The Emperor strikes back
ISBN: 978-1-902019-12-3 92 pages, Paperback printed on art paper, 81 colour photographs, 148mm x 210mm.
Published June 2009.
Price: £ 14.99
About the Book
In this book the author recounts his exploits during an expedition to Antarctica, taking in along the way some time spent in Buenos Aires and Tierra del Fuego.
He paints an evocative picture of both his adventures and his travelling companions, with some comments on Antarctica’s uncertain future – and he illustrates the book with 83 beautiful photographs taken by himself and two colleagues.
The idea of the trip was hatched with a friend in a tiny tent high up in the Himalyas when Ken went on a three-week group trek to the Everest base camp in 2004.
With one lifetime’s ambition achieved – seeing Mt Everest with his own eyes – Ken turned to another challenge, getting a feel of what his hero Scott was up against in Antarctica and “what nature could throw at you if it really tried”.
So in January 2008 he and another friend set off from Heathrow for South America to play at being macho guachos, and carried on to Tierra del Fuego - “The End of the World” - and Cape Horn. Then they boarded the former Russian spyship, the Professor Molchanov, for the cruise of a lifetime. They were overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of the Antarctic Peninsula – an area of extremes, stunning panoramas and friendly creatures in probably the most respected part of the planet.
I was born in the middle of the Second World War and my life has been dominated by science, engineering and research – firstly at home, then during my scholastic years and finally employed as a Chemical Engineer by the Royal Dutch Shell Group.
When retirement came in 1996, there was no shortage of challenges awaiting me and was determined to visit areas that had eluded me during my working days. In particular, the world of writing where I had old scores to settle with my secondary school English teacher, who I felt had written me off somewhat prematurely and unfairly at 16.
A WEA (Workers Educational Association) course on ‘creative writing’ was the catalyst, helped along by many like-minded colleagues who had similar aspirations.
Following countless hours of recycling chapter after chapter, and thank heavens we had moved along from the carbon paper era and Tippex, I finally triumphed when in November 2004, my very first book, entitled ‘Beyond the Stile’, was published by Leonie Press.
I thought, ‘well that’s it, those gremlins have been exorcised’. Now back to spanners, oil cans, old vehicles, milling machines and the like. But no. I was hooked. I then put together a booklet entitled ‘Peaking Late in Life’, about a 3 week trek to Everest Base Camp.
And following my latest adventure to the Antarctic Peninsula, I have blended together words with close-up images of this part of our fragile planet. I hope that the reader will at least get a brief insight into the stranglehold it has had on the minds of intrepid polar explorers over the centuries.K.J.Wilbraham