Polar explorer given special access to legend’s RRS Discovery cabin

Wendy Searle was granted special access to Shackleton's personal cabin

A cabin inhabited by one of the country’s most intrepid explorers on his way to the South Pole opened its doors to a modern day Antarctic adventurer on Monday.

Wendy Searle is preparing to set off on an exploratory mission to the bottom of the planet, following in the footsteps of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of Dundee’s most famous ship RRS Discovery.

The brave adventurer and her team will drag all of their supplies, food and equipment by sled across 400 miles of frozen plains toward the South Pole, just as the Discovery’s plucky crew did more than a century ago.

And as if that wasn’t daunting enough, Wendy and her modern crew will cross uncharted territory in the tundra, climbing an as-yet-unconquered Transantarctic mountain glacier on their journey to the pole.

Her journey will begin at the Ross ice shelf, before ascending the previously unclimbed peak and crossing the Titan Dome along the way.

Wendy hopped aboard Scott’s historic vessel on Monday, where she was invited to view Shackleton’s quarters as well as producing her own edition of the South Polar Times – the magazine created by the crew of the Discovery to help the men while away the stormy winter months spent locked in the ice.

Its pages were filled with letters, articles and illustrations which kept the crew amused in the harsh climes of the antarctic continent.

Wendy said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to write my own South Polar Times entry and I’m delighted to be working with Dundee Heritage Trust on this project.

“I’m especially interested in what the experience of sailing to the bottom of the world and overwintering in a tiny hut would have been like as a woman.”

Ali Gellatly, education officer at Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “Wendy will
be adding her own lines to polar history and this is a very special way for
her to start that journey.

“We opened Shackleton’s cabin especially for this visit.”