Discovery – Dundee’s Antarctic Adventure

Looking for inspiration for a polar trip? Want to follow in the footsteps of Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN and Ernest Shackleton on their Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic?

I highly recommend a visit to RRS Discovery, which is magnificently showcased at Dundee’s Firth of Tay quayside, with accompanying Discovery Dome Museum.

Originally designed and built, in Dundee, to specific British National Antarctic Expedition requirements. This remarkably tough vessel was launched in 1901. It was the last conventional wooden three-masted ship to be constructed in the United Kingdom.

The opportunity to glean so much first-hand information on how Sir Clements Markham (President of the Royal Geographical Society at the turn of the century), managed to turn his vision into reality is not to be missed. With the focus on the building of a vessel capable of taking on the uncharted wilderness of the Antarctic, the museum offers a humbling insight into the people involved in the Dundee dockyards, and the meticulous skill and fortitude of the shipwrights.

RRS Discovery – Original Crew

Benefitting from the city’s whaling history, which informed the ship’s design and build, Captain Scott set sail for the Antarctic, from Cowes on 6th August 1901. The soon to be equally famous Ernest Shackleton was one of his senior crew members.

Indeed, anyone who has navigated Drakes Passage (between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica), whether on a latter-day scientific expedition, or a more contemporary tourist trip, will appreciate how remarkable their journey was.

Certainly, we at Nomadic Thoughts encourage anyone booking an Antarctic cruise trip to delve into the continent’s history of exploration and discovery. And particularly to understand these early years when the outstandingly brave men of RRS Discovery sailed into such a frozen and unforgiving landscape.

As these photos show the fabulously well-preserved ship, with immaculate decking, rigging and soaring masts, is equally impressive below decks, where the crew of 48 men lived, worked, and survived.

High, mighty, and proud, the Maritime Trust’s restoration of RSS Discovery sits majestically in the heart of Dundee, over a century after setting sail from the Firth of Tay.

So, make sure to include it in any plans for a Scottish itinerary.

2 replies
  1. Emily Bailey says:

    Really interesting! Never thought I’d hear myself say I’d like to go to Dundee until I studied it as an example of using tourism for urban regeneration – V&A, Discovery and a good night out no doubt. Can’t beat the history of exploration.

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