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Montevideo, May 22nd 2019 - 09:21 UTC

Retracing Shackleton's epic voyage.

Wednesday, September 13th 2000 - 21:00 UTC
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A British military expedition to retrace the footsteps of explorer Ernest Shackleton set sail from Gosport, Hampshire this week on an epic voyage to the Southern Atlantic.
The Army-led joint services team on the 50 foot, steel-hulled yacht Ice Maiden is expected to touch Uruguay and the Falkland Islands, before the final push to South Georgia.

The Southern Tartan Challenge team, made up of 120 volunteers from all three services, plans to sail to South Georgia where an attempt will be made to conquer 7,483 foot Mount Roots, the island's highest and previously unclimbed peak.

The journey is split into ten legs, each with its own crew and skipper, and will take the modern-day adventurers to the west coast of Africa, across the Atlantic to Brazil, down the east of South America to Uruguay, Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

Major Bill Bilous, expedition leader, said the idea for the journey was centered on an ambition to climb Mount Roots.

"The whole reason for the expedition started as an idea to go climbing in South Georgia but we then thought why not combine it with sailing as well," he said.

The 33-year-old Royal Engineer said previous attempts on the mountain had been hampered by the extreme weather encountered in the Southern Atlantic.

"What has thwarted people before is the combination of steepness, weather snow and ice. But with good snow and ice conditions we might just get lucky. We need to make sure we give it our best shot."

Ernest Shackleton, who was born in 1874, made several Antarctic expeditions. In 1914 he attempted to the be the first to cross the Southern Ocean but his expedition ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice for nine months. After drifting on ice floes for five months, the expedition escaped in boats to Elephant Island.

Shackleton and five others then sailed 800 miles in a whaleboat to South Georgia to find help. He led four relief expeditions before succeeding in rescuing his men from Elephant Island. The whaleboat, the 23-ft James Caird, is preserved in Dulwich College, south London.

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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