Cape Royds Hut - built 1908 - Shackleton's 1907-1909 Nimrod Expedition

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Shackletons hut Cape Royds

Cape Royds is situated at the extreme west point of Ross Island overlooking McMurdo Sound. The Hut at Cape Royds was built in 1908 for Shackleton's 1907-1909 "Nimrod" expedition. It was built away from the already existing and nearby Discovery Hut erected by Captain Scott in 1902 due to an agreement that Scott and Shackleton had. Shackleton also agreed not to enter McMurdo Sound where Scott had built his hut or use the route to the Pole that Scott had pioneered on the earlier expedition (even though Shackleton was one of two other men who had accompanied Scott on his earlier South Pole attempt).

The plan had been to make a base at the Bay of Whales, but this was not possible due to impenetrable pack ice from a long stretch of ice shelf that had calved into the sea, Shackleton had to head into McMurdo Sound despite his promise to Scott. The Cape Royds hut is about 32km (20 miles) from Scott's Discovery Hut.

Construction of the specially designed prefabricated hut took about 10 days, with the insulation another three weeks. Propped up against the packing cases towards the left of this picture can be seen a spare wheel from the very first motor car to be taken to Antarctica - an Arrol-Johnston.

There was an overwintering party of 14 men, in December 1908 to January 1909 a 4-man party consisting of Shackleton, Adams, Wild and Marshall made an attempt on the South Pole, they came to within 97 miles (156 km) before accepting that while they could probably make it to the pole, there was virtually no chance of them managing to get back alive.

As Shackleton told his wife later "I thought you'd rather have a live donkey than a dead lion"

Shackleton was knighted on his return to England.

Photo; © Mike Usher - Pictures from an icebreaker cruise to Eastern Antarctica.