Thursday, June 21, 2007

Captain Scott's Hut in danger

“The hut is becoming the most comfortable dwelling-place imaginable. We have made ourselves a truly seductive home, within the walls of which peace, quiet and comfort remain supreme.” This is how Captain R F Scott wrote about his famous Cape Evans hut in his diary in 1911. Sadly, the hut - pictured by Ian McLaughlin - is now in danger of disappearing: the World Monuments Fund says climate change means the wooden structure - for decades permanently frozen - is now rotting away and becoming engulfed by increased snowfall. Consequently they have place it on their at risk list of the world's 100 most endangered cultural sites.

It is hoped the listing will encourage donors and governments to back essential conservation work which is estimated at around £3 million. Sir Edmund Hillary is among those trying to raise funds. "The British should take a little more interest in them. To find now that these relics of a heroic age are barely supported by Britain is just a little bit disappointing," he said. Earlier this year, the UK government promised a £250,000 grant to help save the hut.

The hut was built using supplies brought from New Zealand and took two weeks to construct. The walls of the hut were insulated with seaweed and it was nicely kitted out with a pianola, records, and even a printing press to publsih the expedition’s newspaper.

For more information go the Heritage Antarctica site or if you'd like to visit a replica, Kelly Tarlton's has a lifesized one. More details here.

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