Polar Poetry & Songs

A young man with his aunt and his ma, took

a trip on a ship to the Arctic.  

Said his ma, “What a hole,

Try the opposite pole.”

But his auntie was anti Antarctic

These songs, poems and rhymes essentially tell the story - or at least give the essence - of the 1966 to 68 years at the British Antarctic Survey station of Halley Bay.   This was a wonderful period, a large new base was constructed, field exploration was expanding in distance and weight with the use of International Harvester tractors and the trusty Muskegs.  Dogs were still the mainstay of route proving but skidoos were making their utility obvious.  

The surveys of the Heimefrontfjella and Theron Mountains were completed and the Shackleton Range was next on the agenda but the massive Slessor Glacier, with its crevasses, lay across our route. A two hundred mile detour still left us short of our objective and BAS head office, (then at Gillingham Street, London) quite sensibly judged another attempt the next year too uncertain as they had a commitment to get the surveyors and geologists to the Shackletons…  Perhaps the timing and wording of the cancellation might have been better for it had a significant effect on base morale.  However, after much discussion with London, the second reconnaissance was mounted and proved extremely successful.  

As a General Assistant/ Mountaineer, I helped in projects around the base but my main interest and work was in the field, hence the preponderance of poems on this topic.