rather than interlocking boards, was erected about 20 metres north of Borchgrevink’s huts. Thirty tons of stores and equipment, including five tons of Patent fuel (coal) was put ashore and a beach ridge was levelled for the hut. To help combat the pungent smell of guano, the surface was sprinkled with chlorine-enriched bleaching powder.
While their own hut was being constructed, Campbell and his men occupied Borchgrevink’s Stores Hut. A roof of canvas was put over the top and anchored down with battens nailed to the exterior surface of the walls. Inside, it was partitioned with boxes of supplies, sleeping platforms of match-boarding were made around walls and a small blubber stove and ice-melter were installed. Using supply cases, a latrine was built outside against the west wall of the hut. The stove in the Living Hut was found unsatisfactory and the hut was later used for photography and recreation.
Unlike Borchgrevink’s huts, the single-roomed 6.3 x 6.15 metre hut was oriented west-east and by the end of the first day, the framing was completed. It had a double lining and was insulated with Gibson Quilting, which consisted of finely shredded seaweed within two layers of hessian. An Allen acetylene generator provided lighting, and a stove incorporating some of Borchgrevink’s stove flue, was used for heating and cooking. Numerous other items including a ship’s anchor, to which roof cables were attached, were commandeered from Borchgrevink’s supplies. At the other end of the hut a barrel of Colza oil was frozen into the ground.
A stores annex, erected around the south-east corner, enclosed the cold porch to which a windbreak was added, and a latrine was later constructed on the lee side by the east wall. Later, an icehouse for meat storage was built nearby from packing cases and may have also served as a laundry. On 4 March, Campbell and his party moved in to their new hut where they had, “a great house warming, gramophone concert [and] whisky toddy”. But, within two weeks, a severe storm resulted in the men having grave fears for the future of their hut and, in June, the first components of the building came off.
Some sledging was undertaken in winter and a cave they named the ‘Abbey Cave’ at Penelope Point (after Captain Pennell of the Terra Nova), on the west side of Robertson Bay, was occupied on two occasions. Valuable scientific observations were made in meteorology and the first detailed study of the Adélie penguin rookery was undertaken by Dr Levick. In December, while a lookout was being maintained for the Terra Nova, a depot and camp was established on Cape Adare. At this time, Browning, one of three seamen in the Northern Party, made an inscription of white quartz pebbles on Hanson’s grave.
On 3 January 1912, the Terra Nova arrived and collected the party, moving them further south to Evan’s Cove in Terra Nova Bay. However, the Terra Nova was unable to uplift the party before winter and they passed the brutal winter sheltering in a cave lined with seaweed and pebbles, the three officers on one side, the three seamen on the other. The six men eventually trekked down the coast subsisting on seals and penguins until they made it to Cape Roberts where they picked up a depot, eventually crossing the sea ice to the comparative safety of Hut Point on 6 November. They then marched on to Cape Evans where they met the Terra Nova on 18 January 1913.
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