British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09
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Ernest Shackleton spent three years planning and organising his British Antarctic Expedition. He finally set sail from London in an old sealing ship, Nimrod, in August 1907. The expedition consisted of fifteen men and introduced a number of innovations, using both Manchurian ponies and a motor car for sledge hauling. Shackleton had made a promise to Scott not to establish winter quarters in McMurdo Sound or vicinity but had to renege on the deal when he found he could not reach Edward VII Land. Instead, he returned to Ross Island where he had spent 1901 to 1903 with Scott. Notable achievements of the expedition included a sledge journey to the south magnetic pole and the ascent and survey of Mount Erebus, the active volcano on Ross Island. The main aim of the expedition, though, was to reach the South Pole and Shackleton and three others set out on the southern sledge journey in October 1908. They came within 100 miles of the Pole but, suffering from lack of food and battling blizzards and headwinds, they had to turn back. Their return journey was a race against time which they would have lost if Nimrod had not stayed longer than the appointed leaving date, but they sailed for home in March 1909 with all members of the expedition safely on board.
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