This is from February 1911, during their first summer:
The wind increased, and with the knowledge I now have of blizzards I would camp at once. Then I thought it better to shove on, as the ponies were marching splendidly. The danger lay in the fact that though it is easy for you to march with the wind behind you, you can’t march for ever and you will probably get tired before the wind does. Camping in a stiff breeze is always difficult, to say nothing of a gale.”
Later, in the fall:
But we got our first experience of cold weather sledging which was useful. The minus thirties and forties are not very cold as we were to understand cold afterwards, but quite cold enough to start with; cold enough to teach you how to look after your footgear, handle metal and not to waste time.”
That winter, camped in a half-igloo, half-tent on Cape Crozier 65 miles from the nearest building:
I do not know what time it was when I woke up. It was calm, with that absolute silence which can be so soothing or so terrible as circumstances dictate. Then there came a sob of wind, and all was still again. Ten minutes and it was blowing as though the world was having a fit of hysterics. The earth was torn in pieces: the indescribable fury and roar of it all cannot be imagined.
“Bill, Bill, the tent has gone,” was the next I remember.
A day later the blizzard had blown the roof off the igloo:
Birdie [Bowers] was more drifted up than we, but at times we all had to hummock ourselves up to heave the snow off our bags. By opening the flaps of our bags we could get small pinches of soft drift which we pressed into our mouths to melt… so we did not get very thirsty…. The wind made just the same noise as an express train running fast through a tunnel if you have both the windows down.
Cherry is admirably honest:
I can well believe that neither of my companions gave up hope for an instant…. As for me I never had any hope at all….
I had no wish to review the evils of my past. But the past did seem to have been a bit wasted. The road to Hell may be paved with good intentions: the road to Heaven is paved with lost opportunities.
And I wanted peaches and syrup – badly. We had them at the hut, sweeter and more luscious than you can imagine. And we have been without sugar for a month.
Soon after they made it back to the hut, Atkinson got lost while trying to check the meteorological instruments:
…He found himself by an old fish trap which he knew was 200 yards out on the sea-ice. he made a great effort to steady himself and make for the Cape.
Everything else is vague. Hour after hour he staggered about; he got his hand badly frostbitten: he found pressure [ridges in the ice]: he fell over it: he was crawling in it, on his hands and knees…. He found an island, thought it was Inaccessible, spent ages in coasting along it, lost it, found more pressure, and crawled along it. He found another island, and the same horrible, almost senseless, search went on.
You’ll be relieved to hear that Atkinson stumbled back to safety after more than six hours in the storm.