November 4, 1912: The Northern Party makes Hut Point: Home at last!

–from Raymond Priestley’s account Antarctic Adventure

“After a short sleep we now set out on our way acroos the seven miles of sea ice intervening between us and Hut Point.   We were within a mile of our destination when one of the big sastrugi over which we were marching capsized the sledge. . . . It was impossible to mend the sledge with the means at our disposal, and so we camped at once, and [Victor] Campbell, [Harry] Dickason, and I walked into Hut Point for news.

“As we approached the Point we saw numerous tracks of dogs and men [the Search Party had departed the day before], and of what we took to be ponies [the mules], and this struck us at once as a very ominous thing, for had all been well it was unlikely that a party would be out on the Barrier.

“Our fears, too, were soon confirmed.  The hut was deserted, but a letter we found written by Atkinson and addressed to the commander of the relief ship put the matter beyond doubt. . . .We feared that we had lost eight men–the fact that Atkinson was in command vouched for the loss of more than one unit of four men–and it did not strike us that Captain Scott might have taken five.”

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