Ice Trap

Over the past half term we have been studying the book Ice Trap in English. This is based on the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in 1914 to cross Antarctica on foot. What started out as an expedition quickly turned into one of the most famous rescue missions of all time.

The children wrote diary entries from the point of view of the crewmen at two points in the story: When they were stuck on the ship Endurance, waiting for the pack ice to free them so they could carry on with their journey and later, camping on Elephant Island under makeshift shelters made from lifeboats, waiting for Shackleton to return with a rescue party.

Here are a few of the diaries the children wrote. We have more on display in the classroom, please come in and take a look.

Leave us a comment telling us what you thought of our diaries.

Diary by Marcia Gill

Dear Diary,

Another day has crawled by like years. We are still struggling for survival with dense snowstorms like icy tears from a giant and blizzards like hell out on the bleak desert of ice and snow. It coats the ground like humungous heaps of peril trapping us. The mood has turned abruptly from optimistic to starved and miserable. I can taste the decaying aftertaste of rotting flesh and I wish I was back home, sitting in a cosy armchair, sipping hot chocolate without a care in the world. Giving little comfort and warmth, the fire crackled feebly lulling me to nightmares and at long last peaceful, dreamless sleep.

Today feels exactly like yesterday, as if the world has stopped moving. Like being put on pause, however we are suffering most from dehydration, lack of food and frostbite and other illnesses. Now we are going on a hunting party and James has invited me along but I held back. I may need exercise, but sleep takes control of me and I rest.

I awoke to the snoring that sounded like a giant pig of Percy Blackbarrow and yell at him to be quiet, but he gives a piggish grunt and snores louder. So I got up and looked in the stores. Luckily, at the very back, hidden behind water jars is half a seal, so I yank it out and set up the iron pot, fill it up with water, put it over the fire, mush up the seal and slide it in. When will we escape this hole of hell?

Diary by Phoebe Steer

Dear Diary,

Another wonderful day, I wonder what this one will be about. The crew are all just cramped under this dark, small boat, that is barely big enough for half of us. My pictures are spectacular but I am slowly just getting lost in bad memories of ice. Everything has changed since I have been on this expedition. It is not so jolly around here anymore, watching Endurance sink sent a shiver down my spine. The gang have tried everything possible to   help the boat, but nothing would work. It is as slippery as an ice rink around here. We are telling each other to keep going and put up with it, but we are losing lots of hopes and thoughts that are drowning us in our sleep. As I sit in desperation, feeling homesick, the sharp jagged rocks dig into my exhausted back. I am as cold as a freezer and I can hear the ice floe crackling into little bits. Ripped and torn my clothes sag down as they leak with salty water.


I do not know what is going to happen next, but nothing sounds good to me. The ice is as hard as rock. Luckily, I have had a lot of turns by the fire, unfortunately we have to keep swapping because of the lack of room. The music sounds like it is hardly there because everyone is worrying about what is going to happen next, when we could be doing other things. Exhausted, we are falling asleep in the day and that’s not good because we have to keep updating people with what is happening and at this rate nothing is getting done on time. Quietly there are people reading, lost in their thoughts of the book.  The smoke is floating up into the air as we speak. I feel like we might need a time table because we have not been   doing jobs and it will keep us on track. If we do the jobs quickly we will have lots of time to rest. Hopefully, when we get back (well if we ever do) I will have the best pictures that you can think of.


My memories are like bugs that just can’t stop when they start. What’s going to happen next? Who’s going to deal with the problems? Shaking in despair the gang are worrying if Shackleton will ever get back, because if he doesn’t we will be left here to die on Elephant Island. When will this nightmare end? Shivering, I sit shaking in the up turned corner of the boat, just touching the warm smoke of the fire as it slowly rises into the cold air. The smell of the penguin and seal stew rise high into the cold bleak air, as you climb out of the cramped upturned boat you get greeted by colossal gushes of billowing icy air. I wonder if my family are sitting at home wondering if I will ever get home, if I get home, I hope my Mum and Dad will be proud of my amazing pictures. My hopes seem to be getting higher day by day. I guess my hopes are higher than most peoples but that is good because I have my brave face on and I believe that these twenty-six men and me will survive. Hopefully, tomorrow the boss will come and we will all be saved and I will be able to see my lovely family. I will never forget them. I couldn’t!

I hope tomorrow brings good thoughts and, I never want see ice again in a year.

We will survive! We have to!

Diary by Kian Shea

20th January 1915

The cold, ear-piercing wind blows against the ship. Below deck Pete is playing his banjo and singing sea shantys having fun. I joined in at one point but I’m not a very good singer. Above deck Frank Worlsey is steering, Hubert helping and Shackleton helping, a wave came up and bashed the ship like a rubber ducky.

It’s been two days on the pack ice. All the men have been trying to break the thick, white ice. not many animals: few penguins coupla seals. We’re all hoping that we break free. Down below deck they’re still playing the banjo that’s bin’ going on all day!

Everyone still has a good attitude. Right now I’m above deck I can see acres of plain ice. It’s just ice, ice and more ice. You get a sore nose when you smell but there’s not a lot to smell.

The ship tilted and turned, a horrendous storm had hit. It broke the pack ice and it heaved up in humungous jumbled piles. The ship creaked and groaned it sounded like some terrible beast in pain. We might have to abandoned ship, hopefully Shackleton does too. Like a chase we were trying to run away from the pack ice.

By Kian Shea

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