The Ultimate Travel Company unveils Antarctic tour for 100th anniversary of Shackleton expedition
Here at the Holiday & Travel Directory you’re most likely to find us writing about attractions on British soil, or, if we’re feeling a touch more adventurous, maybe the appeal of something in the USA.
However, to mark the anniversary of Britain’s legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton, luxury travel operator The Ultimate Travel Company is planning to set sail, in January next year, for a destination about as far flung as you can get – the Antarctic – complete with a private collection of diary extracts and photography relating to the Irish-born British explorer.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was a principal figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Notably, he is remembered for his Trans-Antarctic Expedition from 1914-17, which was ultimately unsuccessful, as the Endurance became trapped in pack ice close to the Antarctic continent, resulting in its sinking. His crew took the treacherous journey across the pack ice toward land, hauling their lifeboats by hand where possible, and taking to them when the ice thinned.
The crew eventually landed on the desolate Elephant Island, hundreds of miles from mainland civilisation. Shackleton decided to take a small crew on one of the lifeboats and head to South Georgia to summon a rescue party for the remaining expedition members – a decision that saved their lives. Despite failing to complete their expedition’s aim, the crew are now hailed as heroes who never wavered in the face of unspeakable odds.
A century later, The Ultimate Travel Company’s 23-night Antarctic tour aboard the polar research vessel Akademik Ioffe certainly sounds like a fascinating (and hopefully less eventful) trip. Roddie Wordie – who’s the grandson of Shackleton expedition member, Sir James Wordie – will be on board with his grandfather’s diary extracts, many of which have never been seen or heard before.
Retracing the steps of the historic Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917, the tour will make its way from Ushuaia, in Argentina, via the Falklands and South Georgia to the white continent itself, Antarctica.
For the centenary of the Shackleton expedition, the vessel will attempt to visit Elephant Island, the site where half of Shackleton’s crew were stranded for four months after the sinking of Endurance, and were finally rescued by Shackleton himself.
Shackleton’s expedition is often considered the final major voyage to explore the Antarctic, with its audacious main goal being to complete the first land-based crossing of the continent.
Roddie Wordie told us:
“It’s so exciting to read from my grandfather’s diary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and to visit these same places as described in the diary. It’ll be a unique experience, as the diary has never been published and very few people outside the family have had an opportunity to read this brilliantly detailed account.”
To provide a more modern backdrop to the theme of polar exploration, Henry Worsley, seasoned adventurer and ex-Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army, will be joining the cruise immediately after his attempted solo, unsupported crossing of the Antarctic Peninsula. He’ll be sharing his experiences of the arduous 80-day, 1,000-mile expedition with the tour members – enriching the tour with first-hand experience.
Nick Van Gruisen, Director of The Ultimate Travel Company, said:
“Having visited Antarctica to commemorate Scott’s centennial of his doomed expedition a few years ago, it is with great excitement and interest that I look forward to revisiting the area in further depth, learning of Shackleton’s equally heroic but less tragic journey. To share this experience with Henry Worsley, one of Antarctica’s greatest living explorers, and Roddie Wordie, the grandson of the original expedition’s geologist, is a great privilege – their knowledge of the events and the memorabilia they will bring will add an extra dimension to make this a truly unique visit.”