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Shackleton expedition successfully crosses South Georgia

Antarctic Endurance 2016
19 February 2016
A team of Naval adventurers have just completed an arduous journey from Antarctica and crossed South Georgia following in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The 11 Service participants from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines carried out the expedition a century after Shackleton’s extraordinary recovery from the Weddell Sea.

Having left the Falkland Islands in January the 10 men and one woman sailed a 67 foot yacht to King George Island, 75 miles off the coast of Antarctica, before heading further south to the frozen continent.

From there it was up to Elephant Island and eventually to King Haakon Bay, South Georgia, where members of the team began trekking over land to Stromness and eventually to Grytviken where they paid homage to Sir Ernest at his grave.

Antarctic Endurance 16 team leader, Commander Tim Winter, said: “Fittingly, we arrived at Grytviken on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s birthday and were joined at the grave by crews from the other yachts in the harbour. 

"We had a bottle of ‘Shackleton Whisky’ with us and so were able to toast the man who inspired the whole plan for Antarctic Endurance 2016.”

Fittingly, we arrived at Grytviken on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s birthday and were joined at the grave by crews from the other yachts in the harbour

Commander Tim Winter, Antarctic Endurance 16 team leader

The aim of the expedition was to inspire a new generation of sailors and marines to seek adventure but also to provide the Navy and Ministry of Defence with research into team dynamics and leadership.

Deputy team leader, Major Tony Lancashire Royal Marines, who previously sailed through Canada’s Northwest Passage in a 17ft boat, added: “What really impressed, and will stay with me the longest, was how well the team rose to meet their own challenges in such hugely demanding conditions. 

“I learnt a little more about myself during the last few days but I also learnt that those qualities Shackleton and his men displayed are very much present amongst today’s sailors and marines, especially amongst the fine team I shared this experience with.”

The 11 Service participants are made up of qualified and experienced sailors and mountaineers, with six of them in the first five years of their careers.

However for Major William “Molly” Macpherson, Antarctic Endurance marks the end of his 36 years’ service in the Royal Marines. 

The 52-year-old, from the Isle of Wight, said: “Stepping onto the Peninsula was a surreal and emotional feeling, truly strange and humbling and a fantastic way to bring to an end my career in the Royal Marines.”

Along with research into team dynamics and leadership; data has also been collected on climate, environment and hydrography on behalf of British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge and Plymouth Universities and the UK Hydrographic Office.

The team will begin the final leg of the journey back to the Falklands at the weekend in their yacht Xplore.

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