University of Southern California

Remembering Robert Scott


Tim Healy, January 20, late night — The short history of humanity on the southernmost continent breathes through McMurdo Station every day. It is impossible to ignore and not be touched by the stories that, in effect, led to everything that exists here today. This sunk in for me when I decided to get some fresh air by attempting my first ascent of Observation Hill.

This fairly substantial hill is where Robert Scott’s men used to go and watch for his return from his ill-fated polar expedition. A cross stands there in memory of the five men who did not return from that quest.

memorial cross scott.jpgUpon reaching the top, I was overcome with mixed emotions. First, there was the exhaustion from the climb and scrambling over the rocks; second, the awe and excitement from the views; and finally, sadness and reverence at the sight of the memorial cross. The conditions endured by those men are insane to even think about, and yet they did it.

On a bust of Scott in the Canterbury Museum, there is a quotation that reads, “I do not regret this journey which has shown the Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the past.” Rather than describe the incredible scenery and views at the top of Observation Hill and the enjoyment I had taking photos, I feel it is fitting to end this piece with Scott’s own words, as they were what stayed with me on the walk back down to base.

Tim Healy is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia.

2 Comments

That was really touching and a wonderful tribute. It touches all of us back here as well. Thanks for the blog and sentiment.
Scott�s legacy resides not only in his noble words, but in the ongoing example he set before his men, inspiring them on a daily basis to the noblest of deeds in the face of, at times, the most daunting of hardships. Crean and Lashly, in risking their own lives to pull Lt. Evans hundreds of miles on the sledge in the return of the Last Supporting Party, exemplified that inspiration. They were all in the work together, and would live or die together, whichever way it fell out. For all of them it was one foot in front of the other, until the goal was won.