Blair lets Antarctic explorer Scott’s hut rot

South Pole Aurora from Patrick Cullis on Vimeo.

From Associated Press:

Global warming threatens Antarctic base

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The Antarctic base occupied by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole on foot early last century has been included on a list of the world’s 100 most endangered sites.

The list, compiled by an international panel and released Wednesday by the World Monuments Fund, identifies what are considered to be the world’s most endangered historic, architectural and cultural treasures.

The WMF identified climate change as the biggest threat to the hut, built in 1911 at Cape Evans by Captain Scott’s British Antarctic expedition.

The hut is wooden but for decades was permanently frozen.

With the ice melting, the timbers have become waterlogged and are rotting.

Thousands of objects and artifacts from the expedition, which cost Scott and his team their lives during their return journey from the South Pole, remain in and around the hut.

Nigel Watson, the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust director, said Friday the New Zealand government supported any efforts to preserve the site and hoped the listing would attract donors.

He said the estimated cost of conserving the site was $6.7 million.

New Zealand’s Everest conqueror and Antarctic explorer Sir Edmund Hillary has been vocal in supporting the preservation of the Scott hut, along with another occupied by a fellow British polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

As this blog noted earlier, though the New Zealand government may want to do something about this, Tony Blair’s British government refuses to do anything.

Quite fitting for Blair, who just pays lip service to the global warming problem, and then ends up following George W. Bush, like on other issues.

UPDATE 6 January 2011: Welsh donors praised for helping preserve Scott hut.

THE death of Robert Falcon Scott as he returned from the South Pole may partly have been the result of the actions of his own colleagues, a new book claims: here.

Live Earth music on Antarctica: here.

Scott and Shackleton Penguin Sketches Found in Cambridge: here.

100 year-old whiskey dug up from Antarctic ice: here.

Shackleton’s liquor stack reveals more surprises: here.

100-year-old scotch pulled from Antarctic ice: here.


7 thoughts on “Blair lets Antarctic explorer Scott’s hut rot

  1. NZ team to drill for whisky in Antarctica

    7:06 AM Monday Nov 16, 2009

    A team of New Zealanders is preparing to drill in Antarctica in the New Year, and they hope to strike – whisky.

    Among the supplies British explorer Sir Ernest Shackelton abandoned on his unsuccessful 1909 expedition to the pole were two crates of the now extinct rare old brand of McKinlay and Co whisky.

    Now Whyte & Mackay, the drinks giant that owns McKinlay and Co, has asked for a sample of the drink for a series of experiments, the Telegraph newspaper reported in London.

    The New Zealanders will use special drills to free the trapped crates and rescue a bottle from the crates, discarded near the Cape Royds hut used by the Nimrod expedition, or at least draw off a sample using a syringe.

    The crates were discovered in January 2006, but the bottle couldn’t be removed as they were too deeply embedded.

    Though the New Zealanders have agreed to try to retrieve some bottles, international protocols agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations say the crates can only be taken off Antarctica for conservation reasons.

    A programme manager with the Antarctic Heritage Trust, Al Fastier, who is leading the expedition to Cape Royds in January said he did not want to sample the contents.

    He said: “It’s better to imagine it than to taste it. That way it keeps its mystery”.

    The whisky was found under the floorboards of the hut while workers were clearing out a century’s worth of ice.

    Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender, has said that if he can get a sample, he intends to replicate the famous old whisky.

    If the experiment is successful, original McKinlay whisky could be put back on sale.

    “I really hope we can get some back here. It’s been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born.

    “Even if most of the bottles have to remain in Antarctica for historic reasons, it would be good if we could get a couple.”

    Mr Paterson said the Shackleton expedition’s whisky could still be drinkable and taste exactly how it did 100 years ago.

    – NZPA


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