norwegian explorer

Painting from Scott expedition discovered in Antarctica

The mystery of a beautifully painted watercolour of a dead bird that was found in Antarctica’s oldest building has been solved.

The painting of a Tree Creeper was in a hut built by Norwegian explorers and later used by the Scott expedition.

The image was found in a pile of papers covered in mould and penguin excrement.

It is believed to be by British scientist Dr Edward Wilson, who died on the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

Antarctic Heritage Trust paper conservator Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez described the find as the greatest moment in her career. Read more.

Space vocabulary in Norwegian! Translation of this post by @languageoclock, (which again was a translation of this post by @malteseboy)

  • En astronaut - Astronaut 
  • En astronom - Astronomer 
  • En atomsfære - Atmosphere 
  • Et romvesen - Alien 
  • En oppdagelse - Discovery 
  • Jorden - Earth 
  • Månen - Moon 
  • Et observatorium - Observatory 
  • En planet - Planet 
  • En dvergplanet - Dwarf planet 
  • En rakett - Rocket 
  • Et romskip - Spaceship 
  • Ei/en sol - Sun 
  • Ei/en stjerne - Star 
  • Et solsystem - Solar system 
  • Melkeveien - Milky way 
  • Et teleskop - Telescope 
  • Et univers - Universe 
  • Verdensrommet - Space 
  • En vitenskapsmann - Scientist 
  • En bane - Orbit 
  • Et liv - Life 
  • En beboelig sone - Habitable zone 
  • En galakse - Galaxy 
  • En meteor - Meteor
  • En asteroide - Asteroid 
  • Kosmos - Cosmos 
  • En satellitt - Satellite 
  • En romstasjon  - Space station 
  • Gravitasjon - Gravity 
  • Utforske - Explore 

On this day, 5th January 1922, Ernest Shackleton, died.

Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Antarctic explorer, best known for leading the Endurance’ expedition of 1914-16.

Ernest Henry Shackleton was born on 15 February 1874 in Ireland but his family moved to London where Shackleton was educated. He joined the merchant navy when he was 16 and qualified as a master mariner in 1898. 

In 1901, Shackleton was chosen to go on the Antarctic expedition led by British naval officer Robert Falcon Scott on the ship ‘Discovery’.  The team trekked towards the South Pole in extremely difficult conditions, getting closer to the Pole than anyone had come before. Shackleton became seriously ill and had to return home.

In 1908, he returned to the Antarctic as the leader of his own expedition, on the ship 'Nimrod’. During the expedition, his team climbed Mount Erebus, made many important scientific discoveries and set a record by coming even closer to the South Pole than before. Shackleton was knighted on his return to Britain.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, followed by Scott who died on the return journey. In 1914, Shackleton made his third trip to the Antarctic with the ship 'Endurance’, planning to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. Early in 1915, Endurance’ became trapped in the ice, and ten months later sank. Shackleton’s crew had already abandoned the ship to live on the floating ice. In April 1916, they set off in three small boats, eventually reaching Elephant Island. Taking five crew members, Shackleton went to find help. In a small boat, the six men spent 16 days crossing 1,300 km of ocean to reach South Georgia and then trekked across the island to a whaling station. The remaining men from the 'Endurance’ were rescued in August 1916. Not one member of the expedition died. Shackleton’s account of the 'Enduranceexpedition, South was published in 1919. The State Library of New South Wales holds a number of editions of this book, including first editions.

Shackleton’s fourth expedition aimed to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent but on 5 January 1922, Shackleton died of a heart attack off South Georgia and he was buried on the island.

The State Library of New South Wales holds collections of photographs depicting Shackleton’s expeditions, including these taken by photographer Frank HurleyPhotographs of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic expedition in the 'Endurance’, ca. 1914-1917  

105th Anniversary of the First Expedition to the South Pole

The first expedition to reach the geographic South Pole was led by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. He and four others arrived at the pole on 14 December 1911, five weeks ahead of a British party led by Robert Falcon Scott as part of the Terra Nova Expedition.


