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Cape Royds

Step into Shackleton's hut and step back in time to 1908

Information about Cape Royds

Cape Royds is a rocky strip of land that marks the westernmost point of Ross Island in McMurdo Sound. It was discovered, mapped, and named by the British expedition of 1901. Charles Royds was the expedition’s meteorologist.

Cape Royds has two claims to fame that draw Antarctic explorers. The first is that it is home to the world’s most southerly breeding colony of Adelie penguins. The unique conditions in McMurdo sound mean that there is always some open water among the ice that allows them easy access to fish, hence their presence so far south.

The other aspect that draws people here is a human one - Shackleton’s hut. Shackleton entered McMurdo Sound in 1908 and sought somewhere to take refuge for the winter where his team might have a chance of surviving. Cape Royds is where they overwintered.

When spring arrived, and the expedition was ready to go further afield, the hut was stocked with sufficient provisions and equipment to enable 15 men to survive for a whole year if needed. A note was left explaining where everything was located and then the hut was left.

Today, the inside of the hut is like a time capsule from the early 20th century. It’s quite eerie to realize that you will enter a space that would still be instantly recognizable to the men who lived here over 110 years ago. The hut at Cape Royds still held some secrets, though - in 2006 a whole case of whisky was found buried under the hut! It’s now in a museum being preserved.

Interesting facts about Cape Royds

Cape Royds is one of the principal areas of early human activity in Antarctica. The hut built by the British Antarctic Nimrod Expedition remains at Cape Royds as an important symbol of the heroic era of Antarctic Exploration. Numerous artefacts are distributed around the Cape.

Pictures of Cape Royds

Animals in Cape Royds

Our trips to Cape Royds

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