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Two Homes at Cape Royds

where are we today?

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds is 99 years old and still looks fully weatherproof, despite the age apparent in the sandblasted, sun-bleached fir siding. The venerable house, built for Shackleton’s epic attempt to reach the South Pole, has had some recent help from a New Zealand restoration crew. They replaced the felt roof lining, which was starting to leak, dug ice out from under the hut, and tended to some corroding food cans. When they finished, in February 2007, they put everything back the way they found it.

During our week at Cape Royds we had two chances to look around inside. The door is normally locked and only eight people plus a trained hut guide are allowed in the hut at once. These precautions are in place to reduce the impact of constant tourism on the fragile hut (visitors arrived by snowmobile and Pisten Bully on five of the seven days we were at Cape Royds). It also lowers the chances that someone will be tempted to carry home a piece of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Coming down from David Ainley’s tent to Shackleton’s hut, we were struck by a century’s worth of change, plus some unexpected similarities.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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