Cambridgeshire

Family 'to finish' Shackleton's abandoned South Pole trek

James Wordie Image copyright Frank Hurley/Endurance 100
Image caption James Wordie was just 15 when he was selected by Shackleton

The relatives of a man who joined an ill-fated expedition to the South Pole aim to complete the planned journey, 100 years after it was abandoned.

Sir Ernest Shackleton's expeditionary party was forced to leave the ship Endurance in 1915 after it became icebound.

The family of James Wordie, chief scientific officer, will set out on the frozen continent next week.

They said it "completes unfinished family business".

Image copyright Endurance 100
Image caption The team hope to walk and ski the final 100 miles of Shackleton's intended route

The group of 12, led by explorer David Hempleman-Adams, plan to walk and ski the final leg of Shackleton's intended route, arriving on December 15 - 100 years after the original party hoped to do so.

The trip was conceived by Tim Holmes and his wife, Alice, who is Wordie's granddaughter.

Mr Holmes said: "In walking the last 100 miles to the South Pole, this completes some unfinished family business, but it is also a way to understand the hardships and to remember the heroism of those who set out 100 years ago."

Gruelling

As well as marking the anniversary, the project - named Endurance 100 - will help raise funds to create a digital archive of papers relating to the original expedition.

These will be made available for public research with the help of St John's College, Cambridge, where Wordie was a student, fellow, and later master; and the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

Wordie's detailed volumes capture the spirit, courage and determination of the men trapped in gruelling conditions in Antarctica for nearly two years after setting off in early 1914.

After being forced to abandon ship, the crew drifted on ice floes for several months before reaching uninhabited Elephant Island.

From there, Shackleton and five others made a daring, 800-mile sea crossing to South Georgia from where a rescue was mounted.

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