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Going polar

Expedition bids to locate lost ship of Kildare born polar explorer Ernest Shackleton

The Endurance22 Expedition will leave Cape Town, South Africa, on 5 February and travel to Antarctica.

AN EXPEDITION TO locate the lost ship of renowned polar explorer Kildare man Ernest Shackleton will set sail 100 years after his death.

The Endurance22 Expedition aims to find, survey and film the wreck of Endurance, which sank during Shackleton’s quest to Antarctica in 1915, and now lies somewhere at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.

The trip gained notoriety due to icy conditions which caused the boat and crew to be trapped in sea ice for more than 10 months, before the crew successfully escaped in lifeboats and on foot.

The expedition to find the ship will set off for Antarctica from Cape Town, South Africa, on 5 February – one month after the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s death.

Mensun Bound, director of exploration, said: “We will do everything we can to survey and capture footage of Endurance and to bring the epic tale of her final voyage, and of the leadership, courage and fortitude of her crew, to people around the world.”

Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Shackleton, said: “My grandfather would have been amused and pleased that a century later there is a huge interest, and he seems to appeal to a lot of very different people.”

Telling the story of one of his earlier expeditions, she added: “He got within 97 miles of the South Pole, he would have been the first, but he and his companions were in a bad state physically and though they probably could have staggered on, they would have died there.

“So, he took the decision to turn back, which I regard as one of the great decisions in polar history and one I’m very proud of.

“He brought his men back alive.”

As well as being a pioneering explorer, Shackleton also helped to produce scientific and geological surveys, including the first survey of Antarctica’s interior and effectively locating the Magnetic South Pole.

ernest-shackleton-endurance-sir-ernest-shackletons-ship-endurance-trapped-in-the-ice-during-the-191415-imperial-trans-antarctic-expedition Ernest Shackleton's ship, Endurance, trapped in the ice during the 1914/15 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Camilla Nichol, chief executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), said: “These iconic figures like Shackleton can still inspire us all today. The decisions they made, the leadership, the courage, the endurance, these are qualities that I think we all strive to have.

“I think looking up to these people in the past can do us a lot of good and give us that inspiration to maybe push ourselves a little further in the future.”

Meanwhile, the only known surviving sledge from Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909 has gone on display at the National Maritime Museum in London.

It is the first time the 11ft sledge will have been on display to the public.

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