December 20, 1911: First supporting party to return to Cape Evans

From Cherry-Garrard’s diary:

“December 20.  Today has been a great march–over two miles an hour, and on the whole rising a lot.  Soon after starting we got onto the most beautiful icy surface, smoothe except for cracks and only patches of snow, most of which we could avoid.  We came along at a great rate. . . .We have done nearly 23 miles today, pulling 160 lbs. a man.

“This evening has been rather a shock.  As I was getting my finnesko on to the top of my ski beyond the tent Scott came up to me, and said that he was afraid he had rather a blow for me.  Of course I knew what he was going to say, but could hardly grasp that I was going back–tomorrow night.  The returning party is to be Atch, Silas, Keohane and self. . . .

“Scott was very put about, said he had been thinking a lot about it but had come to the conclusion that the seamen with their special knowledge, would be needed:  to rebuild the sledge, I suppose.  Wilson told me it was a toss-up whether Titus or I should go on. . . .”


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