Holling C. Holling wrote several children’s books explaining, through stories, the incredible places and wonderous creatures of the United States. There was “Tree in the Trail” about the things that an old cottonwood tree saw during the crossing of the Southwest. There was “Minn of the Mississippi” that followed a young turtle from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
My favorite was always “Paddle to the Sea”. It was a story about a hand-carved model of a Native American in a canoe and Native American. He was put in a snow bank by his maker, a young Native American boy, and inscribed with the words, “Please put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea”.
Paddle traveled the Great Lakes of America and Canada, meeting people and creatures. Each helped him on his way. Each fixed Paddle as needed and put him back in the water.
The story still brings tears to my eyes and hope to my heart.
The story of the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan is not as well written. It is not heroic. It was an idea that grew and met people who helped it grow. Each person that crossed its path gave to the idea of remembering one man for his deeds. The believed that the place that the man found should not be desecrated or die.
And so that took it places. They wore it. They talked about the man of discovery. They remembered.
Jim Wilson christened it in the Bransfield Straits, Antarctica.
Ingrid Nixon took it to the Antarctic Mainland.
Each time it appeared I had the same feelings that Paddle gave me.
But this film, taken on the Team South trip to Antarctica in 2020 and produced by Tony Whelan of Canola Films, brought me to tears. Please watch it to the end and remember the man, Edward Bransfield, his courage and his seamanship.
This Tartan is just another version of Paddle to the Sea.