Since getting back everyone has been asking me “Well, how was it?” and I keep finding myself short on adjectives.
It’s hard to sum up just how special a place Antarctica really is or the real sense of privilege I found at being able to work in the historic huts. I met lots of interesting and lovely people, went snow-caving, bounced over the sea ice in a Hagglund, camped in sight of Mt Erebus, flew over the Barne glacier in a helicopter and learned so much about the first expeditions to the Ross Sea.
Joining Al and Lizzie and the team for just one season, it really struck me how much work has already gone into the huts and the enormous achievement of everyone in that team over the years. Thinking about all the logistics and planning that have been behind all that fieldwork is pretty humbling. It has given me fresh positivity in tackling my own conservation challenges at home, because the historic ships can be daunting at times. We are constantly battling the elements and trying to preserve very large objects in the outdoor marine environment – but seeing what has been possible in Antarctica and getting a taste of working in those conditions has given me a new perspective.
When I get asked “What’s the most memorable thing you took away from it all?” it still takes a minute to find an answer. But if I close my eyes the first thing that comes back is walking through the door to the Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans, and the amazing smell of blubber, and straw and timber. That’s going to stay with me for a long time!
Written by Conservation Ambassador Diana McCormack