Posts Tagged ‘british failure’

Fury as Lidl sells reindeer meat for Christmas

November 19, 2010

Lidl is selling reindeer meat, sparking fury among campaigners

I don’t see the problem here. Hornorkesteret enjoys all the parts of the reindeer. Fancy dinner for friends or relatives? Reindeer steak! High-energy snack on camping tours? Smoked reindeer heart.
They have antlers, they pull St. Nick’s sled and they taste great – The reindeer is truly one of my favourite animals.
Original article here
Supermarket Lidl has been slammed by protesters for selling reindeer meat in the run-up to Christmas.
The German-owned supermarket, which has 500 stores in the UK, is selling frozen reindeer steaks at £5.99 for a 350g pack under its premium ‘Deluxe’ brand.

But vegetarian campaign group Viva! has slammed the move, claiming that the ‘Rudolph steaks’  ruin the spirit of Christmas.

Spokesman Justin Kerswell told The Grocer magazine: ‘Lidl is destroying the magic of Christmas by selling dead reindeer.

‘What they term “luxury cuisine” belies the truth behind an industry that exists to exploit wild animals.

‘Reports show that up to 70 per cent of reindeer killed for meat are calves.’

He added that reindeer are often herded by snowmobiles and caught using lassoes, which ‘causes them huge distress’.

A spokesman for Lidl said the reindeer used for its product ‘live in their natural habitat and have plenty of space to move around’.

Plymouth to remember Antarctic explorer Captain Scott with 10-month programme

November 7, 2010

PLYMOUTH is marking the centenary of city hero Captain Scott’s South Pole expedition with a ten-month programme.

A weekend of science, history, exhibitions and plays from June 4-6 next year is the Plymouth centrepiece in a series of national and international commemorations for the Antarctic explorer.

The weekend includes the 100th anniversary of Scott’s last birthday and begins a programme of remembrance ending with the rededication of the national Scott memorial at Mount Wise on March 25, 2012.

Events outside the city include a service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and an international expedition to the Antarctic, being led by Plymouth-born explorer Antony Jinman.

Plymothian Robert Falcon Scott and his four companions died in March 1912 on their 1,600-mile return journey on foot from the South Pole.

They battled to the southernmost point only to discover they had been beaten in the quest to be the first to the pole by Norwegian Roald Amundsen’s party.

But the story of their bravery and spirit remains one of the greatest tales in the history of human exploration.

Denis Wilkins, the chairman of the Scott 100 Plymouth organising committee, said the aim was to involve the whole community and inspire a new generation of Plymothians.

“This can be a huge success, akin to the way Plymouth celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada in 1988,” he said.

“Scott was a true hero. Setting off to the Antarctic 100 years ago was like setting off for the Moon today.

“Despite his demise, his expedition advanced our knowledge of this silent brooding wilderness. But above all he was an inspiration to thousands of young people.

“Through this celebration we have the opportunity to show how our nation has developed the heritage of science, history and culture to which he made such a great contribution.

“Above all, this centennial provides an opportunity to inspire the young people of Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall with the ideals of endeavour, achievement, curiosity and selfless embodied by Captain Scott, his men (many of whom had Plymouth connections) and their expeditions.”

The Scott 100 committee is a group of volunteers which has been planning the commemorations for over a year. All the leading institutions in Plymouth are represented, including the university, the city council and the Royal Navy.

Scott 100 will also highlight the city’s continuing links with the frozen continent. Among those is the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit, which is based at Derriford Hospital.

Mr Wilkins, a surgeon, is a former director of the medical unit. The director of the survey, Professor Nick Owens, was previously the chief executive of Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Prof Owens will be a key speaker at a conference at the university, one of the events in the city’s Scott 100 weekend in June.

Full details of the Scott100 Plymouth commemorations were being unveiled today at the City Museum and Art Gallery.

For more information about the Scott 100 commemorations, contact Joanna Murphy at the University of Plymouth on 01752 588959.

Original article here

Britain’s biggest wild animal ‘killed for antlers’

October 31, 2010

LONDON (AFP) – A giant red stag thought to be Britain’s biggest wild animal was killed for its antlers, according to reports on Tuesday.

The body of the “Exmoor Emperor,” named after the southwestern area where the stag was frequently sighted, was found close to a road in the county of Devon.

It is believed that a licensed hunter is responsible for legally killing the stag, which stood nine feet (2.75 metres) to the tips of its antlers.

An industry source claimed hunters would have paid up to 10,000 pounds (15,800 dollars, 11,300 euros) to the landowner for the opportunity to shoot the creature.

But the action still drew condemnation from deer-lovers who believe hunting should be banned during the mating season.

“It could be that he didn’t get a chance to rut properly this year, therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round,” Peter Donnelly, an Exmoor-based deer management expert, said.

“The poor things should be left alone during the rut, not harried from pillar to post.”

The identity of the marksman remains a mystery, but it is believed to be one of the increasing number of wealthy sportsmen who are flooding to the area in search of a trophy.

“There are people who are prepared to spend quite ridiculous sums of money to have a trophy on their wall,” Donnelly added.

“People talk about 1,000 pounds for a good head, but I’ve heard there are those who will pay a lot more.”

One source from the hunting industry told AFP: “I think they would have paid around 10,000 pounds for the privilege.”

Although not illegal, hunting during the mating season is frowned upon as the mating stags are often underfed and tired due to their exertions, presenting an easy target.

Older stags are regularly culled due to the historic eradication of any natural predators but at around 12 years old, the Emperor is thought to have had more productive mating seasons left in him.

Original article here

Newly discovered Arctic graves could be tied to Franklin expedition

September 26, 2010

(Randy Boswell/Postmedia News, 19 September 2010) — A British adventurer has piqued the interest of the Canadian government after reporting the discovery of skeletal human remains on a small, unnamed island in Arctic waters close to where members of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition are known to have disappeared more than 160 years ago. Bear Grylls, star of the popular Man vs. Wild outdoor survival TV series, claims to have found bones, charred wood and other artifacts earlier this month during a charity-fundraising expedition to cross the Northwest Passage in a rigid inflatable boat. At the expedition website, Grylls described how he and his team members discovered the remnants of a mysterious campsite on Sept. 2 on an tiny island in Wellington Strait east of King William Island — the place where some of the survivors from Franklin’s ice-locked ships Erebus and Terror took shelter in the late 1840s before they eventually succumbed to cold and starvation. “We found the rocky outline of a grave set by some stranded visitor long ago,” Grylls wrote at his expedition blog. “And at the grave, we saw bones. And a small piece of felt or fabric. And then as we looked there was another grave. And another, and a fourth.” Such sites are not unheard of among Canada’s Arctic islands, where extreme cold and dry conditions can preserve archeological remains intact for generations or even centuries.

Antarctic artifacts from doomed trip up for auction

August 29, 2010

The Canadian Press Saturday Aug. 28, 2010

Sir Charles Seymour Wright is shown in this 1912 photo by Herbert Ponting, upon his return from the Polar Journey photo. (HO, Adrian Reaside - Herbert Ponting / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

— A prized collection of artifacts that belonged to the sole Canadian among the first group of explorers to Antarctica will be put up for auction next month.

And they come with a thrilling tale of missteps and a failed pursuit of glory that cost some of the men their lives in the unforgiving Antarctic cold.

The belongings of Sir Charles Seymour Wright, which include more than 1,400 photographs, a compass, camera, and a pair of skis will be sold at Christie’s in London in September.

Wright was a Toronto-born physicist and glaciologist on the failed 1910-1913 expedition of Robert Falcon Scott, who wanted to be the first to reach the south pole.

Wright was a 23-year-old Cambridge University student in England when he walked 95 kilometres from Cambridge to London to convince Scott in person to allow him to go on the trip.

The goal was to travel 1,500 kilometres from Antarctica’s shore to the south pole while lugging weeks worth of food on a sled, in whiteout conditions, before the invention of polar fleece.

Wright’s grandson, Adrian Raeside, 53, is selling the artifacts. He says the men endured disorienting blizzards that lasted for weeks at a time.

“It’s just insane, but this was the plan,” said Raeside, who lives in Whistler, B.C.

Raeside said Wright, — who was nicknamed Silas — warned officers that the crew was ill-equipped for the journey, but they ignored his concerns.

Somehow, many of the men managed to survive even though the hair from the fur on their sleeping bags fell out, and the rubber soles of their boots fell off, said Raeside.

Wright was later ordered to leave the expedition about 450 kilometres away from the destination because Scott wanted a team of only British citizens to be in the record books as being the first to reach the south pole, Raeside said.

