Excerpts from diaries and travelogues written across the centuries by explorers in all parts of the known world, culminating in Scott of the Antarctic‘s stoic and heartrending final entries in the diary he kept on the long march to, and, having arrived there 34 days after Amundsen, back from the South Pole – a diary discovered along with the frozen, starved bodies of Scott, Wilson and Bowers eight months later. For me, this chapter in put Captain Oates’ famous “I’m just going outside and may be some time” line into a whole new light.
Whilst I’ll confess to skipping some of Victorian Men in Africa entries, one of my favourite entries comes from West Africa, written by the only female explorer included in the collection – Mary Kingsley –
“… and the next news was I was in a heap, on a lot of spikes, some fifteen feet below ground level, at the bottom of a bag-shaped game pit. It is at times like this that you realise the blessing of a good thick skirt.” (page 159)