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Visiting the Scott Memorial, Roath Park, Cardiff, Wales: remembering an explorer of the Antarctic

Updated on March 4, 2016
Flag of Wales
Flag of Wales | Source
Scott Memorial, Roath Park This commemorates Sir Robert Falcon Scott, the Polar Explorer, who lost his life in 1912.
Scott Memorial, Roath Park This commemorates Sir Robert Falcon Scott, the Polar Explorer, who lost his life in 1912. | Source
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, leader of the Terra-Nova-Expedition, in polar gear
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, leader of the Terra-Nova-Expedition, in polar gear | Source
Map location of Cardiff, Wales
Map location of Cardiff, Wales | Source

Commemorating a brave leader, who made his final voyage from Cardiff

Roath Park (Welsh: Parc y Rhath) is located in Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd), Wales; in the Park is a very interesting structure, dating from 1915.

Some history and features

In the form of a lighthouse, this structure in Roath Park Lake is known as the Scott Monument.

In 1910 Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1) and his colleagues sailed from the Port of Cardiff on an ill-fated South Polar exploration voyage. They succeeded in reaching the South Pole, but they never returned. Later, this monument was erected in Roath Park Lake as a tribute to the fortitude of the doomed explorers, who, weakened by exhaustion in the extreme cold, died of starvation when their rations were expended, having been beaten to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen (2).

A plaque on the monument lists the names of other members of the expedition on the Terra Nova, who sailed with Captain Scott: Captain L. E.G. Oates, Lieutenant H. R. Bowers, Dr. E. A. Wilson and Petty Officer Edgar Williams. The date of their departure is given as June 15, 1910.

Thus it occurred that F. C. Bowring, Justice of the Peace, erected the monument in 1915, three years after the death of Captain Scott and his companions.

Roath Park is also noted for its enormous trees, some of which are among the largest of their various species recorded in the United Kingdom. A mature Park, it was opened in 1894 on land which was donated to the public by a prominent local landowner, the Marquess of Bute.


(1) Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) pursued a career in the Royal Navy, participating in the Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic from 1901 to 1904. In 1910 he took command of the ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition, on the Terra Nova ; this is often referred to as the Terra Nova Expedition. He was married to the distinguished sculptor Kathleen Bruce (1878-1947), later Baroness Kennet. Their son, Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989), was a noted ornithologist and conservationist.

(2) Despite Captain Scott not having succeeded in reaching the South Pole before Amundsen, in 1957 the United States named an Antarctic scientific base the Amundsen-Scott South Pole, in joint tribute to these two explorers. This contrasts with the treatment given to the Norwegian Amundsen at a reception of the Royal Geographical Society, where the haughty, sneering toast given by the hyper-grand Lord Curzon, presumably resentful that a Norwegian rather than a Briton had the honour of being first to the South Pole, so offended Amundsen that he resigned his fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society in protest at His Lordship's arrogance.

Also worth seeing

In Cardiff itself, other noted structures include the City Hall, the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff Castle, Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff University and its Main Building, Glamorgan Building, and Aberdare Hall; and many others.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is approximately 222 kilometres from Cardiff . There are fast railroad links between London and Cardiff. Some facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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