Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX
Scotland and the Antarctic

Section 3: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen ... Sir Ernest Shackleton

The return to Britain

Shackleton returned to Britain a hero despite his failure to reach the South Pole. King Edward VII said 'This was the greatest geographical event of my reign.' The huge welcome home was repeated in Norway where Shackleton he went to Christiania (Oslo).

Amundsen led the welcome and a torchlit procession was organised. Shackleton was Amundsen's hero despite his inadequate preparation, poor techniques, defective equipment and no skis. 'It was marvellous what he did,' Amundsen said. Shackleton not only achieved the furthest journey south but was first on the Antarctic plateau. Amundsen decided that he would go to the South Pole.

Shackleton had huge debts to pay off including a bank loan of 20,000. The government agreed to pay Shackleton 20,000 as they were 'impressed by the efficient and economical manner in which the enterprise was conducted'. Very grudgingly, the government was to pay Bruce a mere 3,000 for his Scottish Antarctic Expedition. The total cost of the Nimrod expedition was 45,000.

When Nimrod returned, she was used as a floating exhibition, which raised 2,000. Shackleton spent a great deal of time lecturing at 30 a night. His book, The Heart of Antarctica (produced with the aid of a ghost writer), was regarded as the best book on polar exploration of that time.

Shackleton was knighted in November 1909.

'Had Shackleton landed at the Bay of Whales in 1908 he would have reached the South Pole'
'A live donkey is better than a dead lion'
Shackleton (Shackleton had courage to turn back)
'Another 50lb of food and we could have made it to the Pole'

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Glasgow Digital Library Voyage of the Scotia BRUCE PEOPLE SHIP ANTARCTIC INDEX