RGU Law student Harry explores Antarctica

Thursday 07 February 2019

Harry Campbell, a third year Law student at RGU’s Law School, spent his Winter break supporting the UK Antarctic Trust in Antarctica.

Harry blogged about his incredible experience: 

After 16 hours of flying and seven days of sailing, I finally reached the magnificent Antarctic Peninsula. The view was far beyond breathtaking, the ice and snow completely tower over the massive mountains. If you have seen the Northern Ice Wall in Game of Thrones, Antarctica is where its Southern Sister lives and I swear, her Northern little brother is just a garden fence compared to the ice walls that I saw in Antarctica.

This terrain is so dangerous, Antarctic geologists routinely carry out their surveys using only high powered binoculars from their ships because the stadium size ice blankets that cover the mountains will collapse into the sea with the slightest movement. This powerful, and at the same time, fragile continent, must be seen in person. However, it must also be deeply protected while it is studied. 

One of the aims of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is to ensure the preservation for future generations of the historic exploration sites in Antarctica that are under their care.

Of the hundreds of Icebergs I saw while on my expedition, there was one of such enormity, it would not fit in my camera focal viewfinder, I couldn’t even use the panorama setting as the iceberg was just too big. To capture the entire size of it, I could only film it because it was a 14 story (45m) iceberg that was 62 square miles in size, with a further under-water depth of 905 metres. To put that into perspective, that is an iceberg that has 393,625,600 cubic metres of ice above sea level, enough ice to chill 6.396 Trillion glasses of juice. Another way to compare this iceberg is you could drop the entire city of Dundee, Scotland onto it and still have room for the entire River Tay.

This was an absolutely stunning spectacle that I shall never forget, but I must remember that this is still a serious consequence of human environmental action and our reckless behaviour towards our planet’s health.

This medium size iceberg is loose right now and heading north to warmer waters but there are larger ones out there as well. Our Captain informed us of the sixth largest iceberg on record, designated A-68, this iceberg broke off the Larsen C Ice shelf in last year - it is a record size at 2,220 square miles which is four times the size of Greater London. Thankfully this Trillion Ton Iceberg has stalled for now in the ice flows of the Weddall Sea which will help to prevent it from melting and raising sea levels but only time will tell if this beast will head out to open waters.

To see the Antarctic Peninsula with my own eyes was absolutely incredible. If you were to explore Antarctica yourself, I would recommend that you first become a friend of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, or a similar organisation, as they help with insight, advice and direction to help sustain and preserve the continent itself.

A trip to Antarctica allows you to become a part of the history of this incredible scenic and scientific land.