A Dinner aboard Discovery
Discovery, the 100 year old ship which represents one of the most tangible links to the great era of Polar exploration, was the venue for a special Antarctic Evening held in Dundee, Scotland earlier this year. The ship was the perfect setting for a unique dinner attended by descendants of the pioneering explorers, modern day Polar travellers, collectors of Antarctic memorabilia and writers. It was a memorable occasion built around a long languid dinner in the splendid Ward Room of Discovery accompanied by toasts, stories, anecdotes, informed discussion and general discursions about early Polar exploration and the role of Discovery.
The event began with drinks in the cramped but atmospheric Pig & Whistle bar situated below decks on Discovery where guests were introduced to each other and then taken for a brief guided tour of the famous ship. At around 8pm the 14 enthusiasts sat down in the ornate mahogany-lined Ward Room for a splendid dinner of locally-caught Scottish salmon and medallions of Aberdeen Angus beef in Scotch whisky. This was followed by a selection of Scottish cheeses and washed down by suitably named Discovery port.
As the conversation and drinks flowed back and forth it was easy to imagine the setting 100 years earlier when Scott, Wilson, Shackleton, Royds, Skelton and the other officers were gathered around the same table discussing their hopes and anxieties about their expedition. The neat, individual cabins, which flank the Ward Room, still display the names of the famous men who embarked on the largest Polar expedition ever sent from Britain.
For us the spirits in the Ward Room that night seemed stronger than the whisky and brandy passing freely around the table.
The event was organised by Robert B. Stephenson, the Antarctic collector and traveller who runs the Antarctic Circle website and it was Rob who produced a delightful 40-page booklet which all those present will treasure as a lasting keepsake of an enchanting and memorable evening.
Those present onboard Discovery on Saturday, May 5, 2001 were: