Sponsors: The Antarctic Circle and The Fram Museum


Complete the following in 600 words or less: Amundsen sat on the sledge at the South Pole and wrote up a letter to leave in the tent for Captain Scott to find, if he ever made it that far. He signed his name, then paused and thought a bit. After reflection, he scrunched up the letter and began again. What did that first letter say? Serious. Comical. Whatever.

Entry 1

My Dear Captain Scott,

It seems that I have won the Race. The Pole is mine. Polheim is for Norway.

To make sure of this I have put markers some distance from what I calculate to be the 'true Pole'. I am leaving no room for dispute when you arrive. I have your Mister Hinks to thank for that. Yes, I saw him two years ago, at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Very interesting. English and Norwegians, we like to be so accurate and each of us believes he is correct.

But Captain Scott, where are you?

I half-expected to see you here, raising your King's flag, so smug as you English often are. I wished to see you, to meet the mighty Robert Scott. To give you a big hug, Viking style. But ja! You, I know, would offer me your hand and we would stand here in the middle of nowhere shaking hands as if we'd met at a formal supper party. Yes, I am disappointed—hug or handshake. I am here, the victor with no-one to share my great achievement with.

I will wait.

You know Captain Robert Scott, I have had a thought just now. I have beaten you, taken away your wild dream. Suddenly the victory leaves a sour taste in my mouth. How will I go down in history? I will be Roald Amundsen, the scallywag who stole the Pole. Where is the glory in that? Fy Faen!

I was headed North and I changed my mind. North! I live in the North. I can go there anytime I want. But South. Now that is a challenge. You made it one. You lured me Captain Scott and I couldn't resist. I wanted a race, something to set my heart on fire. You made me do it. What better place to meet another madman eager to conquer the unknown?

I raced like we do back in Norway. I used tough dogs, full of spirit, and doomed to die to allow others carry on. That is our way. You English are sentimental over dogs, too sentimental. We Norwegians respect and honour our dogs but we work them and then it is over. A short life but good life. Is it not better than a bored pampered pet who sits at your feet waiting for your attention?

Ja! I get off the subject. I am disappointed now. I have waited for you. My men are ready to go. We are all irritable with each other. We argued over a dog. Can you believe that!? Helvete!

I wanted to meet you but you are not here. So, I am leaving this goddamn place.

Please deliver the letter in the tent and make good use of the supplies for your journey back. Maybe one day we will meet to exchange our stories. And no hard feelings.

Yours sincerely

Roald Amundsen

I re-read this rubbish. The cold makes men crazy.