Scott Of The Antarctic's Last Christmas Meal

Captain Scott's South Pole Party ate curried horsemeat for Christmas. So we would keep your turkey and cranberry sauce!

The epic stories of 19th & 20th Century Antarctic explorations have greatly inspired the creation of Lilly Wild. So we thought we'd share with you Scott's South Pole Party's last Christmas meal and his heroic tale.

Standing from L-R  Cpt. Laurence Oates, Cpt. Robert Scott Falcon, Petty Officer Edgar Evens; sitting L-R Lt. Henry Bowers and Dr. Edward Wilson.

Standing from L-R  Cpt. Laurence Oates, Cpt. Robert Scott Falcon, Petty Officer Edgar Evens; sitting L-R Lt. Henry Bowers and Dr. Edward Wilson.

Captain Scott’s diary from his last ever expedition, reveals how his party celebrated Christmas during their epic journey to the South Pole.

On Christmas Eve of 1911, with hopes still high that Scott’s team would reach the South Pole before Amunsden, they treated themselves to a luxurious Christmas feast of curried horsemeat and plum pudding!

In his diary, Scott penned his last Christmas meal…

"Then an arrowroot, cocoa and biscuit hoosh [thick stew] sweetened; then a plum pudding; then cocoa with raisins, and finally a dessert of caramels and ginger.”

"After the feast it was difficult to move. Wilson and I couldn't finish our share of plum pudding. We have all slept splendidly and feel thoroughly warm - such is the effect of full feeding."

For 3 more weeks they continued to navigate the challenging terrain of icy crevasses and battle the wild elements of Antarctica, enduring endless white snow and occasional blizzards, before reaching the South Pole on the 17th January 1912. 

"The marches are terribly monotonous," wrote Scott on Thursday 28th December 1911. "One's thoughts wander occasionally to pleasanter scenes and places, but the necessity to keep the course, or some hitch in the surface, quickly brings them back.”

Disappointing they reached the South Pole 4 weeks after Roald Amundsen and perished on the  21 March 1912, just eleven miles from One Ton Depot.

Scott's last words and letters are intensely moving...

"Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman," Scott wrote. "These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale."

However, at the centre of Scott's expedition was science, he refused to give up a single scientific goal, while Amundsen was unencumbered by heavy equipment and samples. This has meant that Scott's expedition has left a outstanding scientific legacy...

  • Meteorological readings made by his time provided the longest unbroken measurements of Antarctic weather and are still used today.
  • The expedition brought back 40,000 specimens 
  • Their research produced 15 volumes of bound reports written by 59 specialists
  • The birth of glaciology can be traced to the expedition 
  • Herbert Ponting, the expedition's photographer, transformed the use of cameras on other expeditions
  • Lessons learned from equipment and animals used on the expedition, were crucial to their use in future expeditions
  • The greatest scientific legacy was the founding of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, 1920, which has become the greatest polar library in the world

So Captain Scott and his team may have failed to reach the South Pole first, but they will be remembered forever for their contributions to science.