The Queen's daughter, Princess Anne is to visit Antarctica in February 2002 to celebrate the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's first Antarctic expedition.
Her visit will also launch a campaign to preserve the huts built by Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton during their Antarctic expeditions at the beginning of last century. These historic sites give a picture of the lives of the early explorers. The wooden huts have been reasonably well preserved by the cold, but they are being damaged by ice and are in desperate need of restoration. Princess Anne will spend three days at the huts, hosting a memorial dinner, attending a service in the small chapel at Scott's hut and unveiling a plaque. The huts are in territory administered by New Zealand. Princess Anne's visit is aimed at publicising efforts by the Antarctic Heritage Trust to seek international support to restore the explorers' living quarters and protect them from damage by the growing number of tourists visiting Antarctica. The Trust says the buildings are of global significance as Antarctica is only continent where man's first dwellings still survive and their preservation is of global importance. The huts, virtually left untouched since they were used by the polar pioneer explorers, still contain bedding, clothes, and various supplies, including biscuits, tins of food, plates, pots and pans. At Shackleton's hut in a penguin colony at Cape Royds, there are the remains of stables built for the ponies he used and a garage used for the first car taken to the continent. At Scott's hut at Cape Evans there are still penguin eggs and piles of seal blubber. The recent revival of interest in Shackleton has caused a massive influx of tourists to South Georgia where he is buried. There is concern about the impact on the environment as the number of visiting cruise ships rises. Falkland Island resident Sally Poncet has been funded by the South Georgia Government to make an environmental assessment of the island. She says vegetation is being trampled along the last part of the route taken by Shackleton, as tourists attempt to follow in his footsteps. Famous film star Kenneth Branagh will play Sir Ernest Shackleton in a mini-series in January on British Television's Channel Four , which has cost 27-million pounds (nearly 40-million dollars) to make. It tells how his ship Endurance was crushe