A chilling anniversary celebrated at National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Celebrating an anniversary is fairly common place but not many can say they are celebrating the anniversary of being the first person to reach the North Pole solo.
However, Pen Hadow, the first Briton to walk without re-supply to the North and South Pole, can and National Maritime Museum Cornwall is celebrating this epic achievement by installing new objects, belonging to Pen, to their new On Thin Ice: Pioneers of Polar Exploration exhibition.
At 09.54 GMT on 19 May 2003 Pen walked into the record books after dragging a sledge 478 miles from Canada to the North Pole over 64 days, unsupported, in temperatures as extreme as minus 46 degrees. This huge feat of athleticism is thought to be as hard as climbing Everest solo, without oxygen. Pen is still the only person to have achieved this feat solo.
It took Pen three attempts over fifteen years to achieve his goal and eight years later, on the anniversary of this incredible feat, the Maritime Museum is adding Pen’s GPS, used on his North Pole solo expedition, to its On Thin Ice exhibition to honour the event.
The GPS, used to find the point which is the North Pole, and extracts from Pen’s memoirs of the moment his GPS sent a signal reading 18.104.22.168, the closest a GPS will read to the North Pole, will now feature alongside a number of other objects. Already on display is a 3D ‘virtual’ Pen dressed in all his polar clothing and with all his tent and sleigh equipment from his solo challenge and other personal items relating to his North Pole achievement.
Pen has now become recognised as one of the leading polar explorers of our generation and his iconic achievement can be clearly appreciated within the exhibition.
Pen says: "This moment in time, kindly celebrated by the Museum, is a watershed moment for me. Up to this day, my work revolved around personal adventure. But everything since has been about scientific exploration, investigating the rates, causes and global impacts of the reducing sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean. Without the former, the latter could not be.”
Taking visitors to below zero, without the risk of frostbite, the new On Thin Ice exhibition at National Maritime Museum Cornwall honours some of the greatest icons in the history of exploration, including Scott and Shackleton, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Pen Hadow.
A thirst for knowledge has driven individuals to endure some of the world’s greatest extremes and this stunning exhibition, using photography, objects and personal ephemera, honours the historic and modern-day achievements of these polar adventurers. The exhibition runs until October.
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