Nigel Watson (Executive Director) says it was wonderful to have UKAHT Chief Executive Camilla Nicol in New Zealand late last year to finalise the agreement, which sees the Trust sharing their expertise developed during the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project in Antarctica. Programme Manager Al Fastier worked on the Peninsula with UKAHT last season at Horse Shoe Island and headed back this season, this time to work on Stonington Island.
During this expedition, Al and the team set out to complete a detailed conservation survey of a historic British scientific base, known as Base E. This survey is part of a larger UKAHT multi-year project to conserve six former British bases. The information collected during these surveys will be used to develop comprehensive conservation plans for the conservation and care for each site. Base E was established in 1946 and was the centre for much of the early mapping of the Antarctic Peninsula, carried out by dog sled teams and has been rarely visited since its closure in 1975. The island is home to two historic bases; British Base E and the US East Base, both of which have been designated as Historic Sites under the Antarctic Treaty.
Stonington Island is only 0.4 miles long and 0.2 miles with dramatic 360 degree views of mountains, glaciers and ice bergs. With 30 years of experience of working in remote places, Al said, “Stonington Island is the most stunning location that I have ever worked.” As well undertaking the survey the team also carried out emergency repairs to reduce snow and melt water ingress to slow down the rate of decay to the building fabric and artefact collection until long-term repairs solutions are implemented.
Nigel says, “It is great for the Trust to be sharing our expertise built up over the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.” Lizzie Meek, the Trust’s Programme Manager – Artefacts, took over from Al in the latter part of the season and is surveying and providing advice on the artefact collection.