ANTARCTICA’s in the bag ... and the bag’s in Antarctica! This little bag is no short-distance shopper, as villagers in Humshaugh, Northumberland, have been proving for the past two years.
Since the team in charge of the village shop asked villagers to photograph the jute bags wherever they went in the world, some fantastic locations have been visited.
And now the £3.99 jute bag carrying the name of the shop that a village saved has really has gone to the ends of the Earth.
For Dr Malcolm Race and his wife Anne took one all the way to Antarctica. Following in the footsteps of the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, they visited the British research base of Port Lockroy – complete with bag!
Dr Race, 73, who fulfilled a personal ambition in making the voyage, said: “It was a sort of pilgrimage, which words cannot describe. It was 23,000 miles – and the village shop bag went with us every step of the way.
“I’ve wanted to go to Antarctica ever since seeing the John Mills film Scott of the Antarctic as a boy in 1948, and this was the fulfilment of that ambition.”
The couple visited Shackleton’s grave at Grytvicken, South Georgia, and saw Elephant Island plus vast King Penguin colonies.
Dr Race said: “It’s well called The Last Journey On Earth, and we made sure the village shop bag made The Last Journey On Earth with us!”
Anne said: “My husband has always wanted to make this journey and as it’s our Golden Wedding later this year we decided to mark the occasion by doing the trip.
“You have to go overland as well as by boat, and we did have some rough seas, as you would expect. But it was truly memorable.”
Humshaugh Village Shop earned fame for being saved by villagers after losing its post office franchise in 2009.
Volunteer Steve Robins issued the bag challenge to travelling villagers in 2010 – and since then snapshots have been sent from the Cape of Good Hope, the French Alps, Mauritius, Sydney Opera House, Bermuda, Canada, Norway, New York, the Wild West, NASA Space HQ in Houston, Belize, the Panama Canal, the North Cape, New Zealand, and, perhaps inevitably, Bagshot in Surrey!
Dick Moules, chairman of Humshaugh Community Ventures Ltd which runs the shop, said: “The bag has been to some fantastic places, but Antarctica is the longest journey yet. We’re delighted Malcolm and Anne got to Antarctica ... and took our bag with them.”