Save legendary Antarctic explorers' huts, group urges
A group is seeking $6.5 million to restore huts used by two British explorers on expeditions to the South Pole, with one backer calling them "monuments to the great age of heroic exploration."
The Antarctic Heritage Trust wants to bring backthe original state of a hut used by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott on his final expedition to the pole and another used by Scott's fellow explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Almost 100 years of punishing winters have had their effect on Scott's Discovery hut at Hut Point.But while the huts were built to withstand only one or two winters, they can still be salvaged, says the British-based charity, whichtries to highlight Britain's part in Antarctic exploration and scientific research.
Scott'stragic and fatal trek to the South Pole in 1912 put him among the pantheon of legendary British heroes. He died after discovering that a rival Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen had beaten his team to its goal.
Shackleton is best known for being the first to make it to within 100 miles of the pole, in 1909.
"The huts are monuments to the great age of heroic exploration and it would be a scandal if Britain failed to provide the money to make sure that this astonishing place is protected for future generations," Sir David Attenborough, a British broadcaster who is one of the campaign's high-profile backers,told the BBC.
Government rejected funding request
According to the BBC, British government lottery officials recently turned down the group's request for funding toward the $6.5-million restoration.
The officials said they didn't have enough funds for British projects, much less ones on foreign soil.
The huts are located in New Zealand territory and that government, along with the U.S.-based Getty Foundation, has provided some money.
Other well-known figures who support the heritage group's campaign include actor Kenneth Branagh, English Heritage chairman Sir Neil Cossons and polar explorers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and David Hempleman-Adams.