Image provided by the British Antarctic Survey
Today, June 21, is Midwinter’s Day in the British Antarctic Territory, celebrating the mid-point of the Antarctic winter.
HM Commissioner to the British Antarctic Territory, Paul Candler has written to British Antarctic Survey (BAS) personnel currently stationed in Antarctica.
“I am writing to send my very best wishes and thanks to you all for your dedication to the British Antarctic Territory as we celebrate Midwinter Day. While you continue to operate in a uniquely difficult environment, I hope you are able to take time to enjoy the festivities, and to take pride too in the vital work that you collectively undertake in this unique Overseas Territory.
This year marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (CTAE), which achieved the first overland crossing of Antarctica via the South Pole. Completing the 2,158 mile crossing in just 99 days is a feat only possible with great preparedness and teamwork; qualities that are also important attributes as Winterers. The courage, determination and resilience of the CTAE team is something demonstrated too by those over-wintering in the British Antarctic Territory today.
During my visits to the British Antarctic Survey Headquarters in Cambridge, I have been fascinated to learn more about the extensive science and research projects you are involved in, as well as being able to understand more about the exceptional and logistical challenges that you face when operating in such a harsh environment. In the year that has seen the extent of Antarctic sea ice reach a record low, understanding the British Antarctic Territory and its impact on the rest of the planet is more important than ever. So I continue to be very grateful for and extremely impressed by your commitment to research and understanding this amazing continent.
I will shortly be taking up the role of Acting Governor of Anguilla until 11 September, with Jane Rumble acting as Commissioner for the British Antarctic Territory in the meantime. I look forward to hearing about the preparations for the Antarctic summer season on my return.
I very much hope you are all able to take time to relax, unwind and reflect on your achievements amidst the celebrations.
Wishing you all a Happy Midwinter Day.”