The decision saved Wright’s life. Scott and two others perished in the frigid Antarctic winter.

Wright and another team returned the next spring and found the small tip of their tent peering out from underneath metres of new snow.

British officials ordered survivors and search crews to not talk about the mistakes that led to the failed voyage, and Wright thought that publicly pointing out the errors of the men would hurt the feelings of their families, Raeside says.

Wright died in 1975 at the age of 88.

Raeside says he is putting his grandfather’s collection up for sale because he feels people need to know about the contribution of the lesser-known people on that trip.

“The men who were with Scott, including my grandfather, they were the ones who supported Scott and without them…the ship would’ve actually sunk, which it almost did (in a hurricane),” Raeside said.

He also said he has no children to pass the heirlooms on to, and feels the collection is too much of a responsibility for one person to take care of.

“The skis for example, they’ve been in the basement or the crawlspace and it wasn’t until recently that I realized these things should be looked after a little better than that. That’s why these things should go to a good home,” he said.

He said the skis are his favourite item on the auction block because his grandfather wore them during the entire mission and search for Scott’s body.

“You can say those skis were witness to almost everything that happened on the expedition,” said Raeside.

Christie’s estimates the skis will sell for between $US9,100 to $US12,000 when they go on sale Sept. 22.

The collection also features a set of Wright’s medals, including awards from the First World War, and the Order of the British Empire.

Christie’s estimates the medals alone could sell for between $US19,000 to $US27,000 but Ottawa is not allowing the medals and some other artifacts to leave Canada.

Raeside says officials are waiting to see whether a Canadian museum wants to purchase them.

Raeside wrote a book called Return To Antarctica: The Amazing Adventure of Sir Charles Wright on Robert Scott’s Journey to the South Pole, and recently filmed a documentary about tracing his grandfather’s footsteps on the continent.

Original article here

Scott’s 99-year-old Antarctic manuscripts found

August 12, 2010

Wed, 11 Aug 2010 6:29p.m.

By Hamish Clark

A 99-year-old manuscript has been discovered detailing captain Robert Falcon Scott’s plans to be the first to reach the South Pole.

The handwritten notes, acquired by Canterbury Museum, are a lecture Mr Scott gave to his men on the ice, setting out the journey to the pole.

Hand bound in royal blue, captain Robert Scott’s plans for his southern journey to the pole were thought to have been lost forever.

“It was really amazing the first time I got to read it and see and feel the paper and you can smell the tobacco smoke,” manuscript curator Joanna Condon says.

Mr Scott loved his pipe and loved to write inside his hut at Antarctica.

The eleven page document dating back 99 years was discovered in a London bookstore.

It reveals new details of what Mr Scott thought he needed to be the first to the pole.

“This lecture is the one everyone was interested in because it was about the pole journey and everyone wanted to know what his plans were and maybe whether they would be included,” Ms Condon says.

Mr Scott set off for the pole in November 1910, only to find Norway’s Roald Amundsen got there a month before him.

Mr Scott and his remaining team of four perished on their return.

Mr Scott’s flag was found by his body, and it is also on display at the museum as part of the royal collection for the museum’s Antarctic exhibition.

Also on display are the original photos taken during Mr Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions – that have never before left the royal family.

“This is a once in a life time experience to see the marriage of the objects with the photos and it is the first time and the only time this will happen,” says Royal Collection co-ordinator Stephen Weber.

Mr Scott’s original manuscript will be on display for the first time in 10 days time and there will also be a digital copy for the public to flick through.

Original article here

Scott of the Antarctic letter goes to auction

June 14, 2010

Scott's Terra Nova expedition party at the south pole, January 1912: (clockwise from top left) Captain Lawrence Oates, Captain Robert Scott, Petty Officer Edgar Evans, Dr Edward Wilson and Lieutenant Henry Robertson Bowers.

The Guardian: Dispatch from Robert Falcon Scott to wife of Edgar Evans arrived months after expedition party had perished.

A poignant letter from Scott of the Antarctic to a colleague’s wife is being sold at auction. The note tells Lois Evans, wife of Edgar, how well he is doing, but did not arrive until months after he had died,.

The note from Robert Falcon Scott says the journey might take longer than originally planned and asks her not to be “anxious or worried”.

But by the time it reached England, Scott, Evans and three others had perished on their return from the pole, having been beaten to it by a rival Norwegian party.

