Depots were very important to sledging parties in the field and used for many reasons.
Now, by 10.30 a.m. with everything done, they were ready to start a new phase of their Antarctic adventure. The focus was to be geology and mapping, Priestley and Campbell’s fields, while Levick’s zoological expertise would not be as important inland as his photography. Campbell had organised the party into two three-man sledge teams: himself, Priestly and Dickason with the twelve-foot wooden runner sledge as the lead team responsible for exploratory and scientific efforts; Levick, Abbott and Browning the support and photography team using the ten-foot iron-runner sledge.
Lambert, in her book mentions that Levick was not happy being ‘palmed off’ with the 10-foot, iron-runner sledge, and complained in his diary that it was carrying more than their fair share of the load.[i]
The iron runners themselves added 40 pounds to the sledge, and they were probably more useful on sea ice than soft snow. However, at the time the party had little experience of the use this type of runner on inland snow conditions.
Two other sledges[ii] had been landed from the Terra Nova the previous day. Either of these could have been used, although Campbell may have wanted the group to have access the iron runner sledge. In Robertson Bay, they had found that two-decking with the iron runner sledge on the bottom to be useful.
[i] Katherine Lambert, Longest Winter, 2004, p. 111.
[ii] David Crane, Scott of the Antarctic: A Biography (Vintage, 2007), p. 112.
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