Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition notes up for sale

Antarctic sledging note delivered by dog called Vinka throws light on historic polar explorations.

Led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04), was one of the first major scientific and natural history expeditions to Antarctica which saw the first ascent of the polar plateau in the Western Mountains and the discovery of the first Emperor penguin egg.

Eight sledging notes written by members of the expedition during the polar exploration go on sale on Thursday 2nd October 2014 during Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions sale of Printed Books and Manuscripts.

Remarkably one of the notes in the collection, from Lieutenant Michael Barne to Lieutenant Charles Royds back at Winter Quarters on board the ship Discovery was delivered by Vinka the pet dog of Albert Borlase Armitage, second in command of the expedition, across miles of frozen featureless tracts with the note attached to her collar by a boot lace.

Vinka, a Samoyed, had followed Barne’s sledging party. Barne did not have enough supplies to feed his senior officer’s dog so he took the decision to starve her and send her back to the ship, hoping she would find her way across the snow.

The sale of Printed Books and Manuscripts will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London’s Mayfair. The full catalogue is available to view and download at