Dan Snow's History Hit

Scott's Last Days in the Antarctic

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Episode notes

In the last week of March 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott died in his tent in Antarctica, on his failed effort to become the first person to reach the South Pole. He'd just missed out to the Norwegians under explorer Roald Amundsen. You might think the British had no chance from the beginning- Amundsen's crew were wearing sealskins and using dogs, sledding 50 miles a day while Scott's team were outfitted in kit from Bond Street, covering just 10 miles a day. The motorised vehicles they took lasted only a couple of days; one sinking through the ice the moment they took it off the ship. But, Tim Maltin's new research suggests there was something more unusual else at play that led to their failure and ultimately Scott's death: thermal inversion. The same meteorological phenomenon that caused Titanic to hit the iceberg just two weeks later.

Tim joins Dan on the podcast to discuss the rivalry between two great explorers, the similarities and differences between their expeditions, he takes Dan through the gruelling last months of Scott's expedition, what happened the night of Scott's death and the discovery of their bodies, months later.

Produced by James Hickmann and mixed by Dougal Patmore

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