We have now had a whole week out in the field, visiting the historic huts. Our first trip was to Cape Royds by helicopter, as the sea ice is already too unstable to travel over. We came here to complete the annual maintenance and monitoring work on the hut, starting off by digging away all the snow and ice that had built up around the hut walls over the last year.
Stepping into the hut was an amazing experience, and for me this was a very long-anticipated moment. What really struck me was that even after so much time reading the accounts of the expedition and thinking about this trip, that it was still surprising. The artefacts and the furniture in the hut really brought home the domestic aspects of what life was like for Shackleton and his team, and for me that brought them off the page and into reality.
The stove at the centre of the hut is like the beating heart of the space, and is immediately comforting, even though the temperature inside the hut was -11 Celsius when we arrived. There were so many other little joys inside, and it is difficult to pick out the most special objects, but it was amazing seeing Shackleton’s own handwriting on the walls where he had marked out each man’s bunk space with their names.
The team worked in this hut for three days, checking for snow ingress, recording the condition of the objects and doing some conservation cleaning to remove the dust and scoria deposits from the last season. It’s wonderful to contribute, even in just a few days, to conserving this amazing piece of Antarctic history. Thanks AHT!
Written by AHT Conservation Ambassador Diana McCormack