The letter is expected to fetch around £6,000. Scott wrote to Mrs Evans: “Although I have never met you, your husband has told me a great deal about you so that I can imagine that you and the children will be waiting to see him home again next year. He is very well indeed, very strong and in very good condition.”

Dated October 1911, the letter did not arrive until May the following year – weeks after the party had died.

Other letters up for sale include one from Captain Lawrence Oates, who died after leaving the tent, saying he was going outside and “may be some time”.

He wrote to his mother about preparations for the expedition. He had been chosen partly because of his experience with horses. But Scott purchased the horses, used in the laying of stores, and they were not to Oates’s liking. He called them “the greatest lot of crocks I have ever seen”.

The letters are among six being sold by International Autograph Auctions at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow, on Sunday. Richard Davie, from the auction house, said: “These are a wonderful collection of letters from the expedition.”

Original article here

‘Man Who Ate His Boots’ An Arctic Tragedy (NPR)

April 22, 2010

April 17, 2010

Listen to the show here

Sir John FranklinThe Man Who Ate His Boots is the tragic tale of British explorers and their numerous failed attempts to find an Arctic sea passage connecting Europe to Asia. The search for the Northwest Passage captivated the British imagination and sent many men to their deaths. Host Guy Raz speaks with author Anthony Brandt about his new book as well as its most famous character, Sir John Franklin, whose final disastrous expedition ended in cannibalism.

Copyright © 2010 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

GUY RAZ, host:

If you’ve ever read Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein,” you’ll recall that early scene when Captain Walton’s ship becomes trapped in Arctic Sea ice. The crew had been trying to reach the North Pole when a mysterious ghost-like monster appears in the distance.

Well, Ms. Shelly was writing during a period in British history when the country was gripped by the race to find Northwest Passage. Napoleon had just been defeated:

Mr. ANTHONY BRANDT (Author, “The Man Who Ate His Boots”): The world was England’s to conquer. If the ice was impenetrable, if the odds were impossible, no matter. They were Englishmen, members of a superior race, the children of destiny.

RAZ: That’s Anthony Brandt reading from his new book, “The Man Who Ate His Boots.” It’s about Britain’s obsessive search to find a sea passage through the Arctic that could connect Europe to Asia.

The most famous and tragic expedition was led by Sir John Franklin. In 1845, he led two ships and 129 men through the ice-covered waterways above the Canadian mainland. Not one man survived.

For that story, we’re joined by Anthony Brandt. He’s in our New York bureau. Welcome to the program.

Mr. BRANDT: Well, thank you.

RAZ: Before we talk about the famous Franklin expedition of 1845, set the scene for us. I mean, how much did this quest to find a northwest passage capture the imagination of the British public in the early 19th century?

Mr. BRANDT: Well, it was an old quest that had been going on for 300 years, or nearly 300 years by that time. And the public was very enthusiastic that it was being renewed after the Napoleonic wars. The country was feeling good about itself. This had been a historic mission that the English had assigned themselves to do many centuries before. They felt it was their time and that nothing could stop them.

RAZ: There were a series of these expeditions, and about at least 15 of them until 1845 when Britain’s admiralty decides to sponsor a new expedition, again, to find the Northwest Passage. John Franklin is tapped to lead this expedition but he was the last choice, right?

Mr. BRANDT: He was the last choice. He was 59 years old. He had no business doing this again but he was trying to save his reputation.

RAZ: I mean, he had already been on a few of these expeditions before.

Mr. BRANDT: Right.

RAZ: And he wasn’t sort of a hero out of central casting. He was described as, quote, “looking something like a stuffed bear.”

Mr. BRANDT: Yes. He was pudgy. He said if he had to walk around on the ice, he probably wasn’t the person to do it. But all he had to do was stay on ship and direct things.

RAZ: So, the journey starts out okay but what happens sort of a few weeks in?

Mr. BRANDT: They left Baffin Bay in August, I think, of 1845. They headed into Lancaster Sound and nobody saw them after that. Not a word came out. They disappeared for three years. And in 1848, the admiral team got worried and said we got to look for them and find them. Eleven years they searched for them.

What they found eventually was a single piece of paper describing up to a certain point what had happened. They had gotten trapped in the ice after their first year unable to move. The ice was slowly taking them, drifting them south at the rate of about 14, 15 miles a month, maybe not even that fast. And it was clearly polar ice, thick ice, and there was no way out. They had been trapped there for two years.

RAZ: And most of the crew survives for these two years. The survivors do abandon the ships and eventually, everybody died. They had plenty of food. Why didn’t they survive?

Mr. BRANDT: It’s not fresh food and scurvy was the scourge of all sea voyages at the time. You need vitamin C on a daily basis. It only comes in fresh food, and they took enormous quantities of lemon juice. But after six months, nine months a year, lemon juice loses the vitamin C. It’s a fragile chemical and it kind of disintegrates.

So, by the end of two years, usually 18 months, scurvy will appear. And unless you have fresh meat or fresh vegetables, it will very rapidly start killing people.

RAZ: And there’s evidence that suggests that the crewmembers who eventually left the ship actually had to eat the others who died.

Mr. BRANDT: Well, what they did when they left the ships was they did some peculiar things. They dragged boats with them filled with their silverware and with odd – with tons of clothing that they didn’t need. You wonder if they had sort of lost their reason at some point. But the evidence of cannibalism is irrefutable. At some point, they started eating their dead. There are many, many bones that survive with saw marks on them. And the only reason you cut into a bone with a saw is so that you can put the limb or whatever it is into a pot and cook it.

And there was a huge controversy when evidence came back that they had resorted to cannibalism. The English were very, very upset about that.

RAZ: Anthony Brandt, the Passage wasn’t navigated until 1903 when the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, did it. Now, of course, you can do it as a tourist in an icebreaker. And in fact, in 2007, for the first time in recorded history, there was almost no sea ice in the Passage at all, which seems like a kind of a fitting epilogue to the story that you tell.

Mr. BRANDT: You have to imagine ice that’s 40 feet thick. That’s as thick as a four-story building is tall. That’s thick. And if you had seen it, you would never believe that it would never melt. Now, it melts.

RAZ: That’s Anthony Brandt. His new book is called “The Man Who Ate His Boots.” It charts the history of the search for the famed Northwest Passage.

Anthony Brandt, thank you so much.

Mr. BRANDT: It’s my pleasure.

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NYT, Jan. 18. 1910: Sir Clements Markham denies a “Race to the Pole”

January 18, 2010

Full article here

“I am remaining in the Antarctic another Winter in order to continue and complete my work.”

Robert Falcon Scott

The latest news sent back to McMurdo Sound was that Capt. Scott on Jan. 3 and reached a point 150 miles from the South Pole and was still advancing.

In a letter to the Times, written, of course, before the receipt of today’s news, Sir Clements Markham, ex-President of the Royal Geographical Society, attempts to put an end to the popular idea that there has been a race between Capts. Amundsen and Scott. He says:

“As the originator of the antarctic exploration by land in 1893, I am anxious to point out that there has been no race to the pole. All that could be done by ships has been done by Cook, Ross, Biscoe, Ballenz, Dumontz, Durville, and Wilkes. I therefore held that discovery in the antarctic continent must be achieved by land, and that the course was south. I also held that a revision of the discoveries of Ballenz, Durville, and Wilkes was most important.

“The first great work was undertaken by the Royal and the Royal Geographical societies, and the commander was most carefully selected. Scott is the founder of antarctic sledge traveling, the only means by which the work can be done. His expedition was a great and memorable success, but the work in the direction selected could not be completed in one expedition.

“It was always Capt. Scott’s desire to complete the work so admirably commenced as soon as the exigencies of his profession would admit of his sparing the time. He now commands a thoroughly equipped second expedition, the great object of which is to complete his former work, including a journey to the south pole.

“I believe he intended to reach that position at the best time for observations with theodolite, at mid-Summer, and I have no doubt that he has done so. It was part of an admirably conceived scheme of scientific research.

“There was no question of racing or conquering. The grand object was very far from that. It was valuable research in every branch of science.

“Capt. Amundsen’s plan was different. He conceived the idea of making a dash for the south pole without Capt. Scott’s knowledge, and his presence was only found out by the Terra Nova arriving where he landed. Capt. Scott knew nothing about it until his return from his great journey late in the Autumn. His plans were then all matured, and Capt. Amundsen’s scheme, if he had known what it was, would not have affected them in the slightest degree.

“Capt. Scott would, I believe, wish success to my friend Amundsen, as I did, but there was no race.”

Thanks to Elizabeth Plunkett, for spotting this one!