Extract From Scott’s Diary
Saturday November 4th 1911.
“Just after starting picked up cheerful note and saw cheerful notices saying all well with motors, both going excellently. Day wrote ‘Hope to meet in 80° 30′ (Lat.).’ Poor chap, within 2 miles he must have had to sing a different tale. It appears they had a bad ground on the morning of the 29th. I suppose the surface was bad and everything seemed to be going wrong. They ‘dumped’ a good deal of petrol and lubricant. Worse was to follow.
Some 4 miles out we met a tin pathetically inscribed, ‘Big end Day’s motor No. 2 cylinder broken.’ Half a mile beyond, as I expected, we found the motor, its tracking sledges and all. Notes from E. Evans and Day told the tale. The only spare had been used for Lashly’s machine, and it would have taken a long time to strip Day’s engine so that it could run on three cylinders. They had decided to abandon it and push on with the other alone. They had taken the six bags of forage and some odds and ends, besides their petrol and lubricant. So the dream of great help from the machines is at an end! The track of the remaining motor goes steadily forward, but now, of course, I shall expect to see it every hour of the march.”
Robert Falcon Scott was confident he could beat Roald Amundsen to the South Pole, and his optimism was buoyed by the prospect of the performance of his motorised sledges, which were capable of transporting huge quantities of supplies across the ice fields.
Ironically, on the same day Scott took his first steps towards the Pole on Nov. 1st 1911, the last of the two sledges, which had started out on October 24th, spluttered to a halt.
On November 4th, the terrible realisation of the machines failures were realised, when Scott’s party discovered the first of the abandoned sledges, as they followed in their tracks.