Westcountry duo set out on Captain Scott adventure
A British team have bidden farewell to London before setting off to Antarctica to try to complete Captain Scott's Terra Nova Expedition.
Polar explorers Ben Saunders, 36, who grew up in Plympton, near Plymouth, and Frenchman Tarka L'Herpiniere, 32, who grew up in the French Alps but who was born in Yeovil, Somerset, hope to complete Captain Scott's ill-fated 1910/12 expedition, taking them on an unsupported 1,800-mile return journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole.
If successful, they will be the first people to complete the return journey that Plymouth-born Captain Scott died attempting more than 100 years ago.
No-one has walked further unsupported than the 1,600 miles that Captain Scott and his team managed, before perishing 150 miles from their final destination.
The duo said goodbye to the nation's capital from the top of the Shard.
They will fly out to begin their epic journey in a few days, a spokeswoman for the expedition said.
Mr Saunders explained: "Completing Scott's Terra Nova expedition is a life-long dream of mine and I'm so excited to be standing here today about to embark on the journey with Tarka.
"Captain Scott and his men died having covered almost 1,600 miles on the Terra Nova expedition, and this feat has never been surpassed.
"In many ways, their journey remains the high watermark of human endeavour in the harshest environment on the planet.
"Finishing Scott's journey is a mammoth undertaking but, as an athlete, one that I'm hugely looking forward to, and at the same time using modern technology to celebrate his remarkable story."
Saunders and L'Herpiniere will walk on average nine-and-a-half hours each day and are expected to take 110 days to complete the expedition and will face temperatures as low as minus 50C (-58F).
Departing from Scott's wooden hut on the north shore of Cape Evans on Ross Island, Antarctica, they will traverse the Ross Ice Shelf, climb up to the Beardmore Glacier, cross the Antarctica Plateau to the South Pole before coming back. For nearly four months they will have to work through 24-hour daylight in what is known among polar explorers as some of the harshest conditions in the world.
Consuming almost 6,000 calories each day will be vital in helping them maintain the strength they will need to haul 200kg of kit and supplies for the journey.
The explorers also hope to set a new benchmark in the use of expedition technology.
Videos will be uploaded, along with photos, blogs and key data recorded in near real-time as the trip progresses.
Enthusiasts can go online to catch up with the expedition though the website, www.scottexpedition.com/blog and on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.