Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting KS NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Exploring past heroics on trail of Shackleton
A BEWDLEY adventurer is part of an intrepid crew retracing the epic sea and land route of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton nearly 100 years ago.
Sebastian Coulthard, 30, joined six men on January 23 to set sail on an 800 nautical miles voyage from Elephant Island, off the coast of Antarctica, to South Georgia, Using equipment and food provisions that were available in 1916, the crew of British and Australian adventurers have already made it successfully through leg one, after just 12 days.
Wearing only wool and gabardine outer-layers, they are hoping to successfully re-enact Shackleton’s voyage almost 100 years ago and are aiming to become the first team to accurately retrace the trip, using an identical vessel and equipment.
Their boat, Alexandra Shackleton, landed triumphantly on the beach at Peggotty Bluff, South Georgia island, on Sunday morning – the same location where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men landed their open boat, James Caird.
Shackleton and his crew had lost their exploration ship, Endurance, to ice and were stranded for about five months until the melting ice finally released them into the Southern Ocean.
The 2013 group is now set to tackle the rugged peaks of South Georgia in two teams, with Mr Coulthard’s group using modern gear to climb.
They are hoping to reach the old whaling station at Stromness, before paying their respects at Shackleton’s grave.
Speaking as the group landed in South Georgia, Mr Coulthard, bosun, said: “There was so little space below deck that I slept folded up like an accordion, with a wooden barrel as a pillow.
“As more moisture worked its way into the boat, the reindeer skins began to get wet and shed. The reindeer hair went absolutely everywhere – it was in your food, your drink, your clothing, your socks - everywhere.”
Mr Coulthard, who is in the Royal Navy, was inspired to become an explorer by his father Max, also an explorer.
Together they have climbed Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Volcano, waded through swamps in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest and searched for mythical Inca gold high up in the Andes.
Mr Coulthard’s sister Catherine said: “I thought he was mad when he came up to me and said he wanted to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps but he was so determined to do it.
“He’s made of strong stuff. He’s been looking forward to it so much that he couldn’t talk about anything but this. I think he’s done really, really well.”