December 14th 1911: Amundsen team reach South Pole

On this day in 1911, a team led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first people to reach the South Pole. Born in 1872, Amundsen got his first taste of adventure at the age of fifteen, when he embarked on a sea voyage. In 1899, he had his first encounter with the Antarctic, and a few years later became the first person to travel the Northwest Passage. He then planned a trip to the North Pole, but after that was reached by Robert Peary in 1909 he redirected his efforts to the South Pole. Amundsen’s expedition was kept secret, and he sought the pole less for the scientific achievement than as an effort to alleviate his mounting debt. Amundsen was not the only person headed for the pole, however, as in September 1909 British explorer Robert Scott had announced his own expedition. The Norwegian crew were locked in a race with the Scott team, each attempting to make history by being the first people to reach the planet’s South Pole. Scott’s team were using motorised sledges, whereas Amundsen’s were pulled by dogs and they used skis. Tensions were high in the Amundsen team, and the party split up in October, with Amundsen, Olav Olavson Bjaaland, Hilmer Hanssen, Sverre H. Hassel and Oscar Wisting headed for the pole. At 3pm on Friday, December 14th 1911, they arrived at the site of the South Pole. With frostbitten and aching hands, the five men placed the Norwegian flag in the ground. They celebrated with a meal and cigars in the camp, and departed soon after, but not before leaving a message for Scott in the tent. The British party arrived five weeks later, only to discover they had been beaten by the Norwegians. In a sad turn of events, the entire Scott party died on the return journey, and they have since become national heroes in Britain for their bravery and fortitude. Amundsen, unaware of this, was able to telegraph the news of his success to his brother in March, 1912, and his achievement was widely celebrated. Roald Amundsen later took up flying, and disappeared in 1928 after his plane went missing during a search for a lost aircraft.

“And so at last we reached our destination and planted our flag on the geographical South Pole, King Haakon VII’s plateau. Thank God!“
- Amundsen’s diary entry on December 14th 1911

Erik the Red, Greenland and Iceland:

Erik the Red was an icelandic born viking explorer, who found Greenland and settled the huge island.
At first, Norwegians had explored and settled Iceland. This name of course comes from the many glaciers and icy beaches, even though the area were way warmer than today, and was covered in 80% forests compared to the 10% today.

Erik the Red found Greenland with a crew, sailed back to Iceland to gain more settlers for the new land. He didn’t succeed so he had to lie about it, calling it Greenland for making it sound more appealing even though it was colder and further north than Iceland.

Erik then found several cities, and one of theese (Ruins pictured) stood on Greenland till 1500 totally isolated from the rest of Europe. Greenland was rediscovered by Danish missionaries in the 1700’s.

Louise Boyd (1887-1972) was an American explorer of Greenland and the Arctic, who in 1955 became the first woman to fly over the North Pole. She became famous for her polar adventures, with newspapers worldwide giving her nicknames such as “The Girl Who Tamed the Arctic”.

In 1928 she organised a dangerous and lengthy expedition to find the disappeared Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Although the search was fruitless, she was given the Chevalier Cross of the Order of Saint Olav by the government of Norway, the first woman to be honoured thus. Her expeditions to Greenland carried great scientific value, as she surveyed and collected hundreds of botanical specimens. During World War II she worked as a United States spy.


August 7th 1947: Kon-Tiki expedition ends

On this day in 1947, the Kon-Tiki raft smashed into reef and was beached in the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was led by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and aimed to prove that pre-historic peoples could have travelled from South America to Polynesia and settled there. The expedition took 101 days and covered 7,000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to the Polynesian islands. The raft was constructed and sailed using only materials and techniques people would have had available in pre-Columbian times. However, the experiment was criticised because they used modern technology such as having the raft towed out to sea. The journey began on April 28th but ended on August 7th, with the crew all returned safely to land.

Today in 1912 Lawrence Oates, aware that his severe frostbite was slowing the progress of the British South Pole expedition, left his companions saying: “I am just going outside and may be some time.” Oates then walked from the tent into a blizzard of −40 °C to his death.

Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his diary, “We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.”

Oates’ sacrifice however made no difference to the eventual outcome. Scott, Wilson and Bowers continued onwards for a further 20 miles towards the ‘One Ton’ food depot that could save them but were halted at latitude 79°40’S by a fierce blizzard on 20 March. Trapped in their tent by the weather and too weak, cold and malnourished to continue, they eventually died nine days later, only eleven miles short of their objective.

Their frozen bodies were discovered by a search party on 12 November 1912. Oates’ body was never found. Near where it was presumed Oates had died, the search party erected a cairn and cross bearing the inscription; “Hereabouts died a very gallant gentleman, Captain L. E. G. Oates, of the Inniskilling Dragoons. In March 1912, returning from the Pole, he walked willingly to his death in a blizzard, to try and save his comrades, beset by hardships.”

Oates, Scott and three companions had reached the pole on 17 January 1912 only to discover a tent that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his four-man team had left behind after beating them in the race to be first to the Pole. Inside the tent was a note from Amundsen informing them that his party had reached the South Pole on 14 December 1911, beating Scott’s party by 35 days.


“Tuomas the Traveller” by Retkilehti.

“Tuomas Holopainen is an enthusiastic outdoor person. He enjoys sleeping in the wilderness, in his tiny shelter. His favourite hiking area in Finland is Fell Centre Kiilopää which is located next to the gates to Urho Kekkonen National Park – the second largest national park in Finland.

During his first trip to Kiilopää in 2000 he was tired and was thinking about breaking up Nightwish. 5 days of hiking, listening to the silence and sleeping well changed his mind, luckily, and the band continued. Tuomas has had many ideas for songs during his hikes. His big dream is to spend one whole month hiking with his backpack and without phone.” 

“In 2001 Tuomas travelled around the world by himself. His first destination was Thailand where he spent two weeks in a jungle with a small group of adventurous people. One day after 15 km hike he noticed that he had about 26 leeches stuck in his leg!Tuomas was very impressed by the scenery and wild horses of Easter Island. It was low season there and he was the only one staying in his hotel. He was staying in the same suite as Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl five decades earlier.”

“In March 2014 Tuomas, his spouse and a couple they were friends with flew to New Zealand, rented a camping car and drove about 3 000 km to see the best sights. They were particularly interested in The Lord of the Rings –movies and filming locations like Mount Doom in Tongariro.One day they went horseback riding which Tuomas said was quite scary since he didn´t have much experience in riding a horse. They camped in a shack and cooked with an open fire. Their surroundings were astonishing and sky full of stars.”

The British Soldier Who Killed Nazis with a Sword and a Longbow 

Above: “Mad Jack” on the far right, clutching a claymore sword. Photo via WikiCommons

The first thing the Nazi garrison on Vågsøy Island, Norway, would have heard when the British No. 3 Commando battalion landed on December 27, 1941 was the sudden blaring drone of bagpipes. One commando stood at the fore of the landing craft, facing the impending battle and playing the peppy, martial “March of the Cameron Men.” Upon coming to a halt onshore, the soldier jumped from the craft, hucked a grenade at the Germans, then drew a full sword and ran screaming into the fray.

That maniacally fierce soldier was 35-year-old Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, and his stunts at this battle, known as Operation Archery, were hardly the most bizarre and semi-suicidal of his life. Over the course of World War II, “Mad Jack,” as he came to be known, survived multiple explosions, escaped a couple of POW camps, captured over 40 Germans at sword point in just one raid, and in 1940 scored the last recorded longbow kill in history. And that’s just the CliffsNotes on his wartime rap sheet.

For many war junkies and badass aficionados, Mad Jack’s exploits are the epitome of military romanticism. His recorded statements, full of swagger like, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” and, “I maintain that, as long as you tell a German loudly and clearly what to do, if you are senior to him he will cry ‘jawohl’ and get on with it enthusiastically and efficiently,” seem like the physical manifestation of some mid-century boy’s adventure tale. The Royal Norwegian Explorers Club found him such a paragon of brawn and endeavor that, in a book released this March, they named him one of the greatest adventurers of all time.

External image

Photo via WikiCommons

Not much is known about Churchill’s youth, save that he graduated from Britain’s premier Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1926 and, at age 20, was shipped off to Burma, where he spent the next few years driving his motorcycle around the region. Possibly bored by a long peacetime, Churchill left the army for a period in 1936 and spent some time as a Nairobi newspaper editor, male model, and a bagpipe-playing, arrow-shooting extra in films like The Thief of Baghdad and A Yank at Oxford. By the end of the decade, he’d become so obsessed with the pipes that he took second place in a 1938 military piping competition at the Aldershot Tattoo, causing a mild scandal because an Englishman had beat out so many Scots. The next year, his archery habit landed him a place as Britain’s shooter at the World Archery Championship in Oslo.

As soon as the Nazis invaded Poland and war became imminent, though, Churchill rushed to the battlefield. The longbow came out almost immediately during the Allied retreat to Dunkirk, France, in mid 1940. He took to practicing guerilla tactics, staging raids, and earning commendations for his bravery, even surviving a clipping by machine gun fire. Then, while watching a German force advance from a tower in the little village of L’Epinette, Churchill signaled his attack by shooting a Nazi sergeant through the chest with a barbed arrow, immediately followed by a hail of bullets from two fellow infantrymen in tow.


Jan R Olsen: Aurora Panorama.

Excited Oxygen particles trace the intricacies of Earth’s magnetic field above the waters of  Lyngenfjord, Norway.

(The Guardian: Photographer of the year shortlist)


1 | Roald Amunsden’s Scandinavians have beaten Britain to be the first human beings to set their snowshoes on the South Pole.

2 | Robert Scott and his party finally arrive at the South Pole only to discover the tent left by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who had made it there one month earlier.

3| Scott’s expedition on their return from the pole. None would make it back.

On Scott,

 "On the centenary of that dramatic, but to traditionalist Britons, desperately disappointing day, it seems appropriate to wonder whether the sort of raw courage and self-sacrificial spirit displayed by Scott and his companions,their upper lips stiffened by stoicism as well as cold,  has disappeared from the modern world as irrecoverably as their bodies, eternally entombed in the ice that drew them to their doom; or whether it is still waiting, like the Pole itself, to be rediscovered.“ Nigel Jones