Hope Cross erected in memory of Sir Ernest Shackleton to travel 7,000 miles to Dundee | UK News

In honour of the renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, a tribute is set to make its way over 7,000 miles to Scotland in time for what would be his 150th birthday.

The revered Hope Point memorial cross, originally standing on the island of South Georgia, will soon be showcased at Dundee’s Discovery Point, the very museum where the famed RRS Discovery, Shackleton’s Antarctic vessel in 1901, is stationed.

Shackleton, born in 1874 in Kilkea, Ireland, met his untimely end in South Georgia in January 1922, succumbing to a heart attack at 47 onboard his ship, Quest. The expedition mates of the Shackleton-Rowett endeavor raised a particularly poignant tribute at Hope Point close by his final place of repose, Grytviken Cemetery.

Known affectionately as “The Boss,” Shackleton inspired his crew to construct the Hope Cross at the Grytviken whaling station when they could not attend his burial. The Cross stood as a symbol of respect, adorned with a signed photograph amidst the stones.

Nearly a century weathered the cross at its vigil before it was decided in 2018 to take it down for conservation, replacing it with a replica.

The three-meter-tall, roughly 30-kilogram original cross was entrusted to the RRS Sir David Attenborough for the 7,000-mile voyage earlier this year and is anticipated to make its Dundee arrival in August, where a memorial service will mark its reception at the RSS Discovery’s home.

Image:
The RRS Discovery resides in Dundee. Pic: PA

This grand endeavor involves Dundee Heritage Trust (DHT), the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT), British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI).

With aspirations to fund the cross’s upkeep at Discovery Point, DHT is reaching out for £10,000 in donations.

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Laura Willis, the government’s chief executive on the islands, remarked: “This extraordinary artifact embodies the enduring spirit of adventure and resilience that has epitomized these lands since their discovery nearly three centuries ago. Through the ages, it has seen whalers, pioneers, ecologists, and conservationists pushing the boundaries of understanding in these sub-polar regions.”

“We are eager for its presentation to a broader audience to stir the imagination of visitors, aficionados, and future trailblazers; to mull over and value the everlasting impact of one of history’s greatest explorers and the unstoppable human willpower,” she continued.

Discovery Point’s heritage and exhibitions director, Emma Halford-Forbes, disclosed DHT’s “ambitious plans” for the redevelopment of the site, which consist of introducing a fresh, permanent polar exhibition titled ‘Drawn to the Pole.’ She elaborated: “It’s our objective to feature the Hope Cross within this new space, broaden its reach to the public and cultivate a solemn space for reflection on not only Shackleton but also all who ventured into the Antarctic in days gone by.”

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