The British Antarctic ‘Nimrod’ Expedition 1907-1909
Having travelled to Antarctica with Scott during his ‘Discovery’ Expedition, the British Antarctic Expedition was the first expedition led by Ernest Shackleton. With the aim of conquering both the geographical South Pole and South Magnetic Pole, Nimrod sailed from New Zealand on 1 January 1908. Shackleton had originally intended to use the area where Scott’s ‘Discovery’ Expedition had been based to launch his attempts on the poles, but Scott had pressured Shackleton to look elsewhere for his quarters, claiming the area as his research zone. However, on arrival at what they named the Bay of Whales on 21 January 1908, they found ice conditions unstable and a search for a safe anchorage at King Edward VII Land proved equally difficult. Shackleton was therefore forced to break his promise to Scott and headed for McMurdo Sound, arriving on 29 January. Attempts to reach Hut Point were stopped by ice, and Shackleton eventually established his base at Cape Royds, about twenty-four miles north of Hut Point, landing on 3 February. By 22 February all stores had been unloaded and Nimrod sailed north, with construction of the hut complete by the end of February.