Crocker Land
Guy Lochhead, 21/06/10
In 1906, from the summit of Cape Thomas Hubbard, explorer Robert Peary claimed to have seen an island in the Arctic Ocean. An expedition was mounted in 1913 to look for it, led by Donald Baxter Macmillan. It was a disaster. The ship was run into an iceberg by the drunken captain, an Inuit guide was murdered (by Navy Ensign Fitzhugh Green), and many men became ill. Though Macmillan insisted on pressing on, he was eventually forced to admit that the dead man was right – the island was a mirage, but any attempt at a return was made impossible by terrible weather. The party were stranded for four years, before being rescued by Captain Robert Bartlett. I think this is an amazing story, and would like to include it in some way. Some film was shot on the expedition, but it is pretty unremarkable if the back-story is not known. Instead, I like the idea of ‘Crocker Land’ being a term for something imaginary and unattainable, or a clue to a place being not-quite-right